I'm starting to wonder if my ward can't figure out what to do with me. For the fifth time since I switched into this ward (15 months ago), a member of the bishopric called me "with a few questions." He said the Young Women's Presidency was reorganizing, and they were wondering what my availability was like for being a Laurel Adviser (Laurels being the 16-17-year-old girls in the ward). Specifically, he was asking whether I would be able to commit to activities every Tuesday night?
Okay, here's the thing. In our church, there's a strong assertion of inspiration behind every calling. If the leadership is inspired to call you to a position, the expectation is that you will accept the calling, no matter how impractical or unreasonable it seems to you at the time, because it is God's will for you and it will therefore work out. Whatever the apparent issue or obstacle, if you accept the calling with faith and try hard enough, it will work out.
And I actually do believe that. That principle has certainly proved itself in the past when I've been called to such jobs as Ward Chorister ("You know I'm tone-deaf, right?" were my exact words to the bishopric) and Relief Society President (both times at incredibly busy times in my life).
I have been taught and I feel like I should cheerfully and faithfully accept whatever they ask me to do. But they weren't quite calling me to the position. The bishopric member asked me about my schedule so hesitantly that I got the feeling that they had already discussed the impracticality of this calling for me. He certainly wasn't surprised when I said that I didn't think it would work, that with my commute and my after-school commitments, I just couldn't make it to the church every Tuesday by 7:00 let alone plan the activities for those girls. He said he understood, we hung up, and the guilty thoughts set in.
Could I have done it? Probably. Could I have found a way to make my schedule work? Most likely. Tuesdays are decent nights for me - my school plays are usually on Thursdays or Fridays, speech meets are on Fridays and Saturdays, and most rehearsals wrap up by 4:30. Plus, I won't be going out of the state again for a few months, and I really do love working with teenagers. Being an adviser to the Laurels would be a lot of fun, and it would make me be more social. However, even though I haven't been in YW for 15 years and I've forgotten a lot about how the whole system works, I'm pretty sure that the preparation that would go into this calling would constitute a lot more than one night a week.
I don't think the calling was offered on pure inspiration, that God wants me to be Laurel adviser and not a RS teacher, that it is my destiny. I think that I would have been a good fit there, but it's not the only thing I can do. I think that saying "No" is an important lesson I'm learning, and that I did a good job remembering how crazy things are going to get very shortly despite taking this phone call on the tail end of a blissful two weeks of sleep and reading and family. I think I chose well in steering their decision away from offering me the calling, and I think that I will be better off this semester if I'm not adding those responsibilities to my already wildly-off-balanced life.
And yet, I'm still thinking about it.