June 23, 2014
New assignment for you all! Read the “Becoming Perfect through Christ” talk in the July ensign. It might have changed my life. Especially after the week we’ve had.
Sometimes in missionary work it’s hard to keep going. It seemed like every day this week we had amazing days planned. Lessons one after the other and just an excitement to get out there and do the work. And then 15 minutes after we step out the door……boom. Everything falls through. It’s so hard to not get so frustrated when that happens and because the phrase “exact obedience brings miracles” is pounded into our heads over and over again, we start analyzing everything we have done, looking for everything we could have done wrong. Did we get into bed at 10:31 instead of 10:30? Did we start singing too late in comp study?? Is that why our appointment cancelled today?
Now do not get me wrong. I have a strong testimony of obedience versus exact obedience. I know for a fact that exact obedience brings miracles. But too often I would confuse miracles with perfection. And as I learned this morning, my idea of perfection was entirely wrong. Perfection means complete, whole, finished. Perfection is the journey we go on…the improvements we make, the end product. Perfection is not without mistakes. Perfection is repentance. Perfection is the Atonement and realizing that Christ’s mercy will cover our mistakes. Perfection is starting over every single day. [Have you all seen the “Because of Him” video? If not, repent and go watch it right now. It only takes 3 minutes.] But when we truly understand everything that He did, everything that He gave for us, we wouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. We wouldn’t be so judgmental of others. Forgiveness is so much more powerful than we can imagine. But as missionaries we strive for that mistake-less, unrealistic, unforgiving idea of perfection. Because the adversary knows that it’s impossible and discouraging and if he can discourage us, half the battle is won because our faith goes the door.
So this week we experienced a lot of people’s agency. And it’s hard. Agency is a difficult thing to deal with. We ran through our list of names 3 times and then decided…this is silly and we are wasting miles we can’t afford. So we got out and walked. And we didn’t really have any “miraculous” experiences any of the times we walked. In fact, we barely saw people. But we came home feeling fulfilled for the day and could not understand why. We felt we didn’t do anything. ‘What is the lesson we are supposed to learn from this??’ We discussed it nearly every night. It was confusing and a little troubling. So we told our district leader and he had us read that article. And I understood. Life isn’t perfect and we have to be patient with imperfections, including our own. Maybe today we spent less time trying to decide what to do and more time walking than we did yesterday. Maybe today we talked to one more person than yesterday.
The miracles happen in the improvement. But we still cannot expect perfection to override people’s decisions. I felt that Heavenly Father is proud of us. We are nowhere near perfect. Sometimes we harmonize to Babylonian songs while we walk in a giant loop because there is not one soul in sight. Sometimes we let people pass us that we know we should have talked to. Sometimes we get distracted during planning and start talking about post-mission life. It happens. But we repent and we do better the next day. And Heavenly Father understands we are still a work in progress. And the final product is so much more than a sum of all our mistakes and correct decisions.
So all in all, it’s been an exceptionally imperfect week. Full of miracles.
As is every week.
And here comes another.
So much love and prayers coming your way!