I wonder how many missionaries are reporting home on this subject. I guess it’s kind of old news now. But Monday night we got a shocker.
So music is like my crutch. Always has been. Before the mission I was always listening to music. I woke up to music, went to sleep to music, studied to music, worked out to music, blasted music in the car, spent my free time looking up more music……you get the picture. I had a soundtrack to my life. Coming on the mission I knew that my music would be a challenge to give up. Luckily, I’ve got an uncle with loads of mission-worthy tunes. He hooked me up.
The MTC was hard. 6 weeks music -free [besides devotionals] and I had just come from Babylon. Better believe I kept on humming those worldly songs. It was a challenge to not let my mind go there…I didn’t have anything to replace them and well. Hymns weren’t cutting it.
But then I made it out to the field. Music was what defined each of my areas. Jenny Phillips and Jesus Adrean Romero bring me back to the backcountry roads of Wauchula with Hermanas Larsen, Carson, and Ashby. Music was what helped me through my lowest of lows in Tampa. Hearing “Jesus, Precious Jesus” or “I Will Rest in You” took me back to driving through rainstorms at night and feeling comforted when the work seemed nothing short of hopeless.
Music was how I felt the Spirit. I’ve had more than one occasion where “Abide with Me, tis Eventide” has brought me to tears or a song by Marshall McDonald helped me remember my gratitude for my Savior and what He has done for me.
A couple months ago, another Hermana told me she gave up writing her boy back at home for the last 9 months of her mission as a sacrifice to the Lord. I wanted to do that too. Give up something that was truly difficult for me. I have been praying and pondering for a couple months now, but no ideas were coming. Well Monday night we got a text from Elder Williams announcing that ALL music is banned in our mission. All of it. No more listening to music in the car, in the morning getting ready, at night before bed, nothing. Minus church meetings obviously. Pure silence. My heart sunk. “I cannot do this,” I thought, “it’s too drastic. Too much.” I was upset and confused. President are you serious? This cannot be real life.
But it was.
No more finding peace and comfort in Mindy Gledhill. No more getting pumped up to “I Hope They Call Me on a Mission”. No more dispelling the awkward silences when companionship times are rough. I couldn’t handle it. I broke down. 7 months with no music? This is literally going to kill me. The Spirit tried to comfort me: You can sing more. Maybe your voice will get better. You can memorize Spanish hymns now. It was no use. I was not having it. The STLs called us and explained it was because someone was sent home this weekend and his disobedience started with music. That didn’t help. I was not happy.
I couldn’t sleep that night for a solid three hours. My mind was having this battle: Am I going to just take this? How can I possibly do this? Why is President doing this to us?
But then I got this thought, “You asked for this.” And I remembered my prayer to find a sacrifice. Well here it is. And then I thought, “My attitude about this is completely in my control. Hermana Finlayson is fine. Why can’t I be fine, too? Disobedience is not an option. It’s just not. So that leaves me with two choices: Obey happily or obey grudgingly. The scripture came to mind about Alma’s people, “they did submit cheerfully and with patience to all the will of the Lord.” Am I really going to let this affect me? Ruin the end of my mission? Or am I going to learn and grow from it?
The battle was still raging as I finally started drifting off to sleep. The idea of completely taking out something that had been so much part of my life for 7 months was daunting. And then another thought right before I was out: “Are you really going to rely on music more than you rely on me?” I woke up 3 times that night…it was not a peaceful time for me. But the next morning, woke up with one clear thought in my mind: Lovest thou me more than these?
That’s really what it came down to. Do I love the Lord more than I love music? I wanted to say yes.
Getting ready that morning was the most silence I’ve ever felt in my life. I felt the absence of my music. So I sang hymns. In Spanish. I didn’t know all the words, my voice was cracking, but it dispelled the negative feelings. It was even worse on the drive up. So. Silent.
In Zone meeting President had a couple missionaries go up and talk, unannounced. One of them talked about his experiences in high school wrestling and how his coach asked him “What do you want?” “To win the state championship.” “Okay, at what cost?” At what cost am I willing to be the missionary Heavenly Father wants? What am I willing to sacrifice for Him?
And then came the firm resolution: Whatever it takes, for the next 7 months, I am His. Wholly and completely. If this is my sacrifice, it’s an easy one to make. A constant reminder of what I’m doing out here and why I’m doing it. My heart is completely surrendered. I cannot do this without the Lord’s help. I need Him on my side. Or rather, I need to be on His side.
So no more music. I can handle that. I can do it happily. For my Lord and Savior, there’s no other way. I am a missionary and representative of Jesus Christ. And for the next 7 months…and the rest of my life… I am His.
I promise the no music thing isn’t as bad as it sounds. I’m still alive. Hermana Fin and I talk more than ever. We’ve seen miracles from our willing obedience.
I still love being a missionary.
But good luck getting the headphones out of my ears when I get home.
Just kidding. … kinda.
Love you all!