I took my own advice. When I teach classes and meet with clients to write their personal history, I encourage them to use times of change in their lives as a catalyst to reflect and write. I did that, and it truly was a game-changer!
For members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), one of those times of change is a transition in our roles and responsibilities for church service. We each have a “calling,” a voluntary job or role serving and/or teaching others to help our congregation run smoothly. Those callings change after a time, based on revelation to church leadership. Because of the opportunities and responsibilities involved in callings, we have experiences through them that help us learn and grow.
So… when we are asked to fill a different calling, and a new person takes on our previous one, this time of change is ideal for reflection and writing as part of your personal history. I found that to be true as I took my own advice and thought about my most recent calling change.
Until November, I had served as the music director for all the children ages 3-12. Every Sunday, I taught them sweet songs about the Savior and other eternal principles while trying to keep them engaged and actively learning. When I first received this calling, I was quite apprehensive, both about my level of musical ability and my aptitude for teaching young children. Yet as I fulfilled that calling every week for three years, I learned a lot… about music leading and conducting, about classroom management, about teaching and engaging children. I grew to love the children, the music and my calling.
Then in November I was really dismayed to be asked to serve as director of the congregational choir. Teaching music to children was one thing- but conducting a choir with four (or sometimes six!) different singing parts, including choosing, teaching and directing difficult pieces of music– yikes!!
Way outside of my abilities and comfort zone.
Three months later, it still is definitely beyond my abilities, and a continual struggle. I had been working at it while also chafing against it… until I remembered I should reflect on this calling change, as I counsel others to do.
And guess what? That reflection process really made a difference in my attitude.. and will affect my actions going forward.
I recognized that- for some reason- the Lord must want me to expand my musical knowledge and capacity. He started my journey with the children, where I could learn the basics and love the music. But apparently that did not take my learning far enough. I need to learn more- much more- and He’s given me the opportunity to do that by asking me to direct the choir.
It is definitely hard, and there are many people much-better-qualified to take this role. So, it’s very humbling for me as I struggle through our weekly practices. But for a reason I don’t yet understand, I need to grow in this area.
Simply recognizing that makes a difference. It’s still hard, but now I see it as an opportunity to learn and practice something that the Lord sees as important for my growth and progression. He wants me to develop a musical talent and has given me challenges to facilitate that learning. So I will go forward with a better attitude and try to embrace this chance to learn.
This is why I love personal history work. As we reflect and write, we learn about ourselves. It can change our actions and attitudes here and now, helping us chart a better course for the future and take advantage of opportunities that otherwise would go unrecognized.
Make the time to reflect, and write, and grow. Don’t leave your tale untold…
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