Friday, June 19, 2009

There's always someone

For those of you who read this and don't know, recently (ok, maybe more like a few months ago) I made the decision to go on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. This decision was never part of that standard five year plan that each of us have when we graduate from high school. You know the one, the plan you write to all those scholarship foundations and colleges. I only jokingly entertained the idea of a mission. Well imagine my shock to recieve the impression I should go. Sharing the gospel is not my strong suit. In high school I actually avoided the idea because I didn't want friends to think I was weird or pushing my religion onto them. I was always afraid of talking about my church. I tried sharing it when I was younger, I even helped my best friend join the church. We ended up falling out because of her lying and drug habits, and then I became down right frightened to share the gospel. Do you know what it's like to share such a big piece of yourself only to have it denied by those you loved, to have it used against you? It hurt so much, which is why I think I stopped sharing that part of me with others.

So I'm supposed to be a missionary? Almost laughable. A week or two ago I was feeling really down. And I mean really down. I felt like I was doing everything wrong. I was a screw up at work, I messed up or broke everything I used. I finally got my driver's permit (finally, right?) and was able to drive, only to have that privelege taken away by my mother because my driving scares the crap out of her. I can't drive her van; it's huge and I have horrible depth perception. She always yells at me and freaks out saying "Maybe you shouldn't drive! You don't know what you're doing!" Basically blah blah blah, you suck Emily. I got put on academic probation because I misunderstood the syllabus and accidentally did only half the work because I thought that was all that was required. I still can't make a friend in my single's branch. That makes me feel like a failure because these people seem to be alright people, I couldn't help but think it was me that was the problem, not them. I cried a couple of nights because I felt like I couldn't do anything right, that I was a complete failure that couldn't accomplish anything. I wasn't really mad at anyone, except for me (and my mother and driving, but that's for another time... with a psych). I felt so hopeless.

My thoughts drove me to a place that said "Emily, if you can't do these small things, what makes you think you can be a missionary? You can't make a friend in that branch still, after all these years? Emily, you won't be a successful missionary." Those thoughts danced around my head all the time, pulling and dragging me down to a place to lonely and miserable. The responsability of being a missionary I take pretty seriously. I don't want to waste the Lord's time or the people's time if I'm not going to be a decent missionary. About a week ago I couldn't take it anymore. I was on my knees, praying for something, anything to help me. I know I needed to go on a mission, I felt that confirmed to me by the Spirit. But I didn't know if I was worthy enough to go. If I was even a worthy human being. I felt so alone, so desperate and scared. Scared that somehow the Lord had forsaken me because I was a failure. So many stewardships I let slip down the drain. I am the servant that hid his talent under the ground. I was so afraid the Lord would say No, I won't help you. After I prayed the song Where Can I Turn for Peace was stuck in my head. I opened up my hymn book to page 129 and read the words.

Where can I turn for peace? Where is my solace
When other sources cease to make me whole?
When with a wounded heart, anger or malice,
I draw myself apart, searching my soul?

Where when my aching grows, where when I languish,
Where in my need to know, where can I turn?
Where is the quiet hand, to calm my anguish?
Who, who can understand? He, only One.

He answers privately, reaches my reaching,
In my Gethsemane, Savior and friend.
Gentle the peace he finds for my beseeching.
Constant he is and kind, love without end.

Along with that song was the scripture from Hebrews 4:14-16-
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

What a comfort it was to know that Christ knew how I felt, that he is mindful of me in my times of distress and self-doubt! He did not, would not forsake me. He loves me. Loves me enough to take upon himself my sins and bear with me my infirmities. And that he was tempted just like I am, yet he was able to overcome and choose the right, remembering who he is. This helped to give me confidence. If I trust in the Lord he will help me in all that I do. If I have faith and self confidence, remembering who I am, I can overcome these challenges and rise the better. I won't suck at work. I'll become a better driver. I will be able to make a friend.

Okay, well knowing the people at the single's branch, maybe not so much a friend, but I won't let it get me down.

It's actually pretty neat to see how this boost in self confidence and confidence in the Lord has blessed me. Today at the grocery store I work at there was a guy that came in, and older guy that I've seen before, buying cigarettes and beer. He asked me if I was new in town and explained to him my situation (I've been away at college while my family has lived here, so for all intents and purposes, I am new in town). He asked me about college and if I'm on summer break, and then I told him I was actually taking a break from school to prepare for a mission. He was surprised as to my age (I get that a lot) and that I would take off school to do that. He asked some questions about funding for a mission and if I'd thought about finishing school and then going on a mission. I said to him "I'd thought about it, it seems like a good idea, but I feel like I need to take a break to do this. I feel like I'm doing the right thing, doing it this way." He said that as long as it feels right, then it's okay. This might seem like a redundant conversation, but I hope I didn't offend him, but rather get him thinking, or at least hold a little bit more respect for me or the Church. So what this blog post is really about, is that we should always be confident in the Lord, for when we are, we are confident in ourselves. It's like some kind of trickle down effect. Don't be shy to share what is important to you. Don't let life suffocate you and beat you down. Soar to new heights, the Lord will help you. Take heart, the Lord is mindful of your needs and will never ever forget you. Okay, so maybe I won't be the best driver on the block, and I will always be asking questions at work becuase I have a horrible memory for how things work. But the difference is, I won't beat myself up because I didn't do it exactly right. The Lord just wants us to try our best, and that is exactly what I plan on doing.