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Monday, October 5, 2015

Women Who Are Organized

President Russell M. Nelson gave a beautiful talk about women in this last General Conference.  I was jotting down notes like crazy.  He quoted the following from President Boyd K. Packer:

"We need women who will applaud decency and quality in everything from the fashion of clothing to crucial social issues.
We need women who are organized and women who can organize. We need women with executive ability who can plan and direct and administer; women who can teach, women who can speak out.
There is a great need for women who can receive inspiration to guide them personally in their teaching and in their leadership responsibilities.
We need women with the gift of discernment who can view the trends in the world and detect those that, however popular, are shallow or dangerous.
We need women who can discern those positions that may not be popular at all, but are right."
 - Boyd K. Packer

As I copied this wonderful quote into my journal, I admit there was one tiny part that was a little hard to swallow. "We need women who are organized and women who can organize." I choked on it as I laughed unapprovingly at myself, "Oh man, I am seriously lacking in that department."  It seems whenever or wherever I read that word "order" it stings me.  I know it's not my strong point.  When I think of order I think of filing cabinets, spreadsheets, ironed sheets, alphabetical everything, color coordinated closets, a perfectly spotless house, blocked-out days, and  boxed-in rigidity.  I don't know where I acquired this view of order? Maybe it's because growing up my dad seemed to be a little obsessive about it, to the point that it hurt relationships and it involved physical or verbal abuse. I think people can go too far with any principle. On one occasion, I heard some women talking about going on a family vacation.  One of them spoke to the other about her packing preparations, about masking taping a grid on her floor for each day of the week, color coordinating each of her children's outfits into their own labeled Ziploc bags, and laying them upon the grid.  The other woman responded with glee, "That sounds absolutely fantastic!"  Under my breath I whispered to myself, "That sounds like hell."

I know that "order" and OCD aren't the same thing.  I've got to find a way to untie them in my mind.  I know that President Packer wasn't saying the Church needs women who are military pressed accomplishing each day with white-gloved precision.  There is beautiful order in the way the church is run.   It takes a certain amount of order to put together reports or plan meaningful lessons. Order is needed for proper records and constructive meetings. In my family,  I appreciate the order it takes to prepare a meal but I've never been one who plans them weeks in advance. (Well, I tried it once but it didn't last long.) I like room to be able to change my mind, to simplify or fit in what's practical at the moment. I like to prepare things according to the flow of the day. Granted, this means I make more trips to the grocery store than needed which is probably not very efficient.  I guess I'm just different that way... I actually find great peace in having the freedom to be spontaneous.  

Several years ago, my husband and I took Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.  My husband learned that he was the "nerd" and I was the "free-spirit" (I actually see myself as a free-spirited nerd.)  Anyway, the thought of sitting down regularly each month to go over his spread-sheets and budget was not very thrilling to me and I admit I resisted at first.  But the natural way my husband structures and orders things was very beneficial for us and I found that it wasn't so bad.  I discovered I still have freedom within these bounds and probably more than I did before we had a budget.  

I guess it's good that we all have different strengths and that maybe this call President Packer made to women is meant to be a collaborative effort, that it's understood some of us will be weaker in certain areas than others. But as we combine our individual talents and abilities we are able to cover the whole playing field.  

Still, with all the flying I do by the seat of my pants, I'm sure I make some people dizzy.  My husband is 180 degrees opposite, he thrives on having things predictable, no wrenches thrown in, just smooth clock-working machinery. He's very good at order and I've learned to appreciate the anchor it has been to me.  With a little more order in my life I might just complete one or two of the hundreds of tasks I've begun.  I'm sure I wouldn't lose my keys, or my purse, or my train of thought so often and I know I'd be more effective with my time.  


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