Observe then Serve with Emily Snyder
If ministering sometimes feels like an assignment instead of a powerful way to connect, then perhaps we need to rethink our approach! Instead of thinking of it as an assignment, think of ministering as an invitation to help others and ourselves progress. We can do this by observing then serving, where we take time to revel in the "nothing moments" and sit and learn about one another.
Ministering is an invitation to help others progress.
Emily Snyder shares her thoughts on "observe then serve," which is an idea she got from Linda K. Burton in a 2012 general conference. She wants to know how we can get into people’s homes and lives so that our connections grow deep. Her belief is that we can all be a part of one another’s progression as we learn “how not to minister” and instead become part of each other’s lives.
Linda K. Burton - "First Observe, then Serve"
Top takeaways from this episode:
- Ministering is an invitation to bring the Savior into one another's lives, not an assignment to be checked off a to-do list.
- Look around who is in your daily paths and decide to serve them and fulfill ministering in your everyday life.
- Sometimes it takes humility to receive ministering and people's assumptions may prevent them from doing so.
- Honor the effort of people reaching out, even when their efforts miss the mark.
- "Nothing moments" can be created by spending time with people, and these moments help us know how to better serve.
Small & simple challenge:
Pray to take advantage of the invitation you have been given to minister specifically in your ward and also ask to be more open to receiving the ministering that others are doing to you.
Kathryn Davis 00:00
If ministering sometimes feels like an assignment instead of a powerful way to connect, then perhaps we need to rethink our approach. Hi, and welcome to magnify an LDS Living podcast where we talk about using our influence as followers of Jesus Christ to make a difference in the world. I'm your host, Kathryn Davis, a mom, a seminary teacher, and a Traeger enthusiast who loves God. You might have felt stumped before about how to better fulfill your ministering assignments. You're not alone in this thinking. What if we thought differently about what these callings look like? What if we thought of ministering as a tool to help others and ourselves progress? And instead of thinking of intricate ways to serve, we reveled in the "nothing moments" where we just sit and learn about one another. Emily Snyder calls this the observe then serve approach to ministering, an an idea that originated from Linda Burton in a general conference taught from October 2012, titled first observe then serve. We will link her talk in the show notes. It's a good one. She has been exploring the answers to those very questions. And she wants to know how we can get into people's homes and lives so that our connections grow deep. Her belief is that we can all be a part of one another's progression as we learn how not to minister. Okay. Well, Emily, I'm so excited that you are with us today,
Emily Snyder 01:25
Ditto! So excited.
Kathryn Davis 01:27
It's going to be so fun. And it's become a tradition on our magnify podcast to throw some rapid fire questions at our guests so everybody can get to know them a little bit better. You ready?
Emily Snyder 01:38
I'm ready. Okay.
Kathryn Davis 01:40
So I have heard that you are working on 45 dreams before you turn 45 next summer? Yes. And I want to know, What dream are you currently working on?
Emily Snyder 01:52
Hmm. So good. So I oftentimes it depends on each year, because I've been doing it for almost 10 years now. But I sometimes divide them up into chunks of like different things like financial or relationships or skills or whatever. This year, my biggest one is renovating an apartment. And that was on your list a lot of little goals in that one of like, oh, who knew that I was going to learn, you know, how much it costs to do wallpaper on just so many little things. So that's been a big, big piece. Another one is I love to travel. But largely I like to travel to be with people. Or to be by myself. So I have... I know. I did a writing retreat like to write by myself. And so I have one planned in February to do another one. And then I'm going to London for Christmas because my little sister lives in London right now. So I'm gonna go hang out with my sis. So there you go. There's three, you only ask for one.
Kathryn Davis 02:51
Oh I love that. So you started this list 10 years ago?
Emily Snyder 02:56
About... it was when and when I was 35. Almost 36. And so I started at 36.
Kathryn Davis 03:02
And so you talked about renovating your apartment. So that is my next question for you. Okay, what is a skill that you've learned that you didn't think you could do? Or that you never want to do again?
Unknown Speaker 03:16
Yeah, okay. So let's be clear. I'm not physically doing the renovations. I love fixer upper. I will not be that person. But I'm, I'm orchestrating people to do it. And there's been some interesting tough conversations and things. And I realized that like, to build a home, whether it's a physical home or a emotional or spiritual, the players get to have shared expectations, constant communication, and both needs to choose to be invested in it. Otherwise, it's really hard to create a home whether it's a physical home or a spiritual home, or whatever that thing is in the home sense. So I've learned to find the positives that have some hiccups. And I can imagine, yeah, yeah, it's been great. And I'm opinionated in a lot of things, but like being sure about my opinions, but also compromising with wise people. Good skills... who new? Who new?
Kathryn Davis 04:18
Okay, here's my last question. Okay. You lived in New York City for a while. Yes. The city of the best desserts. Oh, so what is the desert that you can only get in New York that you are missing?
Unknown Speaker 04:33
Good question. But I will well, okay, I will answer your question, but I might add on to it. Levain Cookies. always Levain Cookies. Always. Always, always. Always. And the Magnolia Bakery chocolate banana pudding. Love Oh, so good.
Kathryn Davis 04:52
But I will tell you only have the banana pudding, not the chocolate.
Emily Snyder 04:56
So we should go. Should I put that on my dream list?
Kathryn Davis 04:59
I'm gonna put that on my dream list.
Emily Snyder 05:02
We'll go to New York and get the chocolate Magnolia banana pudding. But I will say Waco, Texas has better desserts. Magnolia in Waco, Texas, has better desserts than New York City.
Kathryn Davis 05:15
Really? What was your favorite dessert there?
Emily Snyder 05:18
Chocolate cake, chocolate on chocolate cake. And pretty much anything that the Magnolia Bakery and Magnolia table created was the best I've ever had in my life.
Kathryn Davis 05:28
So how long did you live in Waco?
Emily Snyder 05:30
About two and a half, three years? Yeah, so good dessert lands. I mean, between New York and Waco, I know my cookies and my cakes. I love that.
Kathryn Davis 05:41
Well, I am excited to have a conversation with you today about ministering. And sometimes when we say that word, I think a lot of us are like, Oh, ministering, because it feels like an assignment. Sometimes ministering can feel forced. And sometimes when we hear that word ministering, we just feel guilty, or we feel a little overwhelmed. But you have this perspective that in order to really minister to others, we need to observe then serve. So what does observe then serve mean to you?
Emily Snyder 06:19
Well, let's just be clear, because if anybody is listening, who I've been their ministering sister, once upon their lives, will probably give me a failing grade. So let's just be clear that like this is not because I have excellent track record. But I think it's largely because I don't that I'm trying to wrestle and think about it. And I don't know that I have answers. I just have a lot of thoughts. Yeah. So I think so much of the concept in general, because like you, the feeling inadequate at times, I grew up in a world where my mom was a former school teacher love it, and she knows how to motivate kiddos. And we had checkboxes, we did things in the mornings, and we checked them off. But there was also a way that my mom wanted them done, there was a right way to actually get our checkbox. And I think sometimes that's the psyche, that as a whole culture, we have looked at in some of the asks that we do as members of like, oh, there's a right way to do something. And I get credit for it if I do it a certain way. Yeah, I think the interesting part about the new concept of ministering... Elder Holland specifically said when he was invited to be the one to talk specifics about it in 2018. And he said, however, "I warn you a new name, new flexibility and fewer reports won't make an ounce of difference in our service unless we see this as an invitation to care for one another in a bold, new, holier way," so referring to President Nelson spoke just a couple times before him. And so the word invitation is a very different concept to me than assignment. And an invitation feels like an opportunity to in many ways observe and serve and to look around, and to see who's in my sphere of influence who's right in front of my face, that I can pay attention to in a different way. And that's very different than an assignment. And so those are two kinds of different concepts, because there's an invitation to minister to each other in our everyday lives of the people that we're interacting with. But then there's also a ward aspect where we're asked to take care of each other. And that sometimes gets trickier because I may be asked or invited, because I'm going to edit the word assignment. Because of that. Maybe as a child of the millennium, I am like, don't, I love agency, I really love agency. And I like to choose. So assignment feels really hard for me sometimes. But if I've been invited to think about somebody in my ward, are there different ways I can think about having their world match up with mine so that they are in my world? Does that make sense? Like, yeah, it almost is an invitation because if sister Susie is in a different season of life, and our everyday lives are not matching up, and I don't naturally see her on a regular basis, that's a level of work to find those channels to actually be a part of her everyday life. Right. But that's, that's so much effort and so much work. And so figuring out that balance of all the other things we're invited to care for, and to think about and to see is really tricky. So, to me, I've kind of separated out this concept of ministering, who's in my everyday life, who can I observe and serve with in my everyday realities, and there's a specific invitation to pay attention to somebody in my ward family. And what are the energies needed to have them be more a part of my daily life so that I can observe more and serve more?
Kathryn Davis 09:56
So a question: when you felt like ministering was an assignment, Did it feel like more of a task?
Unknown Speaker 10:02
Yeah. And did I? Do I fail at that? 100%. Because I feel like I have this idea of what it's supposed to look like. Am I actually going to their house? Am I their best friend? Am I the person they call to in their time of need all the time. I'm not good at that, especially in the changing of life and the different places I've lived in and just like, I might not be with a person for very long and creating that relationship takes time. So how can I be more proactive?
Kathryn Davis 10:28
So looking at it as an invitation to maybe forge and deepen relationships? And as you've wrestled with this, as you've thought, less of a task and more as an invitation, Have you discovered anything more about yourself or about others?
Unknown Speaker 10:45
Yeah, that I'm not I'm not good. Well, that it just that it's a... somebody's having a talk a couple of weeks ago about just about opportunities. And I think sometimes some of the saddest funerals I've been to or the saddest passings are when I have realized, wow, that was a relationship I had an opportunity with that ended up being wasted opportunity. And I mean, back to your, your questions of the 44 goals. Like the reason why that began was because I was in a situation overseas, I had an incredible experience. And I don't know that I took advantage of that opportunity to its fullest. And I realized at the end of it, I never want to waste such an opportunity again. And so I was like, I want to be more deliberate in my life. And so as I've wrestled and continue to wrestle with, how do I make this invitation a higher priority in my life, the word opportunity and invitation have resonated so beautifully, like, am I going to waste this opportunity where the church has created a space for me to connect with this person and this person? Hmm, that's an invitation. Yeah. And that's an opportunity of a relationship, whatever that looks like. And that's been what's on my mind a lot. And still honestly, still wrestling with what that looks like, because I'm currently getting to work with a high schooler and a widowed woman that's retired. And so figuring out where our lives actually match up, where we can spend time together, that's a lot of work with busy schedules, and very different schedules. But I'm more excited when I think about it as an opportunity and an invitation, than I'm gonna check it off my books.
Kathryn Davis 12:30
So how do you do that? Well, like I'm just even thinking of these two people. How are you going about observing than serving?
Unknown Speaker 12:38
What I do keep thinking about Marco Polo as silly as that is. Trying to figure out what are the technology pieces like here we are, case in point, having a conversation in two different cities. And in technology allows that to happen. So I love this is not an ad hashtag, not an ad. But I love Marco Polo, because I feel like some of my sweetest relationships are getting to continue because of technology platforms like Marco Polo, where the conversations can continue happening. I have friends from all over the nation, and all over the world. Based on the different busy schedules, people can be a part of a conversation, and it's just rambling at times. And I think for me, the rambling and the nothingness moments, there's a quote from You've got mail from Kathleen Kelly, do you remember that character? But she and Joe Fox are emailing back and forth. And she makes a comment something along the lines of like all of these nothingness moments have meant more to me than so many somethings. That line has just just really meant a lot as I think about nurturing meaningful relationships. Because it's the nothingness moments, which for me, is really hard to prioritize, because I feel like yeah, I want to get things done. And and remembering that the nothingness moments and multiples of those turns into great somethings. And so the Marco Polos, the text messages can be really beautiful relationships, even though they may not be the Liahona picture, or you know that I've baked the casserole because nobody wants to eat that casserole and the hour long conversation that we've all curated, maybe that's not the right answer, because when I've changed it from assignment to invitation, there's no longer a right way to do it. Sorry, I cry. No, I'm not sorry. But here's the tears.
Kathryn Davis 14:35
Well, it's just clear that those nothing moments have been impactful and meaningful to you. What are other ways where you have noticed or tried to have more of those nothing moments, you've mentioned Marco Polo, but are there other times where those nothing moments have built a connection?
Emily Snyder 14:54
I remember my one of my first moments I got bold in receiving and visiting teaching at the time. I was in college, and I was so overwhelmed, I had so much to do. I had so much on my plate. And I wanted to give my visiting teacher at the time, she was so good and wanting to do her visit and come be with me. And I couldn't like I just was emotionally done. I was like, if I have to sit here and listen to a conversation of us, you know, and doing this sometimes funny dance that happens in those of like, who's in charge? Who's leading the conversation? What are we talking about? Like, sometimes when it's so scheduled, it's tricky, at least it has been for me. And I just got brave, and said, You know what, I would really love your help to create this thing that I'm making for my students. Like that would be the best help for me right now. And I got bold in the saying what actually was helpful for me. And so she came with me to the copy center, and we cut and we then laminated and it was nothingness moments because we weren't having a deep spiritual conversation, but I could say, Okay, I will let you into my life, and I'm needing to accomplish this thing. And I've realized I'm really bad at receiving... really bad. Yeah. And I think that's the other trick that I'm realizing with ministering in the conversation is What does receiving look like? One thought I've thought a lot about is being single, and moving back to Utah, or just generally in a community that loves family, I felt this way in Waco, Texas as well. That is a very family centric community. I don't have kids. And the instant assumption for most people is a question about my kids, figuring out how to receive that ask is not a negative. There's this assumption and figuring out how not to be hurt by that assumption. But to receive what they're actually trying to give. They're trying to get to know me. That's ultimately what they're trying to do. And that's the typical ask in certain communities is about children, right? Yeah, their communities. It's about a career, like whatever it is, but the reality is, they're trying to get to know me. And so how do I receive that with what their intent was, regardless of If that's how I anticipated it coming? I just wonder how often am I receiving when somebody thought they were ministering to me? Or reaching out to me? Did I actually acknowledge that that was happening? And did I actually know how to receive that into my life and take that as oh they're trying to invest in me, that is such a gift instead of it? You know, if that didn't show up the way I wanted it, or I don't need the cookies. Does that make any sense? That's so complicated.
Kathryn Davis 17:25
No, that totally does. Just trying to understand how people are trying to reach out and make connections and honoring the effort. Yes, honoring that effort.
Unknown Speaker 17:52
Yes, yes. And not thinking it has to look a certain way. And I think that's the other tricky part. In this whole transition. It was a very formulaic of like, it was once a month, back in the day, it was show up in their homes, there was a message and a guided conversation that was supposed to happen. And so like we knew exactly like this is a home and visiting teaching conversation. Yeah, they have done it, I know how to receive it. The tricky part with ministering of there are no boxes to check anymore. There's no right way to do it means it's trickier to recognize when I've been ministered to whether by my assigned people or not, are people ministering to me? I dream of a lot of different worlds that we can create. But I wonder if there's ever a world where we don't have assignments, and I dream of that world, I hope we can become a people that don't need assignments. And so I've been like, well, what could be a baby step? And so I've thought about questions, because I'm a nerd. This is what somebody does...
Kathryn Davis 18:48
No, because I've thought about that so much as well.
Unknown Speaker 18:51
Okay, good. We can be nerds together!
Kathryn Davis 18:55
Because why... Obviously, like, how could we move past an assignment or an invitation? I like the word invitation.
Unknown Speaker 19:02
Right? And that feels like a baby step. I really ultimately dream of like that never needing to exist. It feels like training wheels. Yeah. And so what are we ultimately trying to get to? And as a community, what's our true goal? And so here's some of my questions. Do you feel watched over by the members in your ward period? Regardless of who it is? Like, do you feel like there are members in your ward or your neighborhood, even? Do you feel you could turn to someone in your neighborhood or ward in a time of trouble or need? I don't care who it is. I just want to know, do you know... Is there anyone who's somebody that somebody will come to your aid? Do you feel like you have a friend in the ward? And again, I don't care if they're one in the same? Like I just wonder if there's a world that that could happen? And then as far as giving them these ones kicked me. Do you feel that you invest in those around you? Do you feel that people would call you in times of trouble and need? And that one I was like, okay, Emily Snyder you've got some work to do because I don't know I don't I don't know what moments that people would somebody would call me because it's made me really analyze like, how am I showing up?
Kathryn Davis 20:07
And I think that's what the phrase observe then serve teaches me that it's not about me that the focus needs to be outward. And how am I showing up for others?
Unknown Speaker 20:19
Yeah, yeah. And at the same time, how am I receiving how they show it for me, I have a dear friend, she made a comment. The other day, I was just in a tizzy. And she said, I think it's really interesting that we will never truly get to receive the love that we give. And I was like, Okay, tell me more. This was in a Marco Polo. Again, not an ad. But as I like, followed up and was like, tell me more and just the reality of like, I give to people, and I invest in people the way I want somebody to invest in me. And I show up in ways and I have the conversations that I wish people would ask and show up for me. But reality is that may not at all be how my dad gives love, or investment, because he's caring about other things that he wished other people would care about for him. So that's what he's giving. And so how do I translate the givings into my receiving?
Kathryn Davis 21:14
And I'm sometimes not very good at receiving!
Unknown Speaker 21:16
Yeah, I don't know that we as a people are.
Kathryn Davis 21:18
I actually have a neighbor, my really good friend, Brittany, who I think taught me a little bit about this observe then serve. She kind of observed, I think, for a while me and my needs and my busy life. And then she just asked, Hey, do you just want to go get a Diet Coke? I'm like, yes. Because that's what I need. Right? Like, that's what I needed is just get in the car for 10 minutes, grab a Diet Coke, but that took her noticing what I needed. And that took her looking outward, right?
Unknown Speaker 21:57
Yeah, well, and I think figuring out like, I often think about, like, literally the roads I drive, what are my patterns? Those are the people I'm going to see in my everyday life. And how do I get new people into those patterns? Or those roads that I'm driving? I may have to take a different road somewhere if I'm going to accomplish something different. And so how do I get people in there? And her realizing, okay, your road, the things you're doing, how to she wiggle her way into that in soft little ways, I think is so so powerful. I think it's also a concept of figuring out what progress people are trying to make.
Kathryn Davis 22:35
Yeah. So that's my question is, you talked about how ministering is a way to help others in their progression, which is such an important way to look at ministering rather than an assignment. It's an invitation to help others progress. So how do you see ministering helping in that?
Unknown Speaker 22:54
Again, let's just... I can just imagine, my neighbor who or what anybody that I've been currently assigned to is when like, why is she talking? She hasn't she's not good at this in my life. And I'm like, I know. But every once in a while I show up for somebody. Okay? Same here, though. And I'm just grateful for people that are really gracious. Conceptually, it's just really interesting idea of like, what's the point and I remember as a missionary thinking, Oh, this thing that I'm doing as a missionary is ultimately what we're invited to do as visiting and home teachers at the time ministering today of like, we're, we're trying to care for people, we're trying to actually invite them to come unto Christ. And a friend shared with me versus in Acts. And this is where Paul is teaching King Agrippa. And he's recounting his experience when the Savior appeared to him, and it's in Acts 26. And it says, and I said, Who art thou, Lord, when the Lord appeared to him and told him to stop persecuting who art thou Lord and he said, I am Jesus, whom thou persecute us, but arise and stand upon thy feet, for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness. And then it keeps talking and says, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God that they may receive forgiveness of sins, the key pieces in this account of the Savior appearing to Paul, he was told to arise. And the reason why the Savior appear to him was to make Paul a minister and a witness of Jesus Christ. To have others turned from darkness to light, for people to turn from the power of Satan and to God, that they can have a forgiveness of their sins. That was also a powerful thing of like, Oh, that is the point. The point is to have nothingness moments. To be in somebody's life where I can witness of my relationship with Jesus Christ, they can witness their relationship with Jesus Christ. And can we move each other forward? Wherever we're at in our relationship, but also in our life progression, like maybe the conversation for the young woman that I get to that I get to kick it with, I adore her, is that she's trying to figure out college applications. Maybe the conversation in the moment isn't about Jesus Christ. Maybe it's about where she's at in her life and the struggles that she's trying to overcome. Is it College? Is it friends in the moment and friend, anxiety? Is it guys? I mean, whatever those pieces are, what is it that people are on their paths trying to overcome? And that may not be where I am. And I may not be able to help a ton, but like I can cheerlead where they're at on their paths. And I have no idea where their paths are going. But is there a world that I can minister and have the nothingness moments to then get to witness of God's power? Whether it is because of my own experiences truly testifying of Him? Like, who knows what that looks like, in the moments? But that was such a powerful reality, like, oh, there's so many ways to witness.
Kathryn Davis 25:58
Well, I just think that is such an exciting way for me to look at it is that I am being invited to help others progress in their journey to Jesus Christ. He's inviting me to be a part of his work.
Emily Snyder 26:12
Yeah. Yeah. And it's an opportunity. Yes.
Kathryn Davis 26:15
And what can I learn in the process?
Unknown Speaker 26:17
Yeah, even as you're saying that I'm thinking, I mean, that's what I live for every day. So what makes this so tricky sometimes? But I wonder if, for me, I get really tired of scheduling things. I get really, really tired. Whether it's a full time job at a home with kiddos, and you're navigating all those pieces or in a office space with calendars and trying to match it. There's a lot of scheduling that we do. And the scheduling piece sometimes can get cumbersome. Yeah, to do this good thing of like, gosh, I can't tell you how many texts have gone back and forth of like, what about this? What about here? What about and sometimes you just like, oh my gosh, trying to figure out the coordination piece is exhausting, let alone to get to the nothingness conversations to have the meaningful ones like trying to figure out our lives and match them up is so overwhelming. I mean, so for me, I love Marco Polo. But like, what are other ways that we can do that? And like that is a question I want to ask in prayer of what does that look like for these people I have been invited to interact with. Notice how I said, I'm going to not I have.
Kathryn Davis 27:25
Oh, I love that. Because I think we all sometimes feel that we're not the best at ministering. But it reminded me of a quote from Elder Widtsoe. And he said this, "in our preexistent state in the day of the Great Council, we made a certain agreement with the Almighty. The Lord proposed a plan conceived by him. We accepted it. Since the plan is intended for all men, we became parties to the salvation of every person under that plan. We agreed right then and there to be not only saviors for ourselves, but measurable Savior's for the whole human family."
Unknown Speaker 28:04
I love that. And for me, that instantly tells me a little bit different of the ministering to the people in my everyday life that I'm in Walmart, or as I'm driving, or whatever it is, like, am I observing? Am I paying attention to the person at the checkout that is not feeling so great? And can I just be a warm smile and gracious? Like, in those little moments of the people that I don't know, or maybe that I do, because sometimes I wonder, do we forget the ministering in our own homes are those conversations? Which is a different conversation than the watch care in my ward. And that quote, reminds me of that of like, this is not an assignment conversation. Yes, we have a watch care, in our ward, but the ministering to the whole human race, I get to be an example of that I get to showcase to the world, my generosity and my graciousness, and my boundaries, and my whatever, because I know Jesus Christ.
Kathryn Davis 28:57
I think that's why I love it. And I think you're right, like I bristle a little at the term assignment. And I don't want to be an assignment to somebody else. I think that's yeah, my big thing. But when we look at that quote, and that overall picture is that we covenanted and we promised in the pre existence, to lift and to help and to serve. And if I can look at it as more of an invitation to help others progress, then maybe that can help change my view of of ministering that is really about progression. And that as we really get into people's homes and get into their lives and see where we can fit and maybe where a need is, we can serve them. We can start to learn things that might break down assumptions about them and about ourselves, don't you think?
Unknown Speaker 29:54
Yeah, so I got an MBA and it was really funny because a classmate said his girlfriend was trying to figure out master's degrees and wanted to pick my brain. At the end of the conversation, she went back to her boyfriend and said the only answer she really felt strongly about was getting an MBA. And I was like, because that's the choice that I made. Like, of course, that's why I felt... like of course, I feel strongly about that, because that's the decision that was best for my life. Right? And so, if you're gonna ask my opinion, this is how I've come to my opinion. But I think we as a people, but also me very particularly, that is a hard spot to separate and say that if you were going to ask me questions, can I really step away from what I think the right answer is? Because that was a choice I made? And to say, I don't know, what is the best choice for you? And let's, let's analyze that. Because I have my biases, I have the biases of like, this is how I have chosen to live my life. So of course, I think this is the best way to do it. Right? But that may not be your best way. And how can I separate your progress path that is going to be very, very different than my progress path? What does that look like? Yet knowing all of those paths lead to Christ, and they they always are invited to lead to Christ. So how can I help that while at the same time respecting your focus is going to look very different? The MBA may not be the right answer for you. And that's okay.
Kathryn Davis 31:18
Yeah. And I think sometimes our assumptions of others are what prevents us from really ministering.
Emily Snyder 31:26
Ooh, tell. Tell me more about that. I don't disagree.
Kathryn Davis 31:34
Well, I just think I see this every day in my classroom, right? I have quickly learned to try and not have preconceived notions. When students come into my class, especially new students, every semester, when I get 160, new teenagers. I can quickly put them into categories, I totally could. And then I have had so many experiences, where as I've spent more time with them, those categories I put them in are completely wrong. Totally, I have learned more about their hearts, and what they need, and how Christ is working in their lives. When I've been able to move past my assumptions.
Unknown Speaker 32:14
Totally. And yet, it's a human functionality. I worked for a man that would talk about God is the master accountant, because he doesn't need categories. Like we have to categorize things because we're not capable of having hundreds and hundreds of different categories, and letting everybody... and keep track of everything. But God doesn't need that he he can see us all individually, and not have to combine to keep track of things. So I think it's a very natural human reality. But amen, amen. I remember a teacher I used to teach with, he said, Emily, you were the kind of person that in college, I assumed you always had dates, I would never, I never would have asked you out because I assumed you always had dates. And I was like, That's so fun, because I didn't have any. But just that idea of like, so fascinating, because then I didn't get to go out with a guy like the guy I was teaching with because he assumed that you already had a date, I would never get a chance. And I'm like, and I never got to go with you because you never asked like ouch that's hard for all of us.
Kathryn Davis 33:18
I just think right now, Emily, like if somebody were to say to me, Oh, your new ministering assignment is Emily. I'd be like, well, she has it all together. Like, what am I going to do? She she has this great job, everything's great. She doesn't need me. Those would be my assumptions.
Emily Snyder 33:37
And I'd say that's so fun. Like, you're cray cray you are.
Kathryn Davis 33:44
But that's where I think our assumptions prevent us from helping others in their progression.
Unknown Speaker 33:49
I think that's why the concept of receiving has been really interesting to me, is because figuring out what I can give uniquely, I am not going to be the person anybody in my ward will ever call for a casserole. But I do know that they will know I can give really well in other areas. And then consequently, where am I receiving? Am I receiving somebody trying to come into my life? Somebody's asking to go for a diet coke like, am I actually receiving that invitation? Am I receiving the well meaning asks that sometimes I don't want to answer sometimes we do think we have it all put together. And sometimes we have a very specific thing we want to receive from somebody in our lives. And that makes it really, really hard to then actually not only receive their love, but the love of the Lord that He may be at times trying to say I have planted this person to make this comment or this person to minister to you for this specific thing. And if you won't let him or her in, I can't answer that prayer for you. Like that's so hard for our community that we're We're taught all the time to give, give, give, give, give.
Kathryn Davis 35:02
Has there been a time where you have received someone's offering, and it has led you closer to Jesus Christ or giving you an answer at a time where you've needed it?
Unknown Speaker 35:13
Yeah, when I first moved home back to Utah, there was a lot of like, I didn't know I was gonna live, I thought just I was gonna camp out at my parents house for a little bit and then figure something out, a little bit turned into two plus years. So great love it, really love it so much. But two women in my ward were invited to be my ministers. And they were persistent in a busy season. And in a season I was pretty lost. And they were so persistent. And who knows what they ever said, literally, that's where the, the nothingness means so much, because they both ditched me and went on a mission, as single, older women. The ditched me for a year, and when they came back, like I literally was like in hysterics sobs, I was just so excited that these women that had just chosen to keep knocking at my door and wiggling into my independent heart really kept trying.
Kathryn Davis 36:18
I think that's beautiful, right? And, and as I look at ministering that way, that's who I want to be.
Emily Snyder 36:24
But it takes so much work. And I think that was so much effort on their part. And I'm sometimes not good at the effort of getting into people's lives.
Kathryn Davis 36:32
So what can we do to work that effort into our busy schedules? And I like how you said in natural paths, and what can we do to observe then serve?
Unknown Speaker 36:45
Yeah, well, and for me, I feel like I like to take credit where I can. And I think there's distinguishing there's a ministering to the worldwide, and to mankind to the your beautiful quote. And I don't have to feel like a failure administering because I do think I do an okay job in some of these. And can I do a better job at my ward invitation? Yes. And can I see that more as an opportunity, and that is going to take perhaps a different level of work, and creativity that I can pray for specifically, but I think in order to truly move to a higher and holier option, I don't get to feel like a failure. Like that's unacceptable. And so I'm never going to succeed when I feel like a failure. And so recognizing all the places I am ministering really well, all the areas that I do observe and serve. Are they family members? Are they coworkers? Are they people that I am already serving and callings with we as a people are some of the most giving most gracious, beautiful people, because anybody that has chosen to connect their life with Christ and with God, are good people at their core. And so how do we recognize and give ourselves credit for the things that we are doing really, really beautifully well? And yes, it does it take a different level of energy and work on maybe some invitations that are out of our everyday lives. Yeah, but I'm not failing. I'm not failing in the holistic conversation, and the principle of ministering to mankind.
Kathryn Davis 38:17
I love that, right. And if that's one thing that we can hear is we're not failing. And whether we serve in our homes, or at work, or wherever that is, we're still ministering. And the invitation is to look for more ways to minister in our ward and to help others progress and come closer to Jesus Christ to really be his hands.
Unknown Speaker 38:41
And to witness I mean, I that doesn't mean it's a casserole, I can witness without a casserole, I can witness of His love without cookies. And without a monthly treat dropped off. I can witness in lots of different ways. And that doesn't mean those are bad ways that can be a witness too, right.
Kathryn Davis 38:57
Okay, Emily? Yes. And one of our main goals here on magnify is to leave the conversation with a small and simple suggestion. So we've been talking a lot about ministering and the invitation switching that not an assignment but an invitation. What would you say is your small and simple action or idea that we can apply for how not to minister or to observe then serve?
Emily Snyder 39:23
Yeah, I mean, it can be an invitation for anybody, but this is for me, so if anybody wants to join me in it, that's great. But for me, my takeaways are that I want to pray to take advantage of the opportunity of the invitation in my ward, specifically. And I want to be more aware of receiving the ministering that I am given from everybody in my life.
Kathryn Davis 39:50
I love that. I'm going to work on that. Thanks for being here with us today. Emily, you can find Emily's work on Instagram @synderem. And don't forget to join us over on Instagram at magnify community. And of course subscribe and listen to the Magnify podcast wherever you get your shows. Thanks for being here and let's meet up again next