I firmly believe that people should share their honest feelings about a potential calling and whether they have the skills or the bandwidth for it at that time in their lives. I know that it is possible to grow through being challenged by callings we are not perfectly ready for, but there are times when a calling is a definite
I firmly believe that the person receiving the call is entitled to her own personal revelation about whether it is right just as much as the person extending the calling.
Thanks for bringing up this topic; it sure is a tricky one.
You make a good point, Rachel. Readers, if you’re ever issued a calling that makes you uncomfortable, share your honest feelings with your priesthood leader. You may still accept the calling, but if you do it will be with full awareness that your priesthood leaders are aware of your situation.
I was recently called to be gospel doctrine teacher, sharing with another teacher, alternating weeks. I first felt I might throw up and said so; to me it was like being called to be bishop. I am caretaker of my handicapped husband, and I have power of attorney for a 99-year-old woman that I visit three times a week for several hours, and pay her bills, and take her to doctor appointments.
I am stake media specialist, ward family history consultant, and first captain in my DUP Camp. I also am the leader of our monthly book club, not to forget visiting teaching. I am the mother of six grown children and 16 grandchildren (who are involved in sports and other activities that grandmothers must attend) and two great-grandchildren. I have also worked from home as a travel agent since 1979.
I was told my name had come up and they all felt this job was for me and to take a day and pray and ponder. I accepted that time to think about it and after a less than a day, I had the feeling that the Lord knew that scripture study was one of my greatest weaknesses and that this calling was to help me appreciate and know the scriptures.
I accepted the next day, and though it is the most difficult calling I have had to undertake, others say I am doing a good job and they really enjoy my lessons. I am learning and growing in an area I never thought I could.
The Lord does know what we need and when we need it. So if you ponder and pray about it, you may come to the conclusion that it is just what you are meant to do.
Wow, Busy! Your letter made me so tired I want to take a nap. You must have the gift of energy – either that or forbearance. Good for you, for accepting such a frightening calling on top of everything else.
I've only ever said no to one calling. It was Scouts and they traditionally meet on Tuesday or Wednesday nights, in our ward. I work both nights – Tuesday until 9 and Wednesday till 6.
I have done this calling before and I know how much preparation and energy it takes. I didn't want to say no, but I did. I felt guilty because I firmly believe in accepting callings, even the ones that make your jaw drop with shock. Also, I had two other callings at the time (we have a new ward) and I just didn't think I could do it.
Things turned out fine. Another sister took the position, and she does great in it.
Sometimes when someone turns a calling down, things don't turn out so great. But I believe you have to evaluate what you can and can't do and with a help from the Spirit, make up your mind.
That was wise counsel, Cindy. Thanks for sharing your experience.
My rule of thumb is that I need to pray and feel good about the calling before I will accept it.
I once refused a calling because I didn’t feel good about it. The bishopric looked a little harder and called an inactive sister to take the calling. She did a nice job.
There was also the experience where my husband was first asked if he’d support me in a calling and he said, “I’ll support her, but you need to know what is going on in her life right now.” He proceeded to explain my current obligations. The bishopric response was, “Oh, that’s why we didn’t feel good about calling her!”
For whatever reason, callings are not always inspired by the Lord.
I have to admit to once not being able to get an answer to my prayers because I so badly did not want the calling. My husband finally suggested that I go with his inspiration, which was that I should take the calling. I did so and finally felt peace about it – not that I ever enjoyed that calling.
I know bishoprics try hard, but sometimes the callings are desperation – not inspiration.
Judy in Colorado
I really appreciated your last experience, Judy. Even when a calling is inspired and we know we’re supposed to take it, we may never come to love that calling. That’s the way life works.
Explain to the bishop that you feel that this calling is beyond you, and give him your reason. Then tell him you'll accept if you get some help/support. If you can't manage it after a few months you can talk to him about if you should continue. But you might surprise yourself and do well in a calling that you never thought that you'd be able to handle.
Take the opportunity for personal growth. A calling wouldn't be offered if the bishop didn't think that you could do it/needed to do it.