Friday, January 2, 2009

What I learned in 2008

I know it's been awhile since I've posted anything again. Things have been busy... to say the least! My husband has been reminding me that it's time to post again, though- so here I am.

I've now been a Relief Society President for 13 months. I'm not sure I really count much of what I learned for the first month or two in 2007 because I was literally just trying to keep up with each new thing I found out I was in charge of (hmm... that hasn't actually changed that much...) but I know I've learned a lot in 2008, mostly because of my calling.

I learned:

..that the Savior really will help me through every trial and hard time I face. He won't leave me alone and He gives me strength way beyond my own.

.. it's okay to take one day at a time and not to worry if I didn't get the house vacuumed on Monday- it can wait until Tuesday!

.. that good friends can mean the difference between sanity and insanity! Sometimes just having someone to talk to that I could trust completely and who wouldn't judge me helped keep me going when the only other option was a complete breakdown.

.. that the things that scare me are almost all in my head. I'm not afraid of "real" things like spiders, tornadoes or dying. I'm afraid of public speaking and doing something new for the first time and not being good enough at whatever I do.

.. that dressing a dead body isn't a scary or awful thing at all. That was one of the most special experiences I had this year and I'm so grateful that I was given the blessing of being chosen to help. In fact, I'd volunteer every time given the opportunity.

.. that Relief Society presidents are just people too. It's funny how we look at people in leadership positions and think they're somehow more perfect or more wise or somehow just "more" than us, but when we take the time to get to know them, or have the opportunity to serve in such a position ourselves (or both) we realize everyone struggles with different things and no one we're going to come in contact with is going to be translated any day soon.

.. "Ah-ha" moments don't come as often as I'd like. Which is why it's so important to remember the ones that do.

.. everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, their own blessings and struggles. No one is exempt and no one is perfect. We have to learn to work with each others as imperfect mortal beings. That's how we learn the most.

.. that it's okay to cry. It's also okay to ask for help.

.. hugs help a lot more than people think they do.

.. that the people I serve with are a huge blessing to me. I've had the opportunity to serve with many absolutely incredible people and I'm often amazed at the amount of talent, wisdom and greatness that surrounds me.

.. when it seems like life is falling apart and there's no one who can help you God is wanting you to be closer to Him. Sometimes we're left with no one to turn to so that we will turn to Him.

.. that teaching in Relief Society is still scary but it's also do-able. I couldn't tell you whether or not I'm getting any better at it, but I am getting more comfortable with it.

.. that making phone calls to people you don't know is scary but most people are very nice and understanding and appreciate the effort.

.. that even if God is trying to get me to stretch (A LOT) I still have the same basic personality underneath it all. I will probably never be someone who looks forward to public speaking or being in charge, but I know I can do what's required for now because God gives me abilities way beyond my natural ones.

.. life is all about people and relationships. It's not about who I am or what I wear or how happy I am. It's all about developing relationships and learning to love others. Life is not about me. It's about what I can do for others.

.. that I'm not even sure who I am anymore. Somewhere along the line I lost myself. (And not really in that good scriptural kind of way.) I'm trying to figure out what I like to do and what I want to be when I grow up. But I'm also okay with just taking one day at a time and not using all my time to figure this out. I think it'll come someday on it's own.

.. 5-6 hours of sleep are okay occasionally but not as a habit. Not only do I get tired and somewhat cranky but I really don't think clearly or function well.

.. God keeps us humble by regularly pointing out our weaknesses.

.. the key to finding the balance between ability and humility is to recognize your weaknesses while still acknowledging that God will make up the difference.

.. I'm a pretty good actress. No kidding! Would most of you guess that I'm still really nervous up in front of you? Or that half the stuff I have to do scares me to death? Or that I'm not actually always happy?

.. I'm a complainer. I hate to even admit it, but it's true. One of my goals this year is to accept things without complaining about them. I've noticed this pattern- I'm asked to do something new or scary or uncomfortable so I complain and moan and groan and act like it's a huge trial and then I just go ahead and get it done and finally I usually see the blessing in it. Somehow I need to cut out some of the whining first response and move onto the action and thanksgiving parts.

.. I need to be more patient with people. Especially when they don't do things the way I think they should be done. (Which also means I need to be more humble...)

.. I can make it through just about anything. But there are a lot of things I hope not to be asked to go through.

.. the internet is a great resource for learning how to take apart and repair a washing machine or dryer. It's also pretty good for car repairs.

.. I can do a lot of repairs to my car and around my house, especially with my husband's help! And I LIKE doing this stuff! I like knowing that something that was broken or not working right is fixed and that I've had a hand in it.

.. I'm not as good a friend as I would like to be. I'd like to be closer to many of my friends.

.. I'm actually becoming less social since taking on this calling. I've found that there are so many phone calls to make, meetings to go to and things to do that I don't have the energy or drive to invite friends over any more or do much of anything when I have a free day. I'd love to spend time with friends but half the time I'm just too tired.

.. my husband thinks I don't sit down and relax enough! I like to make sure things get done and find it a waste of time to just sit watching tv or doing nothing but he thinks I need to do more of this. I'm not convinced. I think I relax plenty by reading, doing sudoku or going for walks.

.. I'm blessed to be where I am.


Mama D said...

Amazing list of things you have learned this past year. There are many people who have benefited from these lessons you have learned!! I am grateful to among them and to be your friend.

Leslie said...

Wow. You are an amazing woman. Thanks for sharing.

chelle said...

What an awesome list. You are an amazing woman.
I agree with Michelle, we are blessed to have you as our 'leader' and as a friend. :D

Louann and Bari said...

What a great list! You are the best! Just remember that President Hinkley didn't like traveling either- and he went to 60 countries during his presidency.
I remember the first day we met in RS. Your just as fun and cute and opinionated now as you were then- BFE!

Papa D said...

I'll read the post in a minute, but I just want to tell you that I LOVE the picture! It's amazing.

Papa D said...

Wonderful post. I will be linking to it on my own blog in the future.

Fwiw, one of the best things about having you be the RS Pres is that you are a wonderful example of someone who is willing to do things with the Lord's help that would be impossible without Him. You are a terrific example, and you are loved - deeply, sincerely and profoundly. I hope you realize that.