It was an unexpectedly quiet and solitary moment during which I encountered Hadley’s “Diaspora: A Prayer.” (If you have not yet read her achingly beautiful essay, do yourself a favor and hop on over and spend a few minutes there. I’ll wait.)
Sandwiched between 14-hour workdays, planning a baby shower for a dear friend, coordinating a looming family vacation, writing the ward newsletter, spearheading the upcoming ward activity, and all the daily necessities of regular life, I suddenly found myself sitting on a park bench in Salt Lake City, savoring a positively decadent lemon meringue tart, and reduced to tears as I considered, really considered for the first time in far too long, my divine nature.
I can still recite the Young Women pledge. I know that the color of divine nature is blue, and I can remember countless lessons where devoted leaders talked with us about the divine potential inherent in each of us. I have spent hours praying over my sisters, nieces, friends, and even mother, in the hope that they will be more readily aware of their Father in Heaven and His regard for them. I have prayed often to my Father in Heaven and thanked Him for countless blessings while I asked for an endless stream of gifts and assistance in return. I am a faithful LDS woman, and I have a testimony of the Gospel. But I know that right now, as an adult woman, I do not give my own divine nature the time and attention it deserves. Sometime between Young Women’s and that moment in the park, I had allowed my conviction of my own divinity to become (as Hadley feared for her daughter and as I imagine Heavenly Father fears for all of us) lost in the wind.
In the movie “The Help,” a very young girl named Mae Mobley has a devoted nanny, who often has her repeat the mantra (in a slow, southern drawl): “I is kind, I is smart, I is important.” Also throughout the movie, Mae Mobley’s mother calls into question her daughter’s appearance and eating habits, criticizing her for not matching the specific image of the right kind of young girl. I am always struck by the mixed messages the impressionable young Mae Mobley receives. How can she possibly know how to be when the two most influential people in her life are placing value in such opposing arenas?
As I scan social media sites, I see a constant stream of what we are “supposed” to be, including (but definitely not limited to): thin, pretty, smart, clever, successful, driven, quick-witted, funny, athletic, well-read, traveled, trendy, mothers, wives, spiritual, nurturing . . . the list never ends and is overwhelming. As Daughters of God we are not immune to the pressure of being everything at once; if anything, the pressure is intensified as we consider the eternal stakes on the line. And every day we undermine our own best efforts as we interact with the world and often, sadly, with one another.
This is why remembering divine nature is so very important. Before we are anything else on that list, before we even begin to consider what we might want to become in this life, we are Daughters of God. That principle is eternal, unchanging, and inescapable. The potential in that one fact supersedes and reinforces anything else we may ever aspire to be. It gives us a power as well as a safety net. Right now I cannot be everything on the list, I cannot be everything I wish I was, but I am already enough, because I am that one critical thing: I am a Daughter of God.
I sat recently in a Relief Society lesson in my Midsingles Ward where the teacher had us each consider our profession or vocation. We were asked to write a basic description of our job, major duties, qualifications, accountabilities and reporting structures, and so on. Every sister sitting in the room had a very different story to tell about her professional life, but each was an equally valid account of a work situation. She then asked us to explore the idea of “Daughter of God” as if it was a job. What were the major responsibilities? Who did we report to and how?
As we discussed how “Daughter of God” paralleled other job titles, I was struck by how connected the two things already are in my life. Many of the characteristics befitting a Daughter of God can be an asset in my daily work. Spending time developing those attributes does not signify a departure from the rest of my life, but rather time spent enhancing who I am as a person. There is an undeniable benefit to being more patient in long meetings, more gracious and thoughtful in conflicts or confrontations, and more prayerful in interviews and hiring. In short, becoming a better Daughter of God will help me be better in every other arena as well.
We can all be good, smart, and important. We can all live worthy of our divine inheritance and work to be better than we are right now. We can live our lives as God intended and fully realize the measure of our potential, because we are Daughters of God. We are enough.