President Monson said that "The needs of others are present, and each of us can do something to help someone... Unless we lose ourselves in service to others, there is little purpose to our own lives." Ensign, Nov.2009, p. 85 This is so true especially as we look into our own lives, and realize that serving others is what we do, each and every day. I believe that the Lord knew that when we serve others that our capacity to love would increase, and as a direct result of this service and love, we would be happy.
Some of the most miserable, depressed, and unhappy people I know, could turn their lives around if they could focus themselves outward instead of inward. I know it is difficult to do so, especially when there is illness or hurt or pain involved, but the act of serving must release some kind of feel good endorphins in the brain, because happiness is a bi-product of serving others.
A woman who I knew in a past ward, fell into a depression that she could not shake. She was sad all the time, and it got to the point that her thoughts were bleak and dark, and she was absolutely miserable. She went to the doctors and was prescribed antidepressants to help her, but even taking those, she did not get relief from her despair, and the darkness lingered. It wasn't until one day as she was down on her knees petitioning the Lord on her own behalf, that she received the answer of how to release this looming despair and depression. The answer was simple. The words that came into her heart, was "to serve others." At first I am sure that she must have considered that she was the one who needed to be served, but she also knew that the Lord loved her and as in the past, He had answered her prayers. So... she thought long and hard who needed to be served, and prepared herself for service. I won't go into what she actually did, but when she began to focus her thoughts and actions outward, on others, and take her focus from herself and her own problems, her burdens were lifted, and the darkness lifted.
This woman became so happy that she shared with others her experience and she mounted a weekly service project, to help those she had focused her efforts on. By doing so, this service helped others who needed to share the joy in their own lives. This wonderful woman understood that not only when we are in the service of our fellowmen, we are only in the service of our God, but she realized that true happiness only comes when we serve others.
This is exactly the concept for Visiting Teaching. Serving others, whether or not they are in need, but becoming friends so when they are in need they will feel comfortable to call for assistance, because they will already know and have felt the love of a Visiting Teacher.
The lesson tells of some really great ways we can maintain contact with our sisters or other acts of service--to watch over them and strengthen each other. They are as follows:
- Personal Visits
- telephone calls
- notes of encouragement
- sitting with her
- a sincere compliment
- reaching out to her at church
- helping her in times of illness or need
- other acts of service
I loved the last little part of the paragraph I just quoted from the Sept. 2012 lesson, and that was this "and strengthen each other". My message is that we are strengthened as we reach out to strengthen another".
It is my prayer that we will take the opportunity to use Visiting teaching as a tool to do as the Savior taught, to love one another as He has loved us, and we can do this in many ways, but especially through serving as Visiting Teachers.
I have prepared a cute note card, which was one of the suggestions of "giving a note of encouragement", and have posted it on my other blog. Please go to http://visitingteachingsurprise.blogspot.com to print this off and write your note.
Enjoy! Katie G