Meaningful Contributions at Church
If I did have a faith crisis, it happened long ago. Now, I’m simply in varying states of conflict (or harmony). At times, the conflict ebbs and I feel peaceful in my church attendance. At other times, the conflict flows and I feel upset, frustrated, and full of angst. Periodically, the conflict reaches a real crescendo – and then I feel despair. The cognitive dissonance threatens to tear my soul in two. That’s where I am now.
I turn to my usual tools at times like these: I make lists, which helps me sort through the chaos; I talk to many different friends, which helps to spark ideas and connect dots. And I pray – for both comfort and guidance.
When I get through this particular moment of conflict, I’ll write another blog post about my full process. But for today, I am focusing on one of my lists: contributions.
I am a fan of Strengths Finder – and I am fortunate to have a good friend who is trained in Strengths Leadership and coaches me in my own strengths. She suggested that I make list of my possible contributions. I am most happy when I can bring my strengths and talents to a group and contribute in meaningful ways. (I suppose we are all most happy when we can do that.) I’ve come up with a list– and maybe half of what I would like to contribute to my church – requires me to hold priesthood.
Let me pause in my story to pick up a parallel story. Over the past several months, a family of six have been investigating the church and attending my ward. They were baptized about a month ago. The father and oldest son in the family were recently ordained to the Priesthood. I wasn’t at church when they first participated in the ordinance of the sacrament, but a friend from my ward told me that the father was moved to tears. He later expressed: “I never imaged that I would be able to participate in a church in such a meaningful way.” And I thought: Exactly! I don’t imagine that I will be able to participate in my church in that meaningful way.
So, what do I do with my list? Should I be happy about the ways I am able to contribute or frustrated about the ways I cannot contribute? Or both?
And what about you, dear reader? In what ways do you feel happy in your contributions? In what ways do you feel frustrated?
And … yes … here’s my list.
- With my strengths in arranging and organizing:
- Managing all Visiting Teaching logistics (I adore Visiting Teaching)
- Create agenda for Counsel Meetings (think: Executive Secretary)
- With my strengths in connectedness, positivity, empathy, and responsibility: MINISTER.
- Visiting Teaching
- Healing Blessings
- Comfort Blessings
- Blessings for expectant mothers and new babies
- Administer the Sacrament
- Praying with and for others
- Leading group prayers
- Care for children
- With my strengths in communication and influencing (and my love of testifying): PREACH
- With my strengths of context and seeking – and my natural curiosity:
- Participating in nuanced gospel discussions
- Substitute teaching in Primary, Gospel Doctrine, and Relief Society