We had interviews with the President this week. He told us about how we do things with different motives sometimes. Sometimes we obey out of duty, or fear. But the greatest motivating factor is love. I have thought a lot about that lately. The Christmas season has been very different than I anticipated. I had heard so many stories about how sacred and special Christmases on the mission are supposed to be, and I yearned for an outpouring of our Heavenly Father’s Spirit this time of year. I was confused as to why I didn’t feel any different than at any other time on my mission. After a lot of thought, I came to several conclusions.
1. The Spirit doesn’t have to be stronger at this time of year than it can be at any other.
2. I must not define my Christmas on the mission by any one else’s. That is an unrealistic expectation. Each of Heavenly Father’s children is different, and therefore will have different experiences.
3. I was so consumed with a desire to feel the Spirit’s abundance that I may have forgotten something I’ve known for a long time, and needed to be reminded of….the best way to feel of our Heavenly Father’s love is to GIVE it to others.
I’ve decided to write letters to as many investigators as I can this holiday. Writing is one way I can use the gifts my Father has given me to “gift” others this holiday.
In Sacrament meeting yesterday they were talking about how we rejoice this year because we celebrate the fact that through the Savior’s gift we can overcome our imperfections line upon line, precept upon precept. That is a joyous message! As a perfectionist, I tend to obsess over things that didn’t go just right, but our Heavenly Father knew we wouldn’t be perfect. That’s why he gave us the Savior. Despite what I know, I find myself too often, wanting to do this on my own; to be perfect on my own. I forget sometimes that it isn’t possible without Christ. I remember Peter who protested against the Lord washing His feet. And Christ’s response, and Peter’s impetuous desire to let Christ wash all of Him. Christ wants to bless us with the gift of his Atonement, and like Peter, I must receive that. No matter what I do to fix things on my own, to be perfect on my own I can’t. I need the enabling power of the Atonement to get better at small things I face on the mission…the fear of following a prompting that puts me outside of my comfort zone, the ability to be strong in different circumstances, etc. I’m learning that he doesn’t expect me to do it all on my own, but to be righteous and to continue to try.
Heavenly Father needs willing servants to do His work. I am learning that. I read in the Doctrine and Covenants, somewhere, that he is merciful unto our weaknesses. He tells the early missionaries over and over that he will forgive their sins, but GO! and bear testimony. The time is short and there’s so much work to do. In Doctrine & Covenants 128, it talks about how the precious truths and great questions of the world that the wise ones have sought after through the years are given to us (through the restoration)…the suckling babes. How blessed we are to have truths restored that some of the greatest minds have ever sought after. And yes, as 19 and 21 year olds, we are babes. But he so needs whoever he can get to do this work. He will be merciful to our weaknesses as we continue to try.