When we are first called to a new position at Church, we may experience a variety of emotions, insights, and concerns. At times we may have had some inclination that the call was coming; however, we rarely feel fully ready to step into this new area of service.
I must confess, I enjoy seeing how Heavenly Father usually mixes up the talents, skills, and personalities of those leaving and entering a calling. I’m confident He doesn’t want a carbon copy of the previous leader; I believe that He is very purposeful in the selection of the new leader; and that they are meant to bring new perspective, strengths and weaknesses to the table that will build on the foundation of previous leaders.
Additionally, it gets really fun in new presidencies as we see the wonderful variety of personalities, experiences, approaches to the gospel, how to lead and, more importantly, how to council with one another.
Is This My “Mission?”
It is easy to get caught up in how we think we are supposed to be showing up as we are fulfilling our new calling. Is this an Esther moment,
“…who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14)
Is it a specific “mission” that God needs us to fulfill right now. Or is it a calling that we just need to use our skills and talents to help nurture our part of the vineyard for a time. Or is this a soul growing/stretching opportunity to learn, progress, collaborate, work off some rough edges of our soul and become a bit more of a “new creature” on the other side of the calling. The simple answer….yes! It could be all of these, but if we consider some insights from Dan Duckworth, we might relax a little and just lean into what this new chapter could look like for us and those we touch.
“Wandering” Through Life
In a recent interview with Kurt Francom, Why Your Ward Should Wander, Dan Duckworth, a master changemaker and founder of The Crucible Life, shared the importance of learning how to best show up in life’s ever-changing opportunities and circumstances.
Ducksorth suggests that we can evolve from thinking about how we have a “special mission” to perform on this earth to having a flip in our mindset where we:
“realize that your purpose is to wander and you embrace fate. You embrace the circumstances, you say this is where God/history/fate has placed me and my job is to learn how to be who I want to be in this situation.“
This requires some contemplation and personal work in discovering what we want to be in this life. However, as we do that personal homework on a regular basis, then when we are met with a variety of life’s situations, we can practice an insight that Duckworth shares. We can
“…see things as they really are and as they really will be if nothing changes. Then you start to see things that you can change.”
In his interview with Kurt, Duckworth shared the quote came from J.R.R. Tolkien’s, The Fellowship of the Ring, “Not all those who wander are lost.” Duckworth explains,
“You’re here to wander and as you wander you will receive confirmation along the way. The basic question of life, no matter what situation you’re in, is how we live the life you mean to live in that situation.”
Thus, we aren’t wandering aimlessly, we are wandering (or traveling) through life very intentionally and knowing that we have the opportunity to impact other lives in a powerful way.
Growing in Our Callings
I think we all would agree that as we serve, our number one goal is to fulfill our responsibility with love, inspiration, and purpose. In an effort to apply Duckworth’s insights on “wandering”, it may help to view our earthly efforts as opportunities to grow and progress.
As we know, plants grow at varying rates depending on how they were planted, how the soil is nurtured and if they receive enough water and light. The same is true when we are “planted” in a new calling. Our spiritual preparation, before and during our service has a HUGE impact on the level of our inspired influence while we serve.
Prior to our most recent calling, we may have been faithfully working to discover how we can best live our life; grow our faith; expand our testimony; and nurture our love of God, family and more. That nurturing is what helped us be ready to be planted in our current calling. Yet, as we strive to continue to grow, and produce fruit to benefit others in our stewardship, we need to continue to be nurtured.
Duckworth reminds us that with each new situation we need to be willing to ponder on this question.
“What is the meaning of my life in this situation. What is the significance. What am I going to become in this situation?”
Then we need to think and act with intention. Whether we are new to a calling, wanting to continue inspired service in an old calling, or seeking to bring our best self to our family, work, or community, there is much to be learned in recognizing that we are wandering and the Holy Spirit is confirming our direction and efforts.
Lifting Others Along the Way
As we seek to bring our best self to situations so that we can be that change for good, help lift the hands that hang down and truly fulfill the measure of our creation, we will discover that others are affected by our interactions. Duckworth suggests that,
“When you’re living the life you mean to live, you become a magnetic, moral power, that people look at you and say, ‘Wow, I’m here to find out how to live a meaningful life in every situation and you’re living a meaningful life. Not because I want to copy you but because you’re clearly feeling joy, you’re clearly feeling fulfilled. So, I think I’ll follow you because you might be able to show me how to live like that.’ And that’s a magnetic principle that draws people into you and your influence with them.”
When all is said and done, isn’t it wonderful if we can lead a purposeful, joy filled life, and through our example, invite others to do the same?
So, are you willing to wander a bit more? Are you willing to dig a little deeper to discover what type of life you want to live? Are you willing to live that meaningful life and seek to discover how you can make a difference in the situations that come your way? I suspect your answer is ‘yes’ and that you will be a blessing and gift to all those for whom you wander by. Whether it is a short embrace, or years of love and nurturing, you will make a difference in the lives of others, and your own life, as you live the life you were meant to live.
Beth Young is the written content manager at Leading Saints. She is a convert of 44 years; served a mission in North Carolina; has been married for 34 years to her sweetheart, Bob; has five children and two grandchildren. She raised her family in Texas for 25 years where she served in various capacities in church and in her community. She now lives in Utah and loves writing, teaching and inspiring others to make changes to their physical, mental, and spiritual health.