This morning as I was sitting outside on our balcony watching the sun rise, I sat contemplating the meaning of my life and if I was actually making a difference or even fulfilling something of much importance. I have a degree to which I have not put to "working" use. I am 26 years old and staying at home with our 2 little children, sometimes (dare I say it) comparing myself to other women who leave and go to work and are still adored by their families. Am I experiencing real joy?
As I was thinking all of this, which was the span of about a minute, a spider ran across the arm of my chair. What a small little creature, I thought to myself. All they do is build a web, catch flies, eat them, and create more spiders. Then the thought occurred to me that it would be ridiculous to even begin to compare this spider to a human or to any other animal from a different species. That spider is filling the measure of its' creation, not my creation! In the scriptures we are promised that as we fill the measure of our creation, which is human terms means to follow the will of the Lord in our lives, that we will receive joy. Ultimately, filling the measure of our creation (D&C 88:19) would be to live a life worthy to return back to the presence of God and be exalted.
So what do we do then, when we question whether or not we are doing something of vast importance? Thinking about it now, it is not by chance that I am home with our 2 children. My husband and I were prompted by the spirit, who is greater in knowledge than we are, to live our lives this way. We began to have children when we felt that burning in our hearts. We went to BYU as a result of such promptings. We now live where we live as a result of such feelings, and pursuing our life's work with the same direction. Filling the measure of our creation is connecting to a greater source of power, one who knows us better than we know ourselves. When we connect with that source of power, we are filled with love and with meaning and with purpose. It is when we start to look round about us and compare our lives to that of others (which is equivalent to me comparing my live to a spider's!) that we lose touch with that greater source of power. It is like Peter when we walked on water to meet Jesus. As he kept his eyes on the Savior he was a living miracle, but is it when he cast his eyes at the happenings around him that he began to doubt, have fear, and sink.
A girl named Liz once said, "I used to think that being rich simply meant having money. But I have realized that being rich means being able to share whatever it is we’re blessed with. Although I have never had less of the things of the world than I have now, I have never been so rich.”
Filling the measure of our creation does not mean to appear to be rich according to the world's standards, but according to the Lord's standards. It is only when we compare ourselves to His high standards that we achieve true and lasting joy, key words here: true and lasting, not counter-fit and temporary. This reminds me of my sister in law who shares her story of quitting her job to become a stay at home mom. It is what her heart had been telling her to do, and although it is hard and doesn't have as many worldly rewards as does going to work, she is filling the measure of her creation, by following the burning desires of her heart.
On days where I am feeling I am not accomplishing much, it would be wise to ponder what it is I am doing here. The purpose of "filling the measure of my creation" is to become more like my Father in Heaven so that I can be worthy to return and live with him. If I am following the burning desires of my heart, then what I am experiencing and going through is all meant to allow me to grow and become like Him, as long as I allow it to. As long as I am fixing my eyes on the Savior, and not casting my eyes and comparing to the world around me, I am a living miracle. I should rejoice in the fact that He knows more than I know and is shaping me from a rough stone, slowly chip by chip, into a smooth stone.
"We are children of Father in Heaven. He really is our Father. He has only one purpose in His own experience and for us His children: that we return home to Him—pure and clean and ready to inherit all that He has" (Elder Christensen, BYU-Idaho devotional, 2006).