Sunday, January 25, 2009

Divine Potential

Wow. It's been almost a month since I've posted anything and, despite Kate's request, no one else has posted! Sorry Kate, I'm not trying to hog the family blog, but I can't force others to post. C'mon everyone! Believe it or not, my life is not always/usually/ever blog-worthy!

I've been reading a Young Women's oriented blog for the past several months, which I usually find to have interesting and worthwhile insights, even though I do not have a calling in young women. I particularly enjoyed one of today's posts, on what I assume is an upcoming lesson. The topic (as you can see if you followed the link) is "Finding Joy in Our Divine Potential". (Don't you just love all the cliche terms and phrases we have in the church that we hear all the time but don't ever stop to think about what they actually mean? Or if they even have a meaning? I think "divine potential" falls in the first category. The best I've recently heard is "faith is real".) I've been drawn to the subject of divine/eternal potential ever since teaching this visiting teaching message, trying to get my companion and visiting teachees to actually (heaven forbid!) think about the topic and what our various roles as women (and men) are, and having the idea that women have roles other than motherhood be completely dismissed. Oh, and I'm pretty sure after those visits my companion was convinced I'm apostate. I think I've managed to dispel that notion over the past few months.

Back to the topic at hand, I like the attitude of the writer of the above-linked post. She isn't saying marriage and family aren't important. She's careful to say that they are, and that she loves being a wife and mother, and that those roles are fulfilling parts of womanhood. But she recognizes that they are not a complete picture of womanhood, that that's not all women were created for, and that many women can and will fulfill their potential without being a wife or mother. She mentions President Uchtdorf's talk from the Relief Society broadcast, which I agree is a perfect fit for this topic. I loved that talk! Basically, the writer has expressed my thoughts on the topic of divine potential perfectly (I think, as they currently stand).

And, even more than that, she's helped me realize that I'm very happy I've yet to recieve a calling in young women's. When I read about having a panel discussion on what about their womanhood brings them joy, my heart froze and my thoughts were "! I haven't the foggiest idea! I need more time!" So, yeah, I'm glad I'm not having to teach these lessons yet. I'm suddenly very happy to be keeping 2 year olds fed and happy in nursery. I know how to help them get where they need to be. I'd like to serve in YW some day, but for now I think I'd like a while longer to figure myself out before I'm thrust into a position to help guide young women into womanhood.


Susan said...

Thank you! I really appreciated this post. This is a topic I'm constantly pondering. Several of our talks in Sacrament Meeting today had me thinking about this a lot today. The Relief Society presidency talked about goals and personal preparedness. Out of all the things they could have focused on they talked about the need to prepare meals ahead of time and get enough education to be able to read, write, and do basic math. I'm not even kidding. If that's all I have to live up to, then what on earth are we doing here?

Michaela said...

It's definitely important to try to think about things a little bit more. I love the practical approach: when someone says: find ways to open your heart to the spirit, go deeper. HOW? yoga? walking the dog? taking a few extra seconds getting ready in the morning and put on makeup? seriously. what does it take? some of it is mental, and maybe a lot of it physical. there is always something tangible that we can put our finger on and change through the gospel.

btw, can I say how amazed I am that you find all these blogs and follow them? I'm clearly not in the blog world...

Glad you found a new perspective for nursery! If only I could find a new one to get me through the next few months of school!

Love ya!

jeans said...

Just had to stop by & say thanks for finding us and using us as spiritual food for thought even though you're not in a YW calling. I enjoyed your post, thanks! Have a great day!

Momof8 said...

I had a lot of different thoughts as I read your blog and the one you linked to about the YW lesson. I sometimes feel I live in a bubble because I don't seem to run into the same frustrations here. I visit teach a friend who is married with no children and I also have a very good friend who is single, also with no children, who would both be quickly and easily approved by our bishop to speak to my YW about the Joy of Being a Woman. I look at my YW each time a lesson on Eternal Marriage is given (one of which I had to teach) and wonder if any of them will have the opportunity to enjoy that blessing in this life. Therefore, I teach with that in mind. In addition, one of our advisors is in her third marriage, the only one in the temple after a return from years of inactivity. She relates well to my YW because, like her, many of them come from broken homes and are struggling with faith and recognizing the divine potential within them like she did.

I remember the Visiting Teaching message you linked to. I taught it to my friend I referred to above as well as to an elderly widowed woman who is totally inactive (and whose living children have nothing to do with the church) and a mature woman who comes to church only once in a while and smokes. Her husband is not a member and none of her children have anything to do with the church. I have difficulty getting any kind of spiritual discussion going with these latter women, but with each of my three visits, our discussion revolved around the fact that being a woman is so much more than just being married and having children.

I was blessed to grow up feeling that women are cherished and equal in value to men, no matter what their marital/motherhood status is. I ache with those who desire marriage and/or motherhood and are denied in this life, but I also believe they have great potential and great worth. I learn from them and love them. I believe much of the "Molly Mormon" culture is limited to small circles and small minds.

Having been in Primary or YW for most of the past 30 years, I guess I've missed out on a lot of the vagaries and missteps of RS teaching. What I have learned is that we are here to really know who Jesus Christ is (not just learn about him, but that is an important part), to feel His love for us as His children (through the Atonement) and to go forth in service to others because of the love (charity) that is within us. This is a journey that moves forward line upon line and takes a lifetime to achieve.

Alanna said...

I laughed since I somehow skipped the "Divine Potential" lesson-- I think the leaders covered it for me! I didn't realize that I had dodged a bullet! Lucky for me, I never think too deeply about most of these things or else I'd probably get scared out of my mind! ;)