In the four-ish months that we've been here, we've been inundated with opportunities to serve and to do things outside our comfort zones that have pushed us in ways that some of us (mostly me) didn't really want to be pushed.
I'm pretty sure I've done more in the last four months here than I did in the entire 6 years we lived in Allen. Since July (when the ward discovered us) I've given two talks; played the piano for four musical numbers (and there's a 5th coming up on October23rd;) taught three YW lessons and three Gospel Principles lessons; fed the missionaries a billion times; driven YW countless miles to and from camps, dances and youth temple trips; hosted multiple Family Home Evening groups, presidency meetings, a youth pre-dance party, and a Bishop's Youth discussion in my home; planned New Beginnings; visited the sick, the elderly and the hoarders on a weekly basis; and housed two missionaries in my basement for 6 weeks. And right before Conference, the Bishop asked me to be on the Activities Committee to help plan both the Fall Festival and the ward Christmas party.
And those are just the things on MY list. Craig and the kids have ventured much farther out into discomfort than I have even considered going.
I have a feeling this is just the beginning for all of us, though...
This ward is small and a little bit flailing and not at all unified in their efforts. It's super frustrating when I think about all the ways things aren't working during the week, but then I get to church on Sunday or I sit in someone's house and talk to them, and I instantly love the heck out of this dysfunctional little ward.
Last week, before General Conference, I kept thinking that there was no possible way to keep up this pace...and also fit in necessities of life like doing laundry and taking regular showers. And as I kept praying for balance, I kept getting more assignments and more little promptings to do things like walk with Gretchen on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and make that weekly trek to the Temple a priority, and be available for these missionaries who live in my house.
Everyday, I would make my usual list, like I used to in Allen, of ALL the things I wanted to get done that day, and every night I would look at a full list of things still left undone. All the things I used to be really good at, I now can barely keep up with. Like laundry and showers.
So, I waited and prepared for that answer to prayer that came in the form of a Conference talk giving me permission to say no to some things, or to stop worrying about laundry, or to just give up and move back to Allen.
Guess what I heard instead...
"The opportunity to serve is one of the great blessings of membership in the Church. As we serve, we draw closer to God. We come to know Him in ways that we otherwise might not. Our faith in Him increases. Our problems are put into perspective. Life becomes more satisfying. Our love for others increases, as well as our desire to serve.I feel totally and completely inadequate to do all the things that are required of me in this place. I have never in my entire life been a member missionary. I've never invited anyone to come to church or to read the Book of Mormon. I have no idea how to be balanced. I'm pretty sure I've never actually served anyone outside my own family. And I had just barely gotten used to the great plan I made up in my head that I would forever be part of the support staff and never the actual leader of anything.
The natural man or woman in all of us is inclined to excuse ourselves from serving for reasons such as "I am not ready." "I have more to learn." "I'm tired and I need a break." or "I am simply too busy."
Accepting and fulfilling a calling is an act of faith...
Jesus Christ, our great Exemplar, gave His life to His Father's work. He literally became the servant of us all. Through Jesus Christ and the power we receive through His Atonement, we can also serve. He will help us." - Carl B Cook
But guess what else I heard in Conference...
"Being ambitious for Christ means being motivated, focused, and dedicated to His work. Being ambitious for Christ will seldom mean that we are singled out for public honor. Being ambitious for Christ means that we serve faithfully and diligently in our wards and branches without complaint and with joyful hearts..." - Kazuhiro YamashitaSo that's my plan...Be ambitious for Christ. Stop complaining. And have faith that He'll help me with the stuff I definitely cannot currently do.
And despite all my complaining, the greatest tender mercy came in the form of a completely uninterrupted, quiet day with nothing that required me to leave my house. So I've managed to walk 4.5 miles, read my scriptures, listen to a crap ton of awesome non-missionary appropriate music, catch up on laundry and the other million things on my list, write a blog post, AND take a shower. #success
The floods of activity start first thing tomorrow and last pretty much through the rest of my life, I think, so I'm glad I at least have clean hair.