Why You are Greater Than You Think
How often do we, as mothers, doubt our greatness in the world? I think this also applies to men as well. I don’t think this is a problem exclusive to women. How often do we look at the piles of laundry, the dirty floors, the kitchen full of dishes, and the unmade beds and wonder if we are making a big enough impact on the world? Do we look at those who are “succeeding” at life and our seemingly small existence pales in comparison?
There are so many quotes about how amazing motherhood is, how it shapes the future, how a solid society starts in the home, how behind every successful person is a loving mother… the list goes on. But in the day to day of it all, do we really feel like we are doing great and amazing things?
I once heard someone explain life as an analogy to a play; there are main actors in life, and there are supporting actors, stage crew, and cleaning crew. The idea was that every person is important to making the whole production work, and we should not feel bad if we have a supporting role, because the important thing is that the production goes well.
This particular analogy did not sit well with me. I don’t think it is a nice way to look at life, and I don’t think it is true. I don’t think that it is helpful or productive to think of our work being important so that we can make others shine. I believe something quite different. I believe that each one of us is the main actor in our own play, and there are as many plays as there are people. Let me repeat: each of us is a main actor in our own story. No one else. Just us. We were made to shine.
In a talk entitled, “Instruments in the hands of God” James E Faust says:
Greatness is not measured by coverage in column inches, either in newspapers or in the scriptures. The story of the women of God, therefore is, for now, an untold drama within a drama.
When it comes to motherhood, we simply are not supporting actors, and definitely not the cleaning crew, although it is hard to think otherwise when we are knee deep in messes we have cleaned up ten times that day . We are the leading actors in our own play, and we are doing remarkably well. While our stories are still evolving, and we do not know the end from the beginning, our work in incredibly important.
Let’s look at one of the mothers who had one of the biggest impact on society as she knew it, through extremely unexpected ways. Jochebed, mother of Moses, hid her son and then put him in a basket and lovingly sent him away. Had this selfless act not occurred, Moses would not have been in a position later on to be able to save Israel, and it could have changed the course of history. How overwhelmingly important is it to think about this!
I am sure there were many thoughts going through her mind as she sent her small infant down the river in a basket. I imagine she was probably doubting her actions, questioning whether she was acting on inspiration or simply being selfish. I wonder how much interaction she had with him after infancy, if any. I think about how she would have watched him grow up with privilege and wonder if he was becoming the man that she would have raised had she had the opportunity to raise him herself. I wonder if she was ashamed at the way he carried himself, because maybe she wished he had a better perspective on the lives his people lived.
After all of the questions that she must have asked herself during his life, when it came time for Moses to do what he was meant to do, he was in the right place, had the right experience, knew the right people, and did the right thing to “set his people free.” It is unclear if Jachobed lived long enough to watch her son do what she had sacrificed so much for him to do, but her role in society is no less important.
We may never know how our acts of faith may impact society in significant ways. We may never know how those hours and hours of work we are doing in our homes will not only impact our children and future generations, but society as a whole. We can only do what we are meant to do and trust that our greatness will be fulfilled as we do our best to be the best in our own leading roles. That is where greatness lies.