Sometimes, I get exhausted with the world. It’s a weight to keep going, keep working, and keep learning. You know what that’s like. It’s just part of life.
But it is wearing. And when I’m worn as thin as I feel I can go, I just wonder, when have I done enough? What more could possibly be asked of me?
Every time I ask this, I find out that there’s a lot more for me to do. When I think I’m as worn thin as possible, turns out I actually have a lot of layers left to wear through before it’s really too much.
Each time I think I’ve hit my threshold for life, I manage to go a little bit further.
Of course, I don’t do it on my own. There are plenty of people in my life I could thank for pulling me along and up, starting with my family.
But I’ve definitely received some divine help as well. More than some.
More than I can even recognize.
But even with the help, I still face these questions: when have I done enough that I don’t have to do anymore? And what more do I need to do?
When Have I Done Enough?
Okay, I want this to be a hopeful post. But this might sound a little depressing for a second.
Just bear with me.
The fact is, a lot is expected of us. We are God’s children. He wants us to progress to the point of being like Him.
But we’re pretty far from being like Him right now. Which means we have a long way to go.
So yes, there is a lot expected of us. How do we know when we’ve hit the mark?
2 Nephi 25:23 says,
23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.2 Nephi 25:23
Those last few words, “after all we can do,” have been interpreted many ways. It often sounds like “all we can do” means doing everything we possibly can do. Yikes.
Yeah, I cringed a bit inside at that too. I mean, I can’t do everything. Not even close. Even if I’m capable of it, I won’t do it all, simply because I’m human and won’t always choose the best option.
Elder Dieter F. Uchtdorf offers a fantastic clarification to this scripture:
I wonder if sometimes we misinterpret the phrase “after all we can do.” We must understand that “after” does not equal “because.” We are not saved “because” of all that we can do.Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Gift of Grace,” April 2015
We make a big deal about behavior in the church. And there’s a great reason for that – how we choose to behave determines who we are and who we are becoming. It’s kind of a big deal.
But we have to remember one other thing. No matter what we do, no matter how we choose to behave, no matter how good we are, nothing we can do will save us.
So, when have we done enough? Well, maybe never. But that should be a comfort.
Because, guess what? If the only way we could be saved was by doing everything and doing everything perfectly, we’d all be doomed.
We can’t save ourselves.
That’s why we have a Savior.
I recently read Believing Christ by Stephen E. Robinson and he talked about this. He says that, if we were all judged based on our imperfect actions, salvation wouldn’t really be an option. But then he points out:
But in the covenant relationship, I am not judged separately and alone, but as one with Christ.Stephen E. Robinson, Believing Christ (1)
I don’t want to be judged based on all of the things I’ve done. That would be terrifying. I’ve messed up a lot.
But I don’t have to be judged that way.
Now, here’s where another clarification needs to come in. I’m not saying that the way we choose to live doesn’t matter.
It super matters.
Our choices just don’t save us. Jesus Christ saves us, when we are willing to give our lives to Him.
As Elder Uchtdorf says,
Salvation cannot be bought with the currency of obedience; it is purchased by the Son of God.Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Gift of Grace,” April 2015
But we can do the things that are in our power to do. And that is expected of us.
What More Do I Need to Do?
Our choices don’t save us. So is there much left for us to do?
Like I said before, God wants us to become like Him. So even though He offers us infinite grace to save us, there is more to it than just saying, “Sure, God, I’ll take your gift.”
Stephen E. Robinson (1) mentioned the “covenant relationship” we have with God.
Because grace isn’t exactly a free gift. It’s more of a contract.
God says, “I’ll do all of this for you. I’ll give my life, my power, my everything to you, and I’ll do it happily. But I need you to agree to grow and learn so that we can build a relationship of trust. I need you to promise to give everything you can to help me.”
Not that God really needs us to help Him. But for us to return to Him, we need to become more than we were when we started this life. And helping God with His work is the only way we can really make that change.
So we make covenants. And yeah, we probably aren’t perfect at keeping them. But that’s part of the deal too. If we genuinely want to keep our covenants and the commandments, and are doing our best to do so, grace helps us to overcome our weaknesses.
This is a simple path. But not an easy one.
That’s why it’s often called a “refiner’s fire.”
Now, I have another question here, and it’s one that I probably need to consider seriously myself:
Why am I obedient?
Elder Uchtdorf tells us,
Our obedience to God’s commandments comes as a natural outgrowth of our endless love and gratitude for the goodness of God. This form of genuine love and gratitude will miraculously merge our works with God’s grace.Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “The Gift of Grace,” April 2015
Elder Uchtdorf’s words illustrate the goal for our obedience. Personally, I don’t know if I’m always obedient for the reasons he described.
But I can hit that point someday. We all can.
We may not be expected to be perfect or exact or even worthy of the gifts God offers us. However, we can progress. We are SO capable of progression.
And that is what God is asking of us. To become better than we were and to keep working upward – with the help of Christ’s grace every step of the way.
Asking myself, when have I done enough or what more could possibly be asked of me, just gives me a poor excuse to sit and wallow in the difficulties of life.
I think I need to start asking myself if I’m being obedient, and if I’m being obedient for the right reasons. When I hit those low moments, maybe I need to pause and see them as progression moments instead of rock bottom moments.
Comment below with your growing moments. We can learn so much from each other.
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And most of all, have a lovely week!
- Robinson, Stephen E. Believing Christ. Deseret Book Company, 1992, 2002, pg. 26.