Monday, July 26, 2010

Crisis Averted

After sacrament meeting today, my roommate turned to me and said, "Hey, are you teaching today?"


I said it immediately without thinking. I had not prepared a lesson. I didn't want to teach. I was supposed to teach the Sunday after I get back from Ohio. There was no way I was teaching today. But I had this nagging feeling that I should probably check...just in case.

So, I was scheduled to teach! Talk about a heart stopping, want to die type position. Sacrament meeting was over, I did not have the Ensign talks that I was supposed to be teaching from, and I was in a panic. Also, I looked hideous, and I tend to like to look better on days that I teach...

I raced home as fast as I could (walking) and had exactly one half hour to print out the talks and figure out what I needed to be teaching on. The lucky thing is, I love the Teaching for our Times messages. All the talks given in any general conference are good and they all have pertinent information. Also, the talks (found here and here) came from the the Ensign, so it isn't likely any of the girls studied ahead or anything and everything I read would be something they heard/read awhile ago.

I showed back up in Relief Society with enough time to catch my breath and act totally calm and collected, as if I knew I had been teaching forever and was ready to go. All the while praying that things would go well. Even when the president of the Relief Society came up and confirmed that I was teaching (ha!) I said, "Oh, yeah, of course I totally have this covered..." As if I hadn't asked her just after Sacrament if she had the teaching schedule on her...which she didn't.

I didn't admit to anyone that it was a surprise to me that I didn't know I was supposed to be teaching. I didn't apologize for "taking the majority of my lesson straight from the talks." I just stood in front of the group with my outlined talks, with a few questions written in the margins, and I taught. And I encouraged as many comments as they would give me.

Yes, I did read a little bit more than I would have liked. But the material was good and the girls were all very quiet. I couldn't tell whether or not they were falling asleep or really attentive. But, there were plenty of comments, so I think that hints at the latter - a great relief to me, as my biggest fear is being a boring teacher. The lesson went great considering the amount of preparation, and maybe even just considering. I got befuddled once and that was just because one of the great comments jumped ahead a bit and I couldn't decide whether to skip material to catch up or leave it to come back to later. I also ended perfectly on time, which I worried that I wouldn't have enough material prepared.  I could have gone on longer if necessary, but it wasn't necessary.

In fact, after I ended my lesson perfectly on time (the only time I'm on time...) the Bishop got up to speak. Now, for some reason, the Bishop feels the need to get up and speak to us nearly every time he visits the relief society and it isn't always on the lesson, and it isn't always... I don't know. Sometimes I think he just likes to talk to us. And then AFTER that the president got up and added her comments. I always think this is a little superfluous, and I hate when I get jipped out of singing the closing song. But I ended on time (with 10 minutes to go) and that was what matters. I still would have liked to sing all the verses, though.

It's just a testimony to me that the Lord works with what He has. And sometimes all He has is an ill-prepared misfit of a teacher. My visiting teacher came up to me and thanked me for teaching with the Spirit. That's all I had to go by. I know that anything that touched the girls while I was teaching came strictly through the Holy Ghost, and had little to do with me. Obviously the talks that were used as the lesson material were inspired when they were given.

I can't believe how many of the girls went out of their way to thank me for a lesson I was sure would be awful and boring. One girl asked me if I enjoyed teaching, and when I admitted that I did not, she said, "Why? You're so good." That just baffles me. I've always thought of myself as a terrible teacher. It was the reason I changed my major all those many years ago. When I told her it was because I thought I read too much, she said, "No," I didn't. I asked the right questions, led a good discussion and brought the Spirit into the class.

Really, I think it is the girls in our ward that bring the Spirit into the class. They are typically very reverent, responsive to questions and just have really great, awesome life experiences to add to the class. I have been very blessed to be in this ward and to be a part of this Relief Society.

I usually try really hard to avoid getting to know the girls in my ward. I'm only interested in the boys...they're better looking, more interesting, funnier, etc. But the girls in this ward have really worked their way into my heart and I'm almost sad to be leaving now that I am moving out.

And now I sound like a member of the Relief Society...

So I'll just sign off. But I really did think that today was an amazing example of how the Lord works through other people (Cami reminding me about my lesson) and through our inadequacies and poor preparation in order to create a perfectly acceptable and inspiring lesson for those that needed to hear it. It's kind of cool to see things work out like that, and I'm beginning to think that I don't dislike teaching nearly as much as I thought I did.

Of course, that could just be because the compliments are going to my head.


  1. Isn't that the truth? How the Lord, " through...our inadequacies and poor preparation...". I sometimes think that we have experiences like this to remind us that we can be imperfect and still get the job done. Good job, Shelli!

  2. i dont really know you so much, but i had to say i just read this post. amen :) thanks for the post for a random passerby blogstalker person from ohio ;)


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