As I sat down to read the current Visiting Teaching message a few days ago, I couldn’t help but notice my old and tattered shoes sitting by the front door. The threads around the sole were loose, the leather was scuffed across the toe, and a little patch of dirt was stuck to the side of the heel. Believe it, or not, these are my favorite shoes!
I soon recalled the sisters for whom I was preparing the Visiting Teaching message. My mind wandered to thinking about what type of shoe each sister might consider as her favorite. I thought, “Maybe Megan’s favorite is a pair of strappy sandals? Maybe June’s favorite is a pair of running shoes? Do I know them well enough to even know?” I was abruptly reminded, by the spirit, that part of our callings as Home and Visiting Teachers is to do more than show up with a lesson we need to try “walking in their shoes.”
While this sounds great, it can actually be more difficult than it seems. Sometimes the “walk in their shoes” might be easy if we visit someone who is very similar to us spiritually, temporally, and intellectually. However, most of the time, this type of empathy and understanding requires great effort.
I reflected upon my most recent interactions with those I visit. I realized how easy it is to be caught up in seeing things from my own perspective, “walking in my own shoes.” As comfortable as that may be, it is more important to get “in her shoes.” Many times I have poured out my feelings about the gospel and tried so hard to “convert” them into activity when a simple testimony, from her perspective, would have been more powerful!
I even considered my willingness to serve them and “walk in their shoes.” I thought, “Do I let my hectic schedule dictate my ability to fulfill my calling? Do I schedule service only when it is convenient? Should service even be scheduled? Do I allow the spirit to guide me to opportunities to serve?” Selfless understanding and genuine service is one of the best gifts we can give as Visiting Teachers.
How do we Home Teach and Visit Teach so we are “walking in their shoes?”
1) Seek the Holy Spirit often and follow the promptings.
2)Pray for ways to selflessly understand those you serve.
3)Listen carefully to those you visit.
4)Follow Jesus Christ. By following in His footsteps, not only do we become more like Him, but it is also great practice for “getting out of our own shoes.”
Brother and Sisters, we can do great things through our efforts as Home and Visiting Teachers. Take a “walk in their shoes,” the rewards are eternal.
Posted by John in Miscellaneous Articles