Tuesday, March 04, 2008

One Year

One year ago today I was sustained as the Relief Society president of our ward. We had barely been in the ward for two months. No one was more surprised than me.

Here are a few tidbits I've learned because of this calling and in the process. Just for the record, I've learned all these things the hard way, if you know what I mean.

  • The Lord knows me personally. I may doubt myself but I can't doubt the Lord. Everyone else sustains me and looks to me as a leader which just goes to show that the Lord's calling outweighs the insecurities of His servants. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one that doubts myself. Others don't see it, so there is no use in being self-conscious about taking the lead, as I am entitled to certain inspiration(this has been the hardest learned lesson for me). (Anyone in my ward reading this, please don't burst my fragile bubble of security by telling me I'm mistaken)

  • I've never seen anyone roll their eyes at "the naive, 24-year old rookie Relief Society president." Again, I'd rather believe that this is just my worst fear and not actually true. I don't know why it takes repeated effort to convince myself that no one in Bishopric meeting is saying "Wow, what were we thinking when we called Sister Fosdick?"

  • Delegation. Trust me, I haven't tried to do it all myself--I simply haven't had the energy for it. You know how they say that when you want something done a certain way, it's just easier to do it yourself? I have found that even though I want things done a certain way, I still can't do it myself--I just have to be very descriptive and specific in giving instructions while also leaving room for people to use their own agency and flair. Then I have to expect something original. I'm never disappointed. Its also really great that I can count on the people I delegate to--they are on the ball and really get things done.

  • For those instances where delegation doesn't go so smoothly, its more important to help someone grow into a calling than to just take it away from them and give it to someone who will get the job done better. It's the people over programs principle. I've also learned that when trying to get to the bottom of the problem you have to ask very specific questions and get very specific responses to really understand what is going on.

  • It's just as hard to do something you dread today than to put it off for weeks and worry about it and then have to do it anyway. You might as well just save yourself the grief and get it done sooner.

  • Some emergencies need my immediate attention, and some need time to simmer--the person may be able to find a solution on their own, and just because I'm the first one to call doesn't mean I'm personally responsible to solve the problem.

  • I'm really good at spotting jumping monkeys. I'll elaborate on this another day. Maybe Mom could be the guest poster on this point? (So you don't have to scratch your head until then, a "monkey" represents a responsibility, and each "monkey" belongs to a certain person.)

  • Criticism, critiquing, and negative feedback are not personal attacks on me, but are opportunities to try again and grow and learn. I can't beat myself up over criticism, because then I'd be afraid to try again. And often each negative criticism represents just as many or more positive responses that I usually never hear about.

  • Whenever I need to call on someone with an assignment, I've learned that I should always ask them how they are doing first. I know it sounds simple, but its important.

  • I've re-learned the importance and significance of the Visiting Teaching program. I am a believer!

  • And of course, my testimony of the gospel has also grown, but I would like to think that that would grow annually regardless of what calling I currently have.

Anyway, here I am again bearing my soul with all my insecurities. I'm sure there are more things I've learned but didn't think to include, and I'm sure there are some goodies coming up in the second year. I'd love to hear the lessons you've learned from serving in the Church, and then hopefully I can learn from your experiences, too!


Rebecca said...

I've never been a leader in the church in any way. But I learn on a regular basis from leaders like you--what a great example you are! And I, too, learn lots from my callings each year. Thanks for sharing what you're learning.

Elizabeth said...

Isn't it interesting to sometimes catalog the things you learn. About half-way through my mission a good friend was writing to me some of the things she had been learning in her life. I was intrigued by how she and I were learning many of the same things simultaneously. I wrote her back and said it was funny that I had to go on a mission to learn those things, but she was able to learn them without going anywhere. :)

It is nice that Heavenly Father will give us whatever circumstances we need to learn things in, as long as we are willing to learn from Him. At the end of my mission I made a list of some of the things I learned. I'll see if I can find it.

Anonymous said...

Great post (things you've learned after one year in your calling). I'm sure I didn't know any of those things until I was way past 40! Dad

Angela said...

Thanks for sharing this post. Also, I really want to learn more about jumping monkeys--sounds like a great principle!