I Love Helping. Helping’s My Favorite!

September 7, 2012 · 11 comments

in Uncategorized

In case you’re new to this blog, I’m pretty religious. But I’m not goofy about it (I hope!) It’s a big part of my life so I talk about it here on my blog.  And of course if it weirds you out you can unsubscribe. Or just come back when I write another snotty post (they’re never far away!). Whether you’re religious or not I’m guessing that you think that helping people is a good thing and an important thing. Sadly it’s hard to find many opportunities to help people, unless you’re a mom and volunteer at school or something like that. In our church parlance we use the term “to serve”. We really are not all waitresses as that phrase may imply.  But lucky for you if you are Mormon! So many opportunities to help! We are great at taking care of each other. And hopefully we are great at taking care of our neighbors too. I wrote this yesterday for Segullah but thought I’d include it here as well.  Here you go:

It’s been five whole months since I was called as Relief Society President in my ward. Apart from the knowledge that there are way more depressed sisters than I had ever suspected, the thing that has most surprised me is how little time for service people have.

When you are the RS Pres the buck stops here. If somebody needs help and nobody steps up to the plate, guess who does it? The Relief Society President! There isn’t an army of magic angels who fill in because the sisters in the ward have to work, or take kids to gymnastics or go running or whatever. I’m not trying to guilt-trip you or make you feel bad or that you have crappy priorities. But we are a church that is heavily into service; if we schedule ourselves with no free time, there will be no time to serve.

We’ve all heard a jillion talks about how we are the Lord’s hands and “the errand of angels is given to women” and all that jazz. I’m assuming you know that. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming you like to serve. I mean, theoretically, who doesn’t like to serve? When you can help someone who really needs help there is such a happiness and joy that you don’t really get many other ways. It’s like spiritual endorphins.

But when I see your Facebook updates every single day about how great your two-hour run was but the last three times I called to see if you could help a new sister move in, or cook a meal for somebody or give a family a ride to church, I’m going to raise my eyebrow and think, “what the heck?”.

I love to serve. Love it, love it, love it. I love that I can make somebody’s burden lighter. I love that when I help someone I am making the world a better place. There is a lot of really dreadful stuff in this world. But service undoes some of that.  Helping those who need it is the grass roots way to make the Earth a splendid place.

And let’s not forget blessings! Service gives you blessings. I need lots of blessings. Maybe you don’t, though. Maybe you need yoga more than you need blessings.  (OK, now I’m being a little mean. Sorry.)  I just want you to know that service is an honor. It is a blessing to you and to those you love. It needs to be a priority in your life. In my life. In everyone’s lives.

There is nothing wrong with soccer or pilates or getting your hair colored. Please remember this as you schedule yourself or your children for activities: when you pack your day with a million busy things you are denying others—and yourself–one of the most sacred duties that we have. Which is to serve others as we would serve the Lord.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Heather September 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Love the points you make. It really is so rewarding to help others. I wish I did it more often. I SHOULD do it more often. And being “busy” is no excuse!

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Cheri September 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I like this idea that as I schedule things I should be leaving open spots – specifically to serve others. I feel that I am fairly available to help others, but that a lot of it is done while my children are gone. Nothing gets all my kids on the same page and working in harmony as the phrase “Hey kids, let’s think of something we could do to help somebody/so and so!”

One of my favorite benefits of serving is that I forget my problems and generally have a renewed energy for life. So yes, thanks for the reminder. I love serving too!

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Jamie September 7, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Amen! A good message all Christians need to remember. Jesus said, “love your neighbor as yourself.” And he meant it!

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suburbancorrespondent September 7, 2012 at 7:18 pm

The key here is for people to schedule service, just as they schedule everything else. You don’t wait until you have some “free time” – there never is any. It’s not easy, you just have to do it.

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Arianne September 7, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Wow, a very upfront but so very TRUE statement about service! It really touched me. Because you’re right: if we don’t leave time specifically for service, there won’t be any. Helping other people is rarely convenient. It requires sacrifice. But through that sacrifice we grow closer to God. Surely that is worth giving up a couple of hours a week. I might even make it a point to call the Relief Society President and say, “I have 3 hours open on Tuesday. What can I do?”

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Tiffster September 8, 2012 at 10:12 am

So true. I actually feel like I do make time to serve, at the expense of my house being immaculate and my body in tip top shape. Or so I tell myself. I think sometimes too, we forget that serving our family, is still service. But additionally, we can teach our children how to serve by not thinking we need time exclusive of them to do so. It’s not any more work to make a larger quantity of dinner, watch a couple extra kids (they usually entertain mine in the meanwhile), or call someone to chat on our way to carpool. We spend too much time worrying about ourselves as it is. This “me time” thing has gotten out of hand.

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whitneyingram September 8, 2012 at 3:32 pm

I will brag. I just went and check on my two neighbors (non-members at that!!! Points for me.) that had recent hospital visits. So boom! I served. Sort of. Checking in counts, right?

I too love to serve. I especially love making meals for people. Food is love. And nothing is better than good food that you didn’t make. Without Relief Society, where would our opportunities be to serve? That is one of my most favorite parts about RS.

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Julia September 9, 2012 at 10:22 am

You have put in to eloquent words exactly how I feel. I hate politics and am not a Democrat or Republican but get so frustrated at election time. People will always have s.e.x. So obviously we have to do more than teach abstinence. When there is so much wrong with our country, how do the politicians micro focus on abortion?

I will never understand how someone can send an 18 year old in to battle but refuse a safe environment for a woman to have an abortion, if that’s her choice. Sure, give her some counseling…make sure it’s the right decision for her…but let her have it safely. Now at 10? Perhaps, she needs her tubes tied. What happened to teaching about birth control?

You’re such a great writer. Perhaps you need to run for office and fix this place. :)

xoxo, Julia

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Julia September 9, 2012 at 10:23 am

And whoops! I commented on the wrong blog post! Guess I was still thinking about the last one when I read this one. Obviously, you struck a nerve.

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Ali September 11, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Love it! Where’s your ‘pin it’ button?

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Andrea Fowles September 22, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Jennie- I have been thinking about this post every day since you wrote it. I just love it. It is a very true reminder to me that I need to LOOK for opportunities to serve, not just wait to be asked to do something. To look around and see others’ unspoken needs. They are there for sure!! And it does make me very happy to feel like I am helping someone feel lighter. Thanks for the terrific reminder!

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