Speaking out about accepting callings

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græy
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Speaking out about accepting callings

Post by græy » Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:15 pm

Yesterday our ward's GD teacher skipped back a little bit and hit the earlier chapters in Hebrews. I don't remember the reference that set it off, but eventually the discussion turned to callings coming from God and not just the bishopric. The teacher asked "How does knowing a calling comes from the Lord affect your willingness to accept or stay involved in a calling?"

There were a few answers that were really very good. One man in the class talked about his time as a clerk sitting in the bishopric meetings. He mentioned how a certain counselor had extended a calling to a woman who refused said calling and told him she did not believe it to be inspired in any way. The former ward clerk went on to explain that inspiration has to be filtered through imperfect people before it comes down as an actual calling. He said he believed the bishoprics and stake presidencies are doing their best to receive and interpret revelation, but that we all need be patient and accept the differences and faults that come with fallible people. He concluded saying "There is power in accepting callings, even when we don't understand why they came to us."

All-in-all it was really a great response.

I raised my hand and shared my experience extending callings. I said there were times when we as a bishopric felt inspired, and later found out the individual had also felt that particular calling was coming up for them. There were other times when we didn't feel particularly inspired, and yet the individual "knew" it was right for them. I shared the extreme example of a woman who accepted a calling as a pianist with the response, "I just need to learn piano first." (Everyone chuckled)

I then shared my thought that inspiration for callings can come in many different forms. Perhaps the calling comes to give us a chance for personal growth, to learn to set boundaries, or recognize when a particular calling just wont work. That may be due to schedules, health, or other reasons, but sometimes saying no to something that could otherwise be overwhelming is personal growth.

I should have gone on to say something about spiritual maturity and the ability to recognize when you really CAN'T do something versus you just don't want to, but I didn't. I basically just left it hanging with an awkward, "I'm ok with people saying no" vibe to it.

Another brother (the only other "nuanced" member in our ward I'm aware of) commented that saying no to a calling for good reason does not make you worth less, or a bad person. You can still be in good standing and find ways to serve that fit you better.

Now, here's the weird part. After church had ended. I felt really guilty about what I had said. Partially because I really hate trying ad-lib complex ideas and always second guess what I actually said. Sometimes I can't let it go for several days. That is where I'm at right now. But also, because I feel like I can be seen as basically slapping down (or trying to slap down) all the good comments that came before me, when that wasn't my intent.

No one has said anything negative, and it really was a very minor topic to comment on. I guess I just wasn't ready to feel judged (if I'm even being judged) or guilty for speaking what I actually believe for once.

Thanks for listening. That is all.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

Wonderment
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Re: Speaking out about accepting callings

Post by Wonderment » Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:54 pm

Iraised my hand and shared my experience extending callings. I said there were times when we as a bishopric felt inspired, and later found out the individual had also felt that particular calling was coming up for them. There were other times when we didn't feel particularly inspired, and yet the individual "knew" it was right for them. I shared the extreme example of a woman who accepted a calling as a pianist with the response, "I just need to learn piano first." (Everyone chuckled)

I then shared my thought that inspiration for callings can come in many different forms. Perhaps the calling comes to give us a chance for personal growth, to learn to set boundaries, or recognize when a particular calling just wont work. That may be due to schedules, health, or other reasons, but sometimes saying no to something that could otherwise be overwhelming is personal growth.
What you said was perfect ! It's important not to be guilted into accepting a calling that seems just overwhelming or a bad fit. It's tiring always hearing that "callings come straight from God." No, they don't. They come from the bishop, depending on his own opinions about the ward's needs. I'm sure there were people in your meeting who found your words very productive and reassuring. You spoke much-needed words, and you did so with empathy and diplomacy. :) :) :) - Wndr.

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græy
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Re: Speaking out about accepting callings

Post by græy » Tue Nov 19, 2019 8:28 am

Wonderment wrote:
Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:54 pm
What you said was perfect ! It's important not to be guilted into accepting a calling that seems just overwhelming or a bad fit. It's tiring always hearing that "callings come straight from God." No, they don't. They come from the bishop, depending on his own opinions about the ward's needs. I'm sure there were people in your meeting who found your words very productive and reassuring. You spoke much-needed words, and you did so with empathy and diplomacy. :) :) :) - Wndr.
Thanks Wonderment. I very much appreciate the voice up support.
I'm better than dirt... well most dirt. Not that fancy store bought stuff, I can't compete with that... full of nutrients and everything. -Moe Sizlack

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Corsair
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Re: Speaking out about accepting callings

Post by Corsair » Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:18 am

This topic was particularly timely because I just turned down my first calling. The Gilbert, AZ temple called me and asked if I would be a temple worker. This is a clear sign that my role as "undercover unbeliever" has been, perhaps, far too successful. We will see what happens when this message gets back to my bishop.

Graey, I'm entirely with you on the challenges of staffing a ward. It's very easy to have your "inspiration" be clouded by your "desperation".

Thoughtful
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Re: Speaking out about accepting callings

Post by Thoughtful » Fri Nov 22, 2019 5:41 pm

I love what you said and it doesn't sound overbearing to me at all. It's the type of thought provoking conversation that helps people think, without being too antagonistic. And I do think that one person being vulnerable, makes sunday school more open to vulnerability as well. When people are closed off and limit the conversation, everyone seems to limit and police themselves.

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Mormorrisey
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Speaking out about accepting callings

Post by Mormorrisey » Mon Nov 25, 2019 10:35 am

I don't think you were out of line at all, just very thoughtful about your response.

We had the same discussion a few months back, when it was mentioned by a zealous EQ member that we should never reject callings as they were from the Lord. I was going to speak up, but a former bishop beat me to it, and said while bishoprics did their level best, sometimes they are unaware of circumstances in a home that would preclude someone from accepting a calling. And people shouldn't feel bad about rejecting a calling if their circumstances warrant - I just nodded sagely and added "inspiration is only as good as information." That ended that, but I'm sure it didn't make a dent in the thinking of the more intense members of my EQ.

So I think only the truly zealous buy this nonsense, although most level headed people see things "as they really are."

You made your point a lot more diplomatically than I would.
"And I don't need you...or, your homespun philosophies."
"And when you try to break my spirit, it won't work, because there's nothing left to break."

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