Monday, February 17, 2014


Back in November, I was called to be the Mia Maid adviser in the Young Women program.  And a couple months later I was put in as a counselor in the YW Presidency (January, to be precise.  Right after I had made all these goals for the new year.  Like blogging.  There went all my time!).  There is a word that has been floating through my mind since November: inadequate.

I have never felt inadequate for a calling before.  I think I'm pretty lucky to have made it this far, actually.  I have spent a number of years in music and Relief Society callings.  I did a couple stints in nursery back in Michigan, which were challenging, but I certainly didn't feel inadequate.  Working with the youth is a whole new ball game, and I don't have a clue how to play.

A little fact about me: I'm an introvert.  I like to think that I've gotten over being "shy," but I am intimidated by large groups of people.  I'd rather stay home and read a book than go to a party.  I enjoy being social, but with like 3 people instead of 20.  This means that I find it really difficult to get to know these girls.  There isn't much time for one-on-one interaction, and if there were, who would rather spend time with their leader than their peers?  Maybe that's just me, feeling "old and busted," but maybe not.  And if you don't know the girls very well, you can't help them.  It's hard to teach lessons on Sunday, to know what their struggles are, to know about their triumphs.  It's just hard. 

Let's add in the fact that I haven't been involved in the Young Women's Program in, oh, 14 years.  Since I was a young woman myself. Everything has changed.  Personal Progress is completely different, and I have no idea how it works.  There is the new curriculum.  There are activities and temple trips and camp (!) and all sorts of things I don't have a clue about.  I have no idea what is going on - and I'm supposed to be in charge! 

And finally: I feel a bit like the loser leader.  I'm not into fashion, or decorating, or hair and makeup.  I'm a frumpy lady, who likes to read.  I feel pretty different from the other leaders.  And then I wonder why on earth I'm here, and feel like I have nothing to offer.

 I keep telling myself to give it time.  In a couple of months I'll know the girls better, and then a lot of things will fall into place.  It feels a lot like going back to high school, and I wasn't exactly confident in high school.  I need to remember that I'm not a teenager again, I'm a grown up.  A confident, happy grown-up, with loads of life experience under my belt, a family I adore, and a solid testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Because that's what it's all about - it's all about sharing my testimony with these girls to help strengthen theirs.  And the more I think about that, the more I think, "I can do this."


Lauren said...

Just my two cents but i would guess that at least one of those girls would rather stay home reading a book than go to a yw activity. That girl would love to find out a smart woman like you with a cute husband and girls felt, and feels awkward. I just know that you were an awesome roommate and i always felt like i missed out not really knowing your awesomeness for too long.

Laura said...

Ditto to what Lauren said. I felt awkward as a YW and was never into fashion and the "popular" things. I loved to be home, hated activities, and would have rather spent my time doing homework. HOMEWORK! That was better than being at YW. You are there for a reason and once you find it, it will all make sense. Though getting through the muck of it will definitely be hard. I hate that feeling of inadequacy and feeling out of place. Be strong and hang in there!

Gretchen said...

Okay, my friend, a few things:

1) you are AWESOME! NOT a loser at ALL and those girls are SO blessed to have you!!! You are seriously a cool chick with SO many fun things to talk about and and share and I just KNOW that the girls are going to love you.

2) During my time with the YW here, there was something that I discovered- I learned just as much from them as they learned from me (probably more, actually). They are EAGER to know you, EXCITED to be in the program, and sort of in AWE of their leaders. They'll draw YOU out, I promise. Plus, with the new Come Follow Me program, THEY do most of the talking so you'll get to know them pretty quickly that way!

3) I've learned something really valuable about callings: they come because the Lord wants to grow US and also because we are NEEDED in the place that we're called to be. If the girls had needed another leader who was super extroverted and into fashion and whatever else you said wasn't your bag, then He would have called someone like that. But they don't, so He didn't. He and THEY need YOU. YOU, Shannon Blockburger, with all of your talents and gifts and interests and abilities. He knows that YOU have something to offer those girls and that they need to learn specifically FROM you. You're ALREADY winning because you're where you need to be.

You're amazing! I love you and miss you and think you'll be wonderful!

Judy said...


You are so blessed to be working with the youth. YW was my favorite calling of all time - not the easiest, but definitely my favorite. I felt so very inadequate ALL of the time I was serving, but now I have daughters that I love and fond memories of the time that I was with them (and the young men too).

Your last paragraph sums up the most important trait that you need - a testimony of Jesus Christ. I remember how I always loved Gabrielle Gale's lessons because she always bore a strong testimony of Christ. Everything else is fluff.

I know that the girls are blessed to have you in your life because you are close to the spirit. Pray for each girl by name, and you will know what to say and do to make a connection. You are one of the kindest people that I know, and your kindness will go a long way.

Take care and have faith in yourself.

Sabrina said...

You are more than adequate, quite amazing actually. Those girls are lucky to have you!

Unknown said...

Oh, man. Just substitute "Beehive" for "Mia Maid" and you've explained my last 14 months exactly. They released me after the baby was born, and it was this HUGE RELIEF as well as this great sense of having failed at something. (they dumped me!)

I'm a book-reading introvert like you, though I do have the Blockburger talent for yammering on. The other leaders said they liked my lessons because I calls 'em like I sees 'em, but I don't know how much I had in common with the girls. At least the beehives aren't into boys and makeup like the Mia Maids. Though I did learn all about One Direction.

Anyway, I think you will be just fine! You're easy to talk to. The thing that helped me most was remembering my experiences in YW (I largely HATED it) and trying not to do the things I hated, because there had to be at least one girl in there that agreed with me, right?

Anyway, now I "just" play piano for choir and try to look as frazzled as possible when people speculate about who will be the new primary chorister in a few months.

Erica said...

Shannon - -

You are a beautiful, smart, funny woman. You are you and all of those girls have much to learn from the wonderful friend, mother, and wife you are. You just need to share with them your experiences, your thoughts, your hobbies and you will be bound to connect with each of them in some way. You are awesome and have so much to offer. You no doubt are already a great leader and hopefully will feel it yourself sometime soon :)

Soper Family said...

So, I'm a little behind reading this, but I felt like I should comment anyway. I had all sorts of yw leaders when I was growing up: old, young, married, single, kids, no kids, working, stay-at-home, ... I learned something different from each one. They had special experiences and talents to share that were unique to them. I loved them all! You are absolutely perfect for this calling. I can't wait to read of your fun experiences teaching, leading, and befriending these young women. They are in for a treat! You will strengthen lives. You will help strengthen testimonies. You will help these young women improve their talents. A big responsibility? Yes, but so worth it! -Ashley