Wednesday, February 10, 2010

:::Amended Thoughts On Visiting Teaching:::

Long post with no pictures.

So, last night after I wrote that post about visiting teaching I felt a tremendous load lifted off of my shoulders. I don't know, I was just a cathartic experience to own up to every single reason why I've been afraid to do my visiting teaching over the years. And wow, has fear ever played a big part in the equation.

I should say that all the reasons I listed were more of a lifelong retrospective collection of the things that have kept me from visiting teaching. I was digging deep, super duper deep, to think of every possible reason why I would be unmotivated to visit teach. It was embarrassing to share some of the things on that list, but it was good for me, and hopefully interesting/enlightening for you.

I didn't want to own up to all of the things I listed, particularly the 'I don't have anything in common with anyone' excuse. I hate that one. While it is a real concern that I have had throughout my life, it is too defeatist, too whiny, too self-centered for my liking.

First of all, visiting teaching isn't about me. Shocker, right? Second, one of the most tender mercies that the Lord has given me is to show me that regardless of any outside factors, all of His children are more similar than they are different. Everyone struggles, everyone cries, everyone worries, fails, loses, doubts, and misses out. We are all more a like than we are different. While the unfortunate circumstances of mortality are an undeniable equalizing factor in all of our lives, the fact that we are all children of a loving Heavenly Father is the greatest equalizer of all. That makes for a lot of common ground.

In one of the singles wards that I attended in Provo, someone once bore a strong testimony of becoming a Christlike people. At the time we were meeting in the De Jong concert hall in the HFAC, so during sacrament meeting there was a lot of space for people to spread out. He noted how far apart we were sitting from each other, and used that as a metaphor for the Adversary's attempts to steal people away one by one from the flock of the Lord.

It seems like such a small thing, and I was a little indignant when he said this, but I couldn't deny his words. The reason I always tried to sit separately from everyone else was, for one, personal comfort. Hello. But I also had the attitude that none of the people in the ward were my friends because no one would ever be able to 'get' me. Why would I want to sit closely with them? I was different, they just didn't/couldn't understand me.

This brother finished his thoughts by saying that Satan's modus operandi is to divide and conquer. First he leads us away from the flock, and then he starts to play with our testimonies by distorting the truth. Here a little and there a little, just as the Lord teaches us His gospel.

The attitude that I am just so different from everyone else has been a destructive force in my life. It is born from a lot of fear that was born from some undeniably bad experience from my growing up years. Seeing this as an opportunity to divide me away from the flock and conquer my testimony, it has been one of the major ways that Satan has worked in my life. I hate it. I truly hate it.

In recent years I've become better at not projecting my weaknesses on the LDS people at large. Even in circumstances that temporarily validate my fears, I'm more adept at letting them roll off my back, keeping my hackles down, and moving on. Feeling a part of the flock, like I have a right to be in the flock, like people want me in the flock, is my Achilles' heel. I don't know what yours is, but ironically enough there's a good chance that it's the same thing. {Sigh} If we could only get to know each other better we might be able to help each other out. Oh wait, is that what visiting teaching is for?

All of this sounds so lame now that I'm writing it out, and I feel embarrassed about admitting so many of the things on the list in my previous post. Really embarrassed. However, it was good for me to feel that shame because it made for a broken heart and a contrite spirit, which in turn opened me up and made room for a teachable moment from the Lord. I hate the way I feel when I'm stuck on me. It's just a crummy, hopeless, and stifling feeling.

My best attitude toward visiting teaching comes when I completely forget myself and approach the situation like an anthropologist on a research trip. I am happiest when I am committed to learning more about the sister I'm visiting, and not about comparing her apples to my oranges. I actually really enjoy visiting teaching when I have the right attitude.

So, when I've got the right attitude and I'm committed to being a good visiting teacher, I think my biggest difficulty is that it's just so blame hard to get started.

Kids, it's still snowing.


Jill said...

I just finished commenting on your first visiting teaching post, so this is a fun follow-up that hits several of the things I mentioned in my comment right on the head.

I'm glad you made your list and got those things out of your head so you can start fresh.

I think that guy from your single's ward in Provo hit the nail on the head with his thoughts of Satan wanting to divide and conquer, it seems obvious now doesn't it?

Don't beat yourself up or be embarrassed, you were honest and have a desire to do better and those are gifts.

michelle said...

I love this post, Rebekah. And the last one as well. I love that you are so honest. It's dang hard to admit to our faults and weaknesses!

I also love the thoughts on Satan wanting to divide and conquer, that's some good food for thought there.

Sheans said...

I hate snow.

yeah, i know that has nothing to do with visiting teaching. what of it?

Sarah said...

I have a great testimony on how important it is for ME to have visiting teachers. I absolutely know with certainty that Heavenly Father wants me to have visiting teachers.
That has helped me become better at getting out there and doing my own visiting teaching. I assume He likes those other people, too. =)
And just so you know, I am VT by two of the scariest gals in my ward. They honestly scare me. They're not coming until next week and I'm already up late at night worried because I know that my house isn't good enough for my mind. I'm sure they're nice people, but they're new as my VT and they still really scare me.