I have the most persistent joy of my whole life.
Usually when I feel joy it’s like a stand-on-a-chair-and-shout kind of feeling. It’s BIG and LOUD and it comes and goes. But this is different. This joy is quiet, calm, constant. It’s always in me.
I’m goin on a mission!
I just feel so good about that.
(For a while it was hard. I couldn’t tell what God was saying to me. I had peace but I wasn’t sure where to go with it. I kept moving and wondering if that was right. Now I know.)
I just gotta go!
I’m puttin in my papers on Tuesday!
That’s when I meet with my Stake President.
I went over to my Bishops today; the only thing I had left in my paperwork was to upload a picture. This part was a big deal to me because of what Elder Rasband described in conference. He was talking about President Eyring and how he learned to call missionaries with him:
First, we knelt together in prayer. I remember Elder Eyring using very sincere words, asking the Lord to bless him to know “perfectly” where the missionaries should be assigned. The word “perfectly” said much about the faith that Elder Eyring exhibited that day.
As the process began, a picture of the missionary to be assigned would come up on one of the computer screens. As each picture appeared, to me it was as if the missionary were in the room with us. Elder Eyring would then greet the missionary with his kind and endearing voice: “Good morning, Elder Reier or Sister Yang. How are you today?”
He told me that in his own mind he liked to think of where the missionaries would conclude their mission. This would aid him to know where they were to be assigned. Elder Eyring would then study the comments from the bishops and stake presidents, medical notes, and other issues relating to each missionary.
He then referred to another screen which displayed areas and missions across the world. Finally, as he was prompted by the Spirit, he would assign the missionary to his or her field of labor.
I was a little nervous. I had to take that very picture! So my Bishop did it for me. I stood in front of his big red door.
“1, 2, 3” he said.
We took three or four,
but we both had the same favorite.
I distinctly remember thinking, “I look so young.”
But also, I look ready.
Not like studied-for-the-final ready.
More like standing-at-the-top-of-the-tree, ropeswing-in-hand ready.
“Here it goes!”
And it came to pass that I was constrained by the spirit that I should kill Laban; but I said in my heart: never at any time have I shed the blood of man. And I shrunk and would that I might not slay him (1 Nephi 4:10).
I believe that story was placed in the very beginning of a 531 page book and then told in painfully specific detail in order to focus every reader of that record of the absolutely fundamental obedience and submission to the communicated will of the Lord. If Nephi cannot yield to this terribly painful command, if he cannot bring himself to obey, then it is entirely probable that he can never succeed or survive the tasks that lie just ahead.
Am I nuts for thinking this quote applies to my mission jump? I don’t think so. I’m just glad I don’t have to kill the King. I like this mission idea better anyway.
I am so grateful for the peace I’ve felt throughout this process. God has taken care of me. Sometimes I can’t tell what he’s saying. Sometimes it’s hard to feel excited or light-hearted, but I have never felt despair. In my new apartment with my little private bedroom upstairs, I have never gone to bed feeling lonely. (I haven’t had my own room since I was like… 15. This not-lonely thing is a miracle.) I don’t even cry really. Sometimes I feel unsure. Sometimes I feel very small, but I am never lonely. I am just feeling the sun on my shoulders on my way to the grocery store. I am humming at work while I vacuum and walkin home happy. I am consistently upheld by something quiet, loyal, and strong. Thanks Heavenly Father for taking care of me.
“Thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou hast inquired thou hast received instruction of my Spirit. If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to the place where thou art at this time.” D&C 6:14
One more quote from Elder Holland. This one helps me in times when I want to shrink away from what I feel called to do. This is about pushing past the original epiphany. It’s about continuing to move forward, even when the enlightening moment of choice has passed.
I wish to encourage every one of us regarding the opposition that so often comes after enlightened decisions have been made, after moments of revelation and conviction have given us a peace and an assurance we thought we would never lose. In his letter to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul was trying to encourage new members who had just joined the Church, who undoubtedly had had spiritual experiences and received the pure light of testimony, only to discover that their troubles had not ended but that some of them had just begun.
The reminder is that we cannot sign on for a battle of such eternal significance and everlasting consequence without knowing it will be a fight—a good fight and a winning fight, but a fight nevertheless. Paul says to those who thought a new testimony, a personal conversion, a spiritual baptismal experience would put them beyond trouble—to these he says, “Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions.” Then this tremendous counsel, which is at the heart of my counsel to you:
“Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. …
“… If any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.
“… We are not of them who draw back unto perdition (Hebrews 10).”
In Latter-day Saint talk that is to say, Sure it is tough—before you join the Church, while you are trying to join, and after you have joined. That is the way it has always been, Paul says, but don’t draw back. Don’t panic and retreat. Don’t lose your confidence. Don’t forget how you once felt. Don’t distrust the experience you had. That tenacity is what saved Moses and Joseph Smith when the adversary confronted them, and it is what will save you.”
“I am not of them that draw back.” I have to live in a way that makes this true.