Saturday, November 13, 2010

Things I learned on my mission

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Mostly known to others as " The Mormons." We are the people who go door to door ( generally men!) and invite you to read our free book and join our church.

You see these boys driving bikes, in white shirts and ties and they look about 10 ( OK 19) but young, young men. They share a message that is free for the listening with a challenge that some take. Some don't.

Behind closed doors there is a different kind of life. One that is packed full of learning, growing and life lessons tucked away for future reference.

I was one of those missionaries. I was called to serve in the Indianapolis Indiana mission. I went during a time in my life that those strict rules and regulations and lifestyle was welcomed and fought all at the same time.

For those who don't know or understand the missionary system, well it is very rigid, strict and amazing all at the same time.

I learned so much about myself, how to handle conflict, how to have a companionship, and how to learn to love ( despite angry, hard and not ideal situations.)

Here is a list that has recently been something that is REALLY been important to me.

1- Read my scriptures: Recently I have been given the chance to wake up when the house is quiet and there is no one up and read 15 minutes before my day start. I haven't done this in YEARS. I will sadly admit that my scripture reading has really really slacked and I am embarrassed to say how long it has been since reading the Book of Mormon all the way through.

2- Service: When I found myself not liking MYSELF or not liking my Companion, I was taught to give service. Make her bed, leave a note in her scriptures, make her breakfast. Sometimes it was just a fake it til you make it type situation.

Recently I have tried that out but it isn't working for me. I feel like I am OK with myself but find that I have hard feelings towards others. So I thought, lets give service. That service has just made others resentful, instead of how I was always taught it would. So I do have some issues that I need to work out on this one.

How do you give service to someone who doesn't want you to? Even if you feel it is the RIGHT thing for YOU to do for your own salvation or peace?

3- How to love: The key to being able to serve others was learning to love them. Some people were easy to love. Some were not. Area's were able to really make me feel at home and others were not.

In real life it is harder to just be instantly filled with love for other people. That is something I am working on. It is even harder when you do love another and the love isn't reciprocated. Then it makes #2 not work.

4- Pray always: When I was a missionary we prayed all the time. We prayed for things that I would have NEVER thought to pray for.

In real life, especially lately in our life, we have begged and pleaded and are really hoping that the prayers are more meaningful. It helps us to feel like we are doing all we can.

As I try to put 1-4 together I really hope the things that I have been taught help make things a little better. That I can try a little harder and serve a little more.

What things do you work on? What makes you feel more spiritual? What have you looked at changing in your life?


carly said...

I am working on being a better mom-love is not a problem, but being more patient with Wesley - and getting him more help for his ADHD and behavior issues at school.

Cynthia said...

"How do you give service to someone who doesn't want you to? Even if you feel it is the RIGHT thing for YOU to do for your own salvation or peace?"

You answered your own question- if the goal of your service is your own peace/salvation then it isn't really service because it's not given to the other person without strings or expectations. It might be serving the other person but it's still about ourselves.

In that situation, sometimes space seems to work best. Or an apology THEN space, depending on the situation and if an apology is warranted. It's amazing how much good can be done when we own our shortcomings, even if the other person doesn't. Humiliating too. I've had to do that myself, more frequently than I would like!