A few months ago, I was traveling to a ward conference with a couple of other ladies who serve in stake callings. I was listening with interest from the back seat as the conversation went something like this in the front:
“This is the busiest calling I have ever had.”
“I know! The Relief Society president and I were comparing what we have to do in our callings and she even said we have a lot more to do than she does.”
I didn’t say a word, but inside I was laughing hysterically. Because, you see, if I had to list which of my callings has been the “busiest” or “hardest” this would definitely not be it. In fact, I think I have a very cushy job right now.
I attend a lot of ward conferences, New Beginnings, and Excellence Nights. But, I have to do very little when I am there other than enjoy it and meet the great young women of my stake and their leaders. I welcome and orient new presidencies (with materials that the church provides and I don’t have to prepare much at all). I help plan a couple of really big events each year — but with a committee of at least several other people. There is little, if anything, I really have to do on my own. I have a lot of assignments but they are completely do-able. Most of the time, frankly, I am bored out of my mind and feel like I could do more.
I think back to when I was Primary president with over 200 children in my ward. Every quarterly activity was on par with a youth conference or a girl’s camp (number-wise, it was about double what we get out to a stake event in YW/YM now). Busy, busy, busy! I remember trying to find teachers for all those children, and worrying that everyone would show up on Sunday, and learning all of the children’s names, and making home visits to those who weren’t attending, and planning sharing times at least 12 times a year, and on and on. I remember doing all of this with 3 children of my own who were ages four and under. Now, if we are talking busy, stressful, emotionally draining, that was it for me. And yet, I loved it, and in hindsight it was the hard things about it that made it ultimately so rewarding.
So, this brought up several questions in my mind:
- Why do we always want to compare ourselves with others? Is there some badge we win for putting in more time or having a calling that takes up a lot of our time? Is it a martyr thing?
- What is it that makes “hard” callings “hard”?
I think these responses will vary greatly from person to person. For me, the hardest callings have been when I was a counselor…any counselor in almost any presidency (I can think of one exception where we truly had a fabulously functioning presidency all around).
Why? Because I am kind of a control freak, I guess! It is, admittedly, hard for me to take a back seat sometimes and watch decisions be made differently than I would have made them, and watch the repercussions as I then support the decision that is made even when it goes badly. For me and my personality, it’s just kind of a hard position to be in sometimes.
Then again, it is definitely a learning experience, which is something I am truly grateful for even when I might be grumbling under my breath. So, while I don’t consider my calling right now to be busy at all, or “hard” in the sense of stretching my intellect, creativity, or time. I do think it is one of the hardest callings I have had simply in terms of making a presidency work with different personalities who don’t always see things the same way. Does this make any sense?
Therefore, my answers to the questions posted above are: #1 I have no idea. Anyone? Why do we do this to ourselves? And #2: I think callings are hard when things don’t go our way or when we don’t feel like we are being recognized for what we are putting into it.
At least, that is how it has been for me. How about for you?