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Struggling with a calling

Posted: 26 May 2019, 13:00
by Tica
Hello, I haven't been on here in awhile, I have been doing okay walking some kind of middle road and keeping everyone happy. But I am struggling today. My husband just got called to be a counselor in the bishopric, and while I really want to be supportive of his desire to serve, personally I am having a really hard time with it. It is so new that I don't even have cohesive thoughts to share yet. Maybe it won't be as hard as I fear. I just found myself in the car in ugly tears after he was set apart. Maybe that's normal, I don't know. They definitely weren't "feeling the spirit" kind of tears. I just felt like maybe it would help if I could talk with someone and don't really have anyone that I can have a frank discussion with given my ongoing struggles with the church. And I remembered this forum. I'm not even sure what to ask right now. Maybe just some solidarity would go a long way :smile: Thanks for providing a place where these feelings are okay to share.

Re: Struggling with a calling

Posted: 26 May 2019, 13:48
by DarkJedi
We do offer virtual shoulders to cry on.

It would be helpful for me to know what exactly your concerns are. Being a bishop's counselor (I have been one to two different bishops) can be time consuming depending on the bishop and the individual. With the more simplified meeting schedule and some things being pushed off to the elder's quorum presidency and Relief Society presidency, the calling is a little less busy than it once was.

Re: Struggling with a calling

Posted: 26 May 2019, 14:05
by mom3
Maybe that's normal, I don't know. They definitely weren't "feeling the spirit" kind of tears.
Even devout believing spouses have this issue. Not all the time. Some love it. But others are keenly affected by the challenges and impact it will have on their lives. Don't feel guilty.

I am Dark Jedi, it might help you (and us) if you could begin to identify what concerns you have. Whatever they are. Sending them over and we will listen. Maybe even throw in a few suggestions. We are good at that.

One bright side, you get a Bishoprics members ear. I know many wives who sort of pick their own calling in these situations. If you have something you want to do or something to be released from - this is a a bit of an open door.

Re: Struggling with a calling

Posted: 26 May 2019, 22:19
by Tica
Thank you both so much. I have been pondering about this all day. Here is what I have come up with so far in terms of my specific worries so far. All of my concerns seem to fall roughly in 3 general categories.

-Time cost for my little family. My husband and I have worked really hard to balance our work time and home time. My kids have really benefited from having him as a integral part of their daily lives, and I really want to keep that. I hope that you are right, DarkJedi, that this may not be as bad as I fear. Lovely well-intentioned people in the ward today offering their "condolences" and telling me that I will be a single parent didn't really help fuel my confidence on this issue. But as I have thought about this particular aspect, I know that my husband does really value and prioritize his family time to a very high degree, and while I'm sure this will add a challenge, he has been scout master and/or YM president most of our marriage, so it shouldn't be too much worse than that, right?! :)

-Relationship with my husband. This is one I am more worried about. My DH has been incredibly supportive of my faith journey, even though his perspective is very different. I am concerned that with dedicated service with a wonderful (and really traditional) bishop he is going to move towards more orthodoxy, and I feel myself going in the other direction...

-Social pressures. I attend church weekly and participate, but struggle to feel that I fit at church on the best of days. I typically avoid as many additional church activities as possible. I also no longer attend the temple. I have replaced these activities with a fulfilling job and work community, family activities, and am working on finding additional opportunities for service. With this approach over the past couple of years I have found a lot more peace, hope, and self-compassion. I am worried that with his new calling there will be expectations for me that I am not able to live up to while also maintaining this hard-won but still fragile balance of faith and mental health.

On the other hand, mom, you are right, it could be great to have a bishopric member's ear for many reasons. Also, the introspection and desire to become better that I have seen in my husband just since he got the calling today are a bit new and unexpected (he is an amazing husband and person, just not always super into self-reflection), and I am a huge fan of anything that helps him develop and feel motivated to do what he feels is good and right.

Re: Struggling with a calling

Posted: 26 May 2019, 22:39
by mom3
What have you said to him about any of this?

I think as the "wife of a counselor" you may be under less pressure than the "Bishop's Wife". If I were you I would keep on your trajectory. If you feel pushed mention it to your husband - not in a "I am a having a faith crisis" but in a "I am finding joy right now doing a, b,c." You could also ask if you could head up Just Serve. It's a great cover calling. You find a service your ward can participate in, you've covered a calling, and are a leader.

I don't know where you live, but I am happy to help you come up with ideas for it. It's been a great place to be apart and be a -part (both separate and connected).

Family First is part of the church. Feel free to fall back on that, too, when people want you to be doing such and such. Respond with what you have been doing with your family, whether it's homework projects, school support, even mini-vacays.

These are just starter thoughts. Feel free to correct what I may not understand.

You will do better than you think.

PS - one last minute thought, I remember when a new Bishop was put in when I was a kid. His wife had been this larger than life in callings. Someone asked her how she felt. Her answer was, "It's his time to shine. I am happy to step back." She did. She held super low key callings all the time. It wasn't that she wasn't capable, it was that she had self confidence enough to find fulfillment outside of church. Feel free to verbally use the line to create some distance when people get too close or try to pin you to a place you aren't ready for.

Keep us posted. Vent over here as much as you like.

Re: Struggling with a calling

Posted: 27 May 2019, 04:52
by DarkJedi
being a bishop's counselor is absolutely less busy than being YMP or Scoutmaster. I have been all of those, YMP is busier than the bishop himself. Counselors have some advantage over the bishop as far as time - he spends a great deal of time dealing with issues (welfare and spiritual needs) the counselors are not involved in. Mom's right about the church being about family time - the Sabbath day stuff is really about that. FWIW, my own SP says the bishop (and I think by default everyone else) should be home by 2:00 on Sundays no matter what time your SM is (our latest one is 11). A good amount of what a counselor does (other than bishopric, ward council, counting tithing and doing TR interviews) can be done on the phone or by other means (and I know bishoprics who do phone meetings).

I can't offer anything on your relationship except keep doing what you're doing if that's working. And Mom is right about having the bishopric's ear. It's surprising what they don't know.

Re: Struggling with a calling

Posted: 27 May 2019, 12:38
by Roy
Hi Tica,
I personally receive a sense of validation from being respected and admired by others. I imagine that this can form part of your husbands motivation. It is an honor and a vote of confidence by your community.

It also sounds like this is motivating him (already a great guy) to look for ways to be even better. As long as those steps are not towards a more rigid and restrictive householod then I think that should be ok. Communication is the key here. You respect him and expect him to grant you respect in return. Also telling him how much you respect and admire him for the good man that he is always a good idea. DW is very conscientious and that sometimes means that things get dumped on her plate at the last minute. Especially when I am frustrated at the last minute imposition on our time and resources, I try to tell her that I admire her for the person that she is and that I am lucky to have such a wonderful partner. She can't just let things fall apart. that is not the type of person that she is. (I, in contrast, would be much more likely to say "not my problem.")

I also agree with maybe taking a lowkey background calling (or even no calling) and then channeling any leftover energy into supporting your husband might be ideal. This does not mean that people will not still challenge you and wonder (possibly aloud) why you cannot support your husband AND have a demanding calling. Some people will never be satisfied and trying to is a losing battle. As long as you and your husband can reach a happy equilibrium then that is all that really matters.

Just some thoughts. Take what might apply to you and leave the rest.

Re: Struggling with a calling

Posted: 27 May 2019, 22:04
by Tica
You all have some really good points. After some space and reflection (writing down my concerns did help some, thanks for the advice!) I agree that communication with my husband is going to be key. That is something we know we always need to work on, as neither of us are great communicators naturally. I will try to keep that at the forefront of my mind.

I am currently happy in the calling department. I am one of a small handful of pianists in the ward and was just put (back) in as the primary pianist. Best calling ever, especially since my kids are in there. I don't feel the need or desire to be perceived as a leader myself, but I also don't want to be a liability for DH.

That being said, personal growth and service are 2 of my core values. Mom, I really appreciate your offer around more information about Just Serve. That is a function/program that I would very much like to be a part of. Maybe that is one way I could participate more actively without compromising my own needs. I haven't heard much about the program in our Ward, maybe I will do some digging.

Re: Struggling with a calling

Posted: 28 May 2019, 19:26
by Rumin8
This is a tough one. I totally get your concerns and fears.

From an optimistic point of view, perhaps this will put him in close proximity to others that may be struggling too. Due to his support of you, he could be a valuable empathetic resource to others, and this may in fact increase his empathy towards you as well.

There is no getting around the time constraints and the church widow scenario. I’m sure he will prioritize his family as much as is possible.

I’m in frequent contact with my bishopric. One of our counselors wives is what I would call less active. But she is welcome and is a part of the ward to the extent that she wishes to be. I am in a good ward. Most people accept and love her, period. Plus it doesn’t hurt that her husband is a salt of the earth kind of guy.

Best of luck to you! These high profile callings are hard on all involved.

Re: Struggling with a calling

Posted: 28 May 2019, 19:44
by LookingHard
DarkJedi wrote:
27 May 2019, 04:52
being a bishop's counselor is absolutely less busy than being YMP or Scoutmaster.
I agree here also I have been a bishopric counselor a few times and I was scoutmaster for a LONG time. It felt like a cake walk to JUST be a counselor. A bishop is one thing, but a counselor usually isn't nearly so busy. Maybe don't panic before you find out how much he will be gone.

It depends on the ward, but being the wife of a member of the bishopric gives you a little clout. I am not talking about the "I am such a good Mormon" stuff, but more if you want to say something a bit edgy in class sometime - you might be able to pull it off better as "the wife of a member of the bishopric."

Best of luck.