Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Waiting Patiently On The Lord

My availability date to begin serving a mission was January 5th, 2015. This made it possible for me to turn in my papers (or my mission application-- so to speak) as early as September 5th, 2014.

So, being the eager, impatient "go-getter" that I am, I began trying to fill out my paperwork as soon as possible.

I was very discouraged as the process began. So many problems began to arise.

The first-- and probably the worst-- problem I encountered was my lack of a desire to serve.
For as long as I could remember, I have been looking forward to the day I would be able to serve my Heavenly Father as a missionary. Yet when it finally came time, I lost all desire. I began to find reasons not to serve. I felt like being a missionary wasn't for me. I felt like I could do a wonderful work for God while staying in school.
To be clear, I believe the choice I made to serve a full-time mission was entirely my choice and I would have been just as successful if I had chosen to stay in Utah and continue my life. I have many cherished friends who have chosen not to serve missions, and their examples showed me that if I did choose to stay, I would still be wonderfully blessed.
However, in the back of my mind, I knew I needed to leave behind my life for a new one and serve God for these next eighteen months.
But my desire to do so was completely gone.

The second problem I encountered was the fact that I never had felt like God had told me "this is exactly what you need to do."
Going on a mission was something that always made sense to me, and it always felt right for me to go.
But during this process, I realized that I had never actually asked God if that is what He wanted from me. I always assumed it was. And I was very discouraged when I prayed and prayed (and prayed) and continued to feel like He hadn't given me an answer.

My third problem was that so many new and wonderful opportunities began to come up.
For example, I was offered an ideal job working as a psychiatric technician at the Utah State Hospital. I was also already working as a nanny with some of the most wonderful children I had ever met. The social work program at Utah Valley University (the school I am attending) is starting a new program in August 2015, and I have so many recommendations now that I can use. By taking this path, I would graduate a year and a half earlier than expected. I was meeting so many people, forming countless wonderful friendships. To sum up, life had never been so fruitful and promising.

And I would have to leave all this behind into the complete unknown.

It is important to realize that while missionary work is beautiful and wonderful, it does not come without a cost. My largest fear of serving a mission is the rejection and ridicule. What many people don't fully realize is how scary it is to serve a mission. As I explained above, my life up to this point has been quite wonderful and secure. Almost everything was going my way. And to serve a mission meant that I would need to give all that up to serve God sun up to sun down, and from time to time, facing ridicule and rejection. I would have to pour out my whole precious testimony to some people who may completely reject it.

Yet with all this fear, I am completely comforted knowing that I am trusting in a God who loves me, who cares for me, and likewise cares for all His children. And by putting myself out there and by giving up my "perfect" life for something terrifying, I know I will come to find that it is the best choice I will make up to this point in my life.

Both the first and the second issues explained above were very much resolved, but not in my timing. I truly believe one of the most crucial things I needed to learn during this experience of doubt and frustration was that Heavenly Father is in control. This is His work. Not mine. Not my companion's.

I had to learnt that waiting patiently on the Lord does not mean sitting around twiddling your thumbs. Waiting patiently means actively doing important things in your life. I had to actively prepare to serve a mission, despite not feeling guided in any particular direction.

One of my most cherished moments in life is the moment I opened my mission call. After months of doubting myself and doubting God, I instantly received an overwhelming feeling of comfort and confirmation from the Lord that Georgia is exactly where I need to be.

God bless,

(future) Sister Abram


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