I put in 110% into nearly everything I do, and it is simply not enough. Whether it is school, spirituality, dating, or my physical well being. It is never enough.
I try and pinpoint what it is that I am feeling, and it is not a lack of self-esteem. I can honestly say that I love myself. I love who I am, and I know who I am. I have been shaped and molded into who I am, and it has been my choice to take the paths I did. I have chosen who I’ve become, and I try my best, but sometimes I fall short or things don’t work out the way I thought they would, and it is super easy to just not feel like I am enough.
I will explain.
When I came to BYU, it was the largest reality check that I have ever had. There is no other feeling that compares to the humbling and frustrating realization of the constant competitiveness, caliber, and difficulty of BYU. Everyone here is literally so smart and seems to have graduated as the Valedictorian of their class, as well as received at least a 35 on their ACT. These are the kids that I have to compete with to get into my major, and it is so difficult. I cannot even begin to explain how discouraging it is to walk into the testing center with countless of hours of studying under my belt, and walk out hours later wondering what the heck just happened. I had felt so confident, but in the end, I bombed it. My best just wasn’t good enough.
I often find myself frustrated because I am trying to get into a program that is very difficult. Lots of kids apply for it, and not everyone gets in, obviously. I have already changed my major three times, and I have finally found something that I want to do for the rest of my life, and the classes are so difficult. I study for hours and hours and hours for each test. Some tests, I don’t do as well as I hoped, and other tests, I do amazing, but everyone else does better. I could get 100% on my tests, and there would always be more than half the class that gets over 100% somehow. I try and do my best, but it does not always feel like enough. In fact, rarely do I feel like enough.
As far as dating goes, that is probably one of the most frustrating aspects of my life, and I am sure that everyone else is probably the same. This isn’t unique to me. When I first arrived at college, I had dates up the wazoo. I am pretty sure that my roommates resented me for my first semester of college. The guys that took me out were such gentlemen and so awesome. I am truly blessed to have met those boys. Then, it all stopped. Literally overnight, I stopped getting asked on dates, and when I finally would get asked out, the majority of the boys were so disrespectful that it was appalling to me. For every nice guy I went on a date with, there were at least two other ones that were so rude and disrespectful. I cannot help but shake my head at the things that transpired on our dates, or in the relationship as a whole. In the last year, I have never been treated so horrendously by young men, both here in Provo and back in Idaho. Not even kidding, I have a date horror story that people hear about and think I am telling some kind of sick joke. It is that bad. Boys would treat me like I was just an object and that I didn’t matter, nor was I a priority. I would put in 110% and get next to nothing in return from them. It is all too easy to feel like I just wasn’t good enough for them.
As far as my physical well-being goes, I am trying so hard to take care of myself. At the beginning of the semester, I was giving up my sleep to help take care of those around me, and I quickly learned that you cannot help others if you haven’t helped yourself first. I have been getting more sleep, and I am being extra cautious with what I do. I really didn’t want to get injured again. I am in a few athletic classes this semester because I finally get to do sports again, and it has been so fun. I am in a gymnastics class, and I can do an entire bar routine now! I can even do a front handspring on the vault, as well as a back-handspring on the ground again. I lift every other day, too. Since my injury, this is the most I have been able to take care of myself. It feels great! I have increased my lifting capabilities by 300%, and my muscles are finally getting stronger. I mean, I even have a 6-pack. I have really been working so hard. I cannot begin to describe what an accomplishment this is for me. I have been working for this for so many years. However, despite my efforts, about two months ago, I fell on the vault really bad and hurt my back. I try and suck it up and get through it, but it continues to give me so much grief. Each morning as I wake up, it hurts so bad. If I sit for very long, it starts to ache, and it feels like it is only getting worse. If I arch it at all, that is the end. It is excruciating. In my volleyball class, if I arch my back while I hit the ball at all, I completely collapse due to the pain. On top of that, my mouth has started hurting again right where my wisdom tooth was. The pain has spread to along my jawbone and up to my ear. I am so afraid that I have some sort of infection again. I have reached a point where I feel like no matter what I do and cautions I take to stay healthy, it won’t work. It just isn’t good enough.
Spiritually, I am trying so hard. I read my scriptures, I pray all the time, every day. I serve those around me. I keep the commandments, and I attend all my church meetings. I even go to the temple each week. I am learning patience and learning to balance everything in my life. My prayers have turned into actual conversations with my Heavenly Father, and it is so awesome. He reassures me that he loves me all the time, and I know that to be true, but it is still so hard. There is always something to work on, and a lot of the time, it is a little overwhelming with everything. It’s easy to think I am not good enough for it, nor will I ever be.
I will sit and feel completely defeated sometimes.
But then, reality slaps me in the face.
I really am not enough.
But, that is the beauty of the Atonement.
It turns what I have into enough.
While the adversary is all around me telling me that I am not enough, the Lord is right there telling me that I can be enough. I have so much potential. In fact, “It is through the grace of the Lord Jesus, made possible by His atoning sacrifice, that mankind will be raised in immortality, every person receiving his body from the grave in a condition of everlasting life. It is likewise through the grace of the Lord that individuals, through faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ and repentance of their sins, receive strength and assistance to do good works that they otherwise would not be able to maintain if left to their own means. This grace is an enabling power that allows men and women to lay hold on eternal life and exaltation after they have expended their own best efforts. Divine grace is needed by every soul in consequence of the Fall of Adam and also because of man’s weaknesses and shortcomings. However, grace cannot suffice without total effort on the part of the recipient. Hence the explanation, “It is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do” (2 Ne. 25:23). It is truly the grace of Jesus Christ that makes salvation possible.”
What a comforting thing that is—to know that even when it feels like I am not enough, I really am. As long as I am doing my best, it is enough.
We also must go through times where we feel like we have too much on our plate. The load seems too heavy to bear. Elder Bednar addresses this:
“Our individual load is comprised of demands and opportunities, obligations and privileges, afflictions and blessings, and options and constraints. Two guiding questions can be helpful as we periodically and prayerfully assess our load: “Is the load I am carrying producing the spiritual traction that will enable me to press forward with faith in Christ on the strait and narrow path and avoid getting stuck? Is the load I am carrying creating sufficient spiritual traction so I ultimately can return home to Heavenly Father?”
So awesome. Life is not easy, but it never was intended to be easy. I do not have time to sit around and focus on not being enough. I mean, sometimes it is a very humbling experience to realize how much I really do have to work on to become better, but as long as I am doing my best, it is enough. I should always be actively becoming better, and the Lord really will make up for the rest. I do not need anything or anyone else to make me happy. I get to make that decision each day—I choose to be happy and become better.
College is hard, but I am not dumb. I am far from being dumb. Comparatively speaking, I may not be as smart as those around me, but I have seen miracles worked in my life that have allowed me to do my best on my schoolwork. As long as I am trying my best, that is all that matters, right? It is very difficult to remember all the time, but I need to constantly remind myself, I am doing my best, and that is enough.
Dating is not fun. In fact, I despise dating so much, but it is necessary for me in this life. How can I progress if I do not date? One day, it will be worth it. I have a list of qualities that I want to find in my eternal companion, and I read through that list rather often, but not in searching for my eternal companion. I actually use the list to compare to my life and make sure that I am becoming the person I want to find. I am progressing each day. That is enough.
Physically, I am doing my best. I have been promised the health and strength to overcome all in my mortal life here on earth. Anyone who knows me and knows the physical trials I go through knows how much that blessing means to me. As long as I am doing my best, that is enough.
We will end up right where we need to be. There is this little thing called God’s will and timing. Everything happens on his timetable, whether we like it or not. In Dallin H. Oak’s BYU Devotional entitled Timing, he stated, “If we have faith in God and if we are committed to the fundamentals of keeping His commandments and putting him first in our lives, we do not need to plan every single event—even every important event—and we should not feel rejected or depressed if some things—even some very important things—do not happen at the time we had planned or hoped or prayed. Commit yourself to put the Lord first in your life, keep his commandments, and who what the Lord’s servants ask you to do Then your feet are on the pathway to eternal life…Do your best on what is fundamental and personal and then trust in the Lord and His timing.”
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear Elder Ballard speak to us. He instructed each of us to have regular interviews with ourselves, set attainable goals, and move through with accountability. This way, we will be able to become better, thus being prepared for whatever may come our way. I have since then been doing this, and it has been so awesome. I have noticed a change in my life, and it is definitely for the better.
In fact, we each get to have this chance for introspection during the sacrament each week, where we are also reminded of the enabling power of the Atonement.
She concluded: “As I thanked God for the Savior’s enabling power in my life, I felt so much more optimistic toward the repentance process I was working through and I looked to the next week with renewed hope.”
It comes down to my personal commitment to do and be my best. Am I living the commandments? Am I seriously and honestly doing my best? Am I acting as an agent in God’s name, thus fulfilling my baptismal covenants? Am I living and keeping my temple covenants? Am I becoming the person I one day want to marry?
Most importantly, I am enough. We are all enough—if we allow ourselves to do our best and let God in. We each have so much potential, and in a world that screams that we are not good enough, it is so easy to lose the perspective and knowledge the gospel gives us.
“We are to exercise faith. We are placed on earth has a probation. It is not now—nor was it ever—the intention of a wise, omniscient Heavenly Father to solve all our problems. Life is not an uninterrupted holiday. God expects us to struggle so we may become godlike.”
God knows us, and he loves us. He hears and answers our prayers, too.
For me, that is enough.