When 25-year-old Heber J. Grant was called as an apostle, he felt very inadequate about serving in that high and holy office. On his first major assignment, he toured the southwestern United States. While riding a horse on a Navajo Indian reservation, he separated from his group and poured out his heart to the Lord. He had a spiritual experience in which he learned he had done nothing to deserve the honor except to live a pure, sweet life of faith. The future prophet was never again bothered by feelings of inadequacy.
This story told by President Grant and my experiences have taught me that the Lord measures us by His standards. By taking the following five important steps, we can receive the necessary strength to perform a calling:- Study. Learn all you can about the assignment in which you have been called to serve. Read the scriptures searching for the spiritual principles that underline the call. Study the handbooks and printed material.
- Ponder. Take time to think about the assignment, especially about individuals whom you serve.
- Pray. Ask in your personal prayers for the spirit of your calling and for an ability to be sensitive to the needs of those you serve.
- Serve. Spend time in the service of others, those for whom you have a stewardship and who have needs that service can assist.
- Trust in the Lord. He will make up the difference in your ability and the demands of your calling. - Courtney J. Lassetter, Toronto, Ontario
How we did it:
Supporters also important
As I have watched friends and family move up the "position ladder," I have sometimes felt inadequate.
Then I remind myself that I have served in music positions for more than 30 years and others often have wished they knew my "second language" of music. Over the years, I have tried to magnify my callings. I have taught chorister classes, basic organ, piano, and substituted willingly in other wards when I have been in stake music positions. I also have written and organized materials for others to use. Being in music, I've missed working in organizations with other people, so I try to compensate by substituting as a teacher in my children's classes. Not having leadership callings also has allowed me time to work in the community.
In addition, two Ensign articles have helped me feel good about myself: "Comparatively Speaking," January 1984, page 63, and "When Your Wife Has a Church Calling," April 1982, page 56. It comforts me to know the Lord needs good supporters as well as leaders. I try to be a good support to my husband and children while they have served in leadership positions. - Name withheld, Utah
Sought Lord's help
I remember the first time I was called to be the nursery leader in my old ward in Indiana. At the time, I had one son who had cerebral palsy, and he was at the age where he was in the nursery. I remember being afraid and feeling so inadequate.
The way I overcame these feelings was by going to my class and seeing those beautiful children and remembering the scriptures about how our older brother Jesus loved the children. I prayed that I would be able to teach those children the things that they needed to hear. During my time as nursery leader, I did a lot of praying, fasting and scripture reading. That is the perfect formula for dealing with the feelings of inadequacy that Satan wants us to feel. As children of God and with Heavenly Father's help, we have the capability of overcoming anything and doing anything that he wants us to do. - Roseann Tarr, Pensacola, Fla.
Teach about work
Some years ago when I was called to be stake Primary chorister without the benefit of a piano in my home or the ability to read music, I most certainly felt inadequate. My only asset seemed to be my love for Primary children and music. In a beautiful blessing when I was set apart, I was assured that the Lord had a reason for issuing me the call. He knew my strengths, and I was the only person entitled to the inspiration associated with that call at that time. How comforting to be reminded that I wasn't alone. What was a terrifying call became a rich blessing as I opened myself to that inspiration and served several years. - Kathy Camp, Las Vegas, Nev.
Study the manual
I've learned much since becoming a member of the Church. When I received my first calling in December 1983 as a Beehive teacher, I was frightened. I had always wanted to be a teacher and it gave me an exciting feeling to be called to teach, but I had no experience. When I expressed these feelings to the Young Women president, she said she knew I could do it if I studied the manual. I did and I have continued to do this with every calling I've had since then. I was told that only I held the mantle to this calling and the Lord would bless me if I asked for His help. I often was reminded of a quote, "One is not called for what one is but for what one can become." - Bertha Spann, Poplar Bluff, Mo.
Help by being yourself
I became aware of a tragedy that happened to a sister in my ward. As her friend and visiting teacher, I immediately went to her home with an overwhelming desire to comfort her in her hour of grief. When I saw her all I could do was put my arms around her and weep. We spoke a few words, then wept together.
As I thought about the experience after I left, I wondered if I had been of any comfort to her. As time went on, I began to feel I may have even caused her to suffer more by my actions. I prayed with a heavy heart, "I want to be an instrument in Thy hands for Thy purposes and yet my weaknesses prevent me in so many ways." Then the words came to me very clearly through a prompting of the Spirit. "You are an instrument just as you are." How grateful I was to be taught from the Spirit that if we are earnestly striving to be of service, our offering is acceptable to the Lord. He will see that all things work together for our good and for the good of those we serve. - Name withheld, Layton, Utah
Trying is the key
Try. That is the key. Prayer also is necessary. The Lord helps anyone that will put forth effort.
I once told the bishop if he ever called on me, I would not come back to Church. Before long, however, I saw what others could do in callings, so I tried and the Lord blessed me. Today I could talk in large meetings, and I don't believe it would bother me. I have filled two missions and served on the stake Relief Society board 10 years. - Beatrice W. Merrill, Orem, Utah
Develop spiritual muscles
I celebrate when called to positions in which I feel inadequate because I believe in miracles. It is only when miracles are necessary that they do occur. Heavenly Father listens to our prayers. He lets us struggle to develop spiritual and mental muscles. Through promptings of the Holy Ghost, we receive the help we need to overcome our weaknesses and feelings of inadequacy. - Francine A.M. Griffiths, Santa Rosa, Calif.
How to checklist:
1 Try by accepting callings for which you may not feel qualified.
2 Emphasize your strengths and abilities when serving in the Church.
3 Seek advice and support from Church leaders, and study the manuals.
4 Pray for spiritual guidance and help in fulfilling callings.
WRITE TO US:
Jan. 23 "How to restore a family relationship gone awry."
Jan. 30 "How to maintain spirituality when one must work on Sunday."
Feb. 6 "How to influence and help grandchildren without being meddlesome."
Feb. 13 "How to avoid placing too much importance on appearance."
Feb. 20 "How to help someone who has been disfellowshipped or excommunicated."
Feb. 27 "How to have an enjoyable dating relationship when there are few or no Church members to date."
March 5 "How to identify a spiritual prompting."
March 12 "How to draw closer as a family through family home evening."
March 19 "How to develop self-reliance and independence."
March 26 "How to improve the quality of your life."
Have you had good experiences or practical success in any of the above subjects? Share them with our readers in about 100-150 words. Write the "How-to" editor, Church News, P.O. Box 1257, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110. Contributions may be edited or excerpted and will not be returned. Material must be received at least 12 days before publication date.