Before I begin, I just want to quickly say: Happy 24th Birthday to the best brother anyone could ever ask for! You are dearly missed, but I know that it’s really only for a short time and I know that you’re doing greater work on the other side. I love you!!!
Alright, on to my thoughts for today. This post is more aimed towards returned missionaries, or even those preparing to serve. But I believe it can benefit anyone who is wondering what to do with their lives, even if you haven’t served a mission, even if you’re not a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You just have to know what to look for in between all this talk about serving a mission and returning home. 🙂
I probably should have written this post first, but I’m actually glad I’ve waited about two months. Before returning home, I was worried about a few things, and I think that most missionaries probably have this on their minds, which is a huge reason they don’t want to leave: What happens when I go home? How can I stay on this spiritual high? Is it even possible? Will I just go back to who I was before, though I really don’t want to? What happens now?
One of my wonderful companions wrote to me this week and asked about this. She said: “One thing I do have a question about. I feel like while I have been on my mission I all of a sudden see all of these miracles. I see the Lord in my life and in the lives of others. What happens when I get back? Do I still see the Lord in my life like I do now? I mean I know I can choose to change and not go back to the person I was, but I guess what I’m asking is how different is it being finished with your mission?”
You know, Sister, those questions are fantastic. And I’m so glad you asked them! Because now, I get to tell you what happens! If you are allowing your mission to change you completely all the way from start to finish, then yes. You still see the Lord in your life like you do now. I never saw things the way I do now before I served a mission. I mean, yeah, I saw a few blessings here and there, and occasionally I thought about how things in my life related to my beliefs or why things were happening. but not anything like I see now. You may not be serving the Lord as a full-time set apart missionary when you return home, but you now have the mind-set of one of the Lord’s servants, one of His disciples. You are still set apart from the world, in a way, because you now can see more clearly the way God sees. You are still set apart from the world in a way because now, you know how to really serve others, to see their needs, to bring them closer to God. The only difference between being on a mission and being in life is that a mission is where all you ever do is serve the Lord 24/7 – you’re ALWAYS thinking of others. Life is where you have to worry a bit more about yourself as well as others simply because you have to live – you need to work, get an education, find a spouse, have children, etc…
Before a mission, you’re trying to figure out who you are – you’re so wrapped up in yourself as a child and a teenager because you’re still getting used to having a body, being away from Heavenly Father. You have to explore the natural man and figure out how to control it. Your mission is when you learn to re-connect with yourself spiritually, who you were before this life when you lived with Father. Did I ever mention how I’ve felt my mission was more of an MTC (missionary training center – a place where missionaries go for a few weeks before going out into the world) for life than anything else? I see that now more than ever. Because now, I get to see that my mission truly taught me how to have that eternal perspective and love. It taught me how to forget myself and care for the welfare (spiritually and physically) of others. If you learn to start thinking the way your Father in Heaven and Savior do, then your mission is most definitely not the only time in your life that you recognize great blessings and are close to the Lord. 🙂 Your mission is only to train you how to BE – it’s simply just the beginning.
Mosiah 3:19 says: “For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.” After a mission, you now know yourself as a spiritual being as well as a physical being, a natural man. So now, your job is to figure out how to balance the two – worrying about yourself enough to keep yourself strong physically and spiritually, but still serving others more than yourself.
It’s quite the fascinating journey, but I love it so much! I’m SO happy to have this perspective, and that I haven’t lost it and am still thinking this way, even two months after coming home. Honestly, I think this is how it will be when we return HOME, when we finish our life mission and return to Father. Right now, we don’t know how we can continue to progress so much as we have while being here. But I think that we’ll be amazed at how much we keep learning once we’ve reached the goal we have now. It will be a wonderful time, but for now, we’ve just got to enjoy the journey and live in the now. Don’t hope or worry too much about the future. It’s all in God’s hands, but it also can sometimes depend on how you choose to live now, what you choose to let affect your life. Let it be awesome, in the full meaning of that word: Awe-some. Remember the Lord, always, and you will be happy. Once you’ve learned to Look Through Heaven’s Eyes, then you will be amazed at how much simpler, how much happier, how much MORE life is. You don’t have to serve a mission to learn all these things. You just have to be searching for truth, peace and joy. And that’s what the Gospel of Jesus Christ does for us. It brings us that truth, peace and joy! It teaches us how to be like God in every way.
I know this not because I’ve served a mission, but because I have faith and hope in my Savior Jesus Christ. I know Him and my Father, and I look forward to strengthening that knowledge and testimony every day for the rest of my life. Life is awesome. The Lord is awesome. I love it and I love Him. This knowledge has blessed me. It has allowed me to look forward with excitement and joy to the future, to trials and hardships, to happy times, to LIFE. I know that it can do the same for you, if you simply start with an open heart and a contrite, willing spirit.