Lower Your Bar

October 23, 2013

In writing this post I run the risk of being a total heretic. In the world of faith, the advice I’m about to give could really come across the wrong way, and to be honest, at some point I’ll probably write a post exactly the opposite from this one.

As you can probably imagine, I’m writing this post to myself as much as anyone. This week my husband came home to me:ย a bit of an unintentional Halloween zombie. It was a day where too many “unproductive” days (and probably even more so, too many sleepless nights) were starting to catch up with me, and making me question if I was really doing any good in the world. And my good husband, who knows me too well, shared what may seem uninspiring to you, but was oh so needed for me. He simply said lower your bar.

Yes lowerย your bar. Lower your expectations, your to-do’s, your must-haves, your won’t-be-happy-until-I-finish-lists. Lower your expectations of yourself that are unrealistic and don’t allow you to feel how pleased God is with you right now, today, even with your half-finished projects, house, hair, and children.

Lower them.

I think so much of the time, most of us are already working hard enough and reaching high enough, and if we’re not careful, the very things we are striving for can get in the way of feeling like we are enough, doing enough, or loved enough.

We’re in the process of being molded by God, and if we’re on the path and doing the best we can, we can cheerfully leave it at that.ย This is the time where you do your part, and then be still.


So for those of you who, like me, are wasting time feeling inadequate while doing as much as you can, lower that bar. It’s all going to turn out. At some point the clouds will break and your capacity may even increase again, but for now, just do your part and trust that God will make up for what you simply cannot.

At least that’s what I’m banking on.

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  • Reply Niels and Susie Jensen October 23, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Love this, Liz. Thank you.

    I have to remind myself of this very thing when I have these days where I beat myself up as I am playing Play-Doh instead of tackling my to-do list. Thanks for providing the picture: I have two girls that are fed, clothed and they go to bed and wake up knowing I love them. That’s good enough for me today.

    • Reply Liz Jensen October 29, 2013 at 12:51 pm

      And I know your girls know you love them!

  • Reply Jessica October 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Good reminder for sure. I watched a segment on Studio 5 the other day entitled “You know you’re a mom if…” One lady said something along the lines of “if you don’t shower until 3.” It made me feel better because most days I don’t shower until my husband is home from work. I figure once my littles aren’t so little anymore (and I’m out of survival mode) maybe I’ll be able to shower before 3 everyday. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Liz Jensen October 29, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      My husband totally said to me–“your bar right now is survival” but I didn’t want to sound too harsh in the post. It is so true, but I guess that is just the time and season!

  • Reply Jeni A. October 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm

    Oh I how I learned this lesson when Olivia was born…and over and over again since. Thank you to the moon and back for sharing this reality of life so beautifully. And your hope – “At some point the clouds will break and your capacity may even increase again.” xo.

  • Reply Brittany Erin Nelson October 24, 2013 at 12:53 am

    As you know full well, this is just what I needed.

  • Reply Em Russ October 24, 2013 at 1:59 am

    I love you. such great advice!

  • Reply Shell October 24, 2013 at 2:16 am

    Thanks, pretty lady. You are the best.

  • Reply Jesika Harmon October 28, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Let’s keep reminding ourselves of this. You are the best.

    • Reply Liz Jensen October 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      You know this was inspired by you!

  • Reply Sarah October 28, 2013 at 6:46 pm

    This totally reminds me of Elder Uchtdorf’s talk about slowing down… http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/of-things-that-matter-most?lang=eng. I love the reminder and the list of things that I should be focusing on as life is flying by.
    You’re doing great!

    • Reply Liz Jensen October 29, 2013 at 12:49 pm

      I forgot about this talk, so good. And he would love that you slipped the word flying into that comment ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply ashley nicole November 1, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    That’s funny that this reminded the girl above me of an Elder Uchtdorf talk because that’s exactly what I was thinking! But I thought of this talk: http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2011/10/you-matter-to-him?lang=eng&query=
    It’s weird because I remember that when I heard this talk, I felt like the message said something along the lines of “Give yourself some credit for the things you do. You do good things. Don’t stop trying, but also don’t be hard on yourself when you’re doing so great.” Which is similar to your message.
    Then I read it over again just barely and didn’t seem to get that same message from it, but decided to share it anyways because it’s still a wonderful talk ๐Ÿ™‚ Guess that just goes to show that the same message can mean something different to us in different times of our lives ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Reply Liz Jensen November 6, 2013 at 4:12 pm

      I love when that happens, I think it’s why the messages at General Conference work every time. And I think Elder Uchtdorf has a whole talk for every good thought I have!

  • Reply Lizzie November 12, 2013 at 12:07 am

    I think we all need to hear this every once in a while.

  • Reply Katie Larsen January 15, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    This post was so very helpful to me today. I read it when you originally wrote it last year; but today as I was reflecting on my feelings over the past week I was reminded of this message.

    So grateful. Thank you.

    • Reply Liz Jensen January 16, 2014 at 2:26 am

      Thanks Katie-I need this pep talk every few days or so… You’re welcome.

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