Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Being a Beginner

The other day I talked to two friends, both new in the church, about teaching their Young Women classes on Sunday. They were nervous. One was overwhelmed at having been handed a manual and told, "Go for it." They didn't know what to expect and weren't sure they would measure up. And I felt that stomach-turning anxiety myself as they spoke, because I am going through that in my calling as well.

It made me remember that growth can be painful and uncomfortable. It's not graceful or pretty. It involves stumbling, back-tracking, and second-guessing. And yet, to someone farther down the path, it may seem that the process is taking too long and that the performance is inadequate. But really? It's a tremendous undertaking to just to start and stay the course.

We do each other a great disservice when we discount another's experience; for example, when we tell someone with a new baby, "You only have one--wait till you have two! Then you'll know stress." The reality is that Life changed 100% for the new parent, whether it is a first child or a 10th. Invalidating someone's struggle to elevate our own is selfish and inconsiderate. Should I tell my two friends, "You think teaching a little class is hard? Try running the whole stake!" Of course not. (Not to mention that I don't really run the stake, haha.)

Another thing on my mind lately is that we all have different capacities and capabilities. I used to think that someone who did less than I was living beneath her or his potential (and compared myself negatively to those who could do more) but I have come to realize that that is not necessarily true; a person can give their all and produce a little or give a little and produce a lot--how can I judge their intent?

The answer is: I can't. You can't. And we don't need to.

In my life I have found that greater happiness comes in lifting others than in tearing them down. In being grateful for what was done instead of what I thought should have been done. In appreciating people for where they are, for who they are, and for what they may become, not judging them for their inexperience. Because I've been a beginner and let me tell you . . . it is hard work.


Dad said...

Rebie- you are remarkable. I'm proud to be your dad.

Rebecca and Co. said...

Dad! You are so nice. You always make me feel good about myself. :) I love you. <3