Someone asked me recently if this was worth it. My answer:
“Yes. A million times over. Yes!”
But as a pretty recent convert when I accepted the call to serve a mission I felt overwhelmed, often inadequate (a word I’ve learned to hate), and like a fish out of water.
I would have these little moments where I realized I was dressed like a mix of a nun and darth vader in my all-black soggy NW rain attire, my companion is listening to the Lion King soundtrack for the 100th time, and if someone called me “sister” in that (you’re adorable) voice again…there was a good chance they were going to get sliced.
Don’t hate me for saying this but full time missions are not for everyone. It is not a commandment for sisters to serve missions but with that being said this sister will never regret it. So if your considering serving or have already accepted the call congratulations. As I find myself swiftly approaching the last transfer of my mission there is no doubt I would do it all over again a million times over if I could. So here are some things I wish I knew when I took that first step off of an airplane in Portland almost 18 months ago 🙂
1. Extend the same kindness and grace toward YOUR own shortcomings and your COMPANION’S own shortcomings as you would an investigator struggling to overcome the things they fall short of as they repent and change their lives. Why is it that as missionaries we constantly tell people with conviction that the atonement is infinite and available to all yet we so often believe we don’t deserve the same grace we so freely teach others about?
2. Be kind to yourself. There are times you will fail and IT’S OKAY. If you were already perfect you wouldn’t need this mission. It takes faith to keep going every single day. Some days your greatest accomplishment will be waking up at 6:30 putting on your nun clothes and making it out the door that morning. But you know what? You did it. Congrats “sister”.
3. Laugh!!! For the love of anything holy please do not put on the name badge and become a lifeless walking talking breathing mormon robot!! Be authentic to who you are because it is that authenticity that is uniquely yours that will cause you to connect with people that need you. Find JOY in the work and learn to laugh at yourself, the crazy guy that cusses you out for knocking on his door at the dark hours of the night aka (6:00), the people that slam the door in your face for the hundredth time because they don’t like “the witnesses”, the rat that goes flying across the room when you’re quoting the first vision…..Laugh it off.
“Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.”
4. It’s much too late at night and all you can think about are the times you fell short that day. What you should have said in that lesson or when you were afraid to talk to that person, or got frustrated or impatient or were just plain wrong. What happened? You’re supposed to put on the name tag and feel invincible, and perfect, and so holy, right!? Missionaries are seemingly flawless they don’t struggle with anything. You won’t struggle with old temptations. It will be easy. WRONG. You’re still fallible. Let it go. Tomorrow demand of yourself improvement but tonight beg the Lord to change you. It wasn’t until Peter denied christ 3 times and until after he no longer walked with the savior that he started to realize what his calling was. Even the best fall down sometimes. Keep going.
5. “Get really really good at repenting really quickly” – Elder Jorg Klebingat. Enough said.
6. You know enough. Since the beginning of time God has called the weak to bring about miracles. David and goliath. Moses wasn’t a good speaker. Joseph smith wasn’t a good writer. You see the pattern.
“Therefore, if ye have DESIRES to serve God ye are called to the work”
7. DESIRES qualify us for the work NOT knowledge, charisma, or being …..
To read the rest, please click to the original story on Meridian Magazine.