I taught my last Gospel Doctrine lesson this afternoon. Lesson 14 (Enos, Jarom, Omni, and WofM, but seriously, no one expected me to get past Enos, did they...??) Last week, I had this remarkably calm feeling while I was preparing this lesson. It was weird and unsettling to feel so calm on a Saturday night. All I did all week was read those four chapters several times, and then read a couple of relevant conference talks. I didn't write out every word of my lesson. I didn't find a million quotes. I didn't drag a TV or a chalkboard from the library. I just had my scriptures and a bunch of green sticky notes with all the questions that had occurred to me while I was reading Enos, and that's all I used. And I had that same remarkably calm feeling all through church this morning and the whole time I taught. Weird...
This is the quote that kept running through my head...
"You will feel at some time, perhaps at many times, that you cannot do all you feel you must. The heavy weight of your responsibilities will seem too great. You may feel discouragement and even guilt after you have done all you could to meet all your obligations. I have had such days and such nights. Let me tell you what I have learned. It is this: I only think of my own performance, my sadness deepens. But when I remember that the Lord promised that His power would go with me, I begin to look for evidence of what He has done in the lives of the people I am to serve. I pray to see with spiritual eyes the effects of His power." - Henry B EyringI know that my little calling does not carry the same weight of the callings that President Eyring is referring to, but I think with every calling that you're trying to do well, there is a weight. And for me, I can turn even the smallest weight into a crushing burden. What a relief to know that if I stop examining the details of my performance and start looking for the evidence of what the Spirit is doing while I'm teaching, or directing the choir, or taking pictures, or whatever I happen to be called to do, then I'll find a whole lot more to feel confident about. This whole calling thing isn't really about me. It's about letting the Spirit work THROUGH me. Holy cow, that's so hard to figure out how to do,
So that's what I did yesterday. We just started reading through Enos. And then I started with the first green sticky note and asked a couple of questions and a couple of hands went up and then more reading, and more questions, and more hands started flying up all over the room...and then people just started answering each other's questions. And really, after awhile I was just the one standing in the middle directing traffic. It was pretty awesome. And I loved it.
If I did what I normally do on a Monday morning, and replayed the whole lesson looking for ways I could have done better, there are definitely things I could find. For heaven's sake, we didn't even make it through half of Enos! I didn't ask as many of the questions as I had written down, and I skipped some of the best ones because they just didn't fit with the direction the class was going. I messed up the momentum with this personal story I felt compelled to share right in the middle. And there were still those handful of people in the back of the chapel who always look at me like I'm some kind of alien speaking a foreign language. BUT...there were more than a handful of people fully engaged in that lesson. There were one or two who contributed this time who have never ever spoken in Gospel Doctrine before. And there were one or two that I know connected with me and even better, with Enos and with each other and with the Spirit! And that makes up for all those people in the back...who sort of disappeared after awhile.
So, here's what I learned this week:
2. Stop replaying and examining everything after the lesson is over
3. Have more confidence in what I've prepared because it's enough
4. Invite the Spirit into the lesson and then get the heck out of the way so it can do the work
(not necessarily in that order...)
Oh, wouldn't it have been great to have known all that stuff 6 months ago or a year ago?? or even a couple of lessons before I was released so I could have at least tried it out a couple more times??? How many agonizing Opposition Mondays could have been avoided if I had just had those four little things in my head? :)
Well, if part of the reason we needed to be stuck in Allen for a few extra months was so that AT&T would go on strike and my GD counterpart would be stuck in Pennsylvania for two weeks and I would be able to hear the Gibbons' talks last week and then feel compelled to teach this Enos lesson for him, and these little life lessons would be forever seared into my head, then it was all worth it, I suppose. :)