S.M.A.R.T. Visiting Teaching

Sometimes, it can feel like it's all about the stats, cause everyone wants to know if I went Visiting Teaching this month and they bring it up ALL of the time. Friendship shouldn't be about numbers! Right? Maybe, it should be....pretty sure I'd be a better friend if it were, ask my BFF in Florida whom I only text once a year, I don't know if we can even be considered friends, I love her to pieces but how am I showing her that I love her, good thing the Lord has given us a pattern?

We are in the work of salvation! If I were at "work" how would my boss track my progress towards my goal? How could I know if I was getting better at something or getting closer to my goal if it wasn't tracked in some way or another.

If you like setting goals you know or have heard of 'SMART' goals and I think the Lord might implement this too!

  • S = Specific
  • M = Measurable
  • A = Attainable
  • R = Relevant 
  • T = Time Bound

S = Visiting Teaching is very specific! We have a list of specific sisters who we have been assigned to contact at the very least once a month, and to see how they are doing. Wait! Why do I need to be assigned a specific friend? Can't I just pick which friends I want?

So, I've been pondering and thinking about this for years and with more experience and promptings from the Spirit I've learned Visiting Teaching is more like this. Have you ever known 2 friends who you thought would get along really well and who you thought for sure, you need to get those peeps together because they will be such great friends? Or even been a match maker in your fam or with some friends and tried to hook up a friend with another friend, cause you thought they would make such a cute couple? The Lord is the ultimate match maker and friend maker. He knows us! So, I imagine He's 'up there' thinking...

"Oh wow....if Linda and Alicia could be friends, and get passed the weird awkward stage, they will really love to hang out with each other and talk about things, laugh and cry together, they will be able to really bless each other's lives like no one else can."

The Lord knows each of us, He could come down and introduce us one to another and sit and tell us how we can bless the lives of sisters He'd want us to Visit Teach. Instead, He lovingly gives us our assignments through our Relief Society Presidency who might do a quick intro or sometimes not, gives us our agency and trusts our abilities and talents to be able to reach out to those sisters on our very own, to help us grow and expand our capacity to love, to find the reason why the Lord maybe thought "we just had to meet" and to help us become more like Him. He's given us His example of serving those around us, teaching others, sharing with them things that bring us joy, walking with them, talking with them, and blessing others together with other friends.

Now, having specific friends the Lord thinks we could bless doesn't seem so impossible or ridiculous, but feels like an honor that He'd trust us enough to influence one of His other daughters for good and to show her how loved she really is. We all just want to feel loved, right?

M = We have been instructed to return and report how our sisters are doing, so that we can know how to better serve them and bless their lives. If we only visited 2 of our 3 sisters last month we know there's room for improvement! If I wasn't able to visit last month because she was so busy, maybe I should make her a meal to help lighten her load. What if we offer to babysit so she and her hubby could have a date night, or mow her lawn. We're all busy, and just knowing someone is watching out for us makes life a little better and a little easier to endure.

A = Visiting Teaching is attainable because we've all been a friend before, so we know it's possible to have another friend. I love to apply this scripture to all my goals! Because Alma keeps it simple.
"Now ye may suppose that this is foolishness in me; but behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise." Alma 37:6
As we make small yet deliberate efforts to befriend our sisters, they will feel of the Savior's love through us, they will feel valued and feel like they matter and we will have grown in experience and in our capacity to love.

R = Goals should be relevant to the direction you want your life to take. Yes... I want to be like Christ so Visiting Teaching is definitely relevant to helping me become more like Him because Visiting Teaching isn't easy yet I know it helps me to grow and helps me see what I am capable of as I put myself out there.

T = The Lord has given us time, He knows our time is precious so He's given us until the last day of the month! If you're not in contact with someone at least every 30 days you really won't know what's going on in their lives, a lot can happen in that amount of time. Sometimes it comes too soon, but when I'm working on a deadline, my sense of urgency increases and achievement will come that much quicker if I know there's a time frame.

With all of that said, we know it's not about the stats, the stats just helps us to know where we can improve, it's really about becoming more like our Savior and helping someone to know they are loved. No matter how many sisters you and I get to Visit Teach remember this...

“Above all, be a genuine friend to the individuals and families you teach. … A friend makes more than a dutiful visit each month. A friend is more concerned about helping people than getting credit. A friend cares. A friend loves. A friend listens, and a friend reaches out.”  - Ezra Taft Benson, Ensign, May 1987.