I am only a few days away from starting my service as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It does not seem possible that something I have waited for all my life is finally within reach. Knowing what is ahead is daunting, but my feelings of inadequacy and nervousness subside when I think about the lessons God has taught me this past year and especially this past semester to prepare me for “that which will be my finest hour” (to quote Winston Churchill found in Elaine S. Dalton’s talk: https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/…/come-let-us-go-up…)
Here are some of the lessons I have learned these past couple of months.
1. “Own it.” These words came after pleading to Heavenly Father to help me out of the whirlpool of negative thoughts about myself. These two words changed everything for me. Now, I am choosing to own my body, my thoughts, my personality, my family, my weakness, etc. Through this, I can repent and find satisfaction in my life because I am honest and grateful.
2. Be deliberate in bettering the relationships you care about. This is probably a “no duh” for most, but I needed to remember it. I need to remember it for my mission for both those at home and those I work beside.
3. Ask questions. They change everything. Because of a simple question, I’ve been able to spend my time between school and a mission with two of my favorite families. Because of a simple question, I get to do my MTC at an unimaginably perfect place. Because of simple questions, I have gained some of the sweetest relationships with strangers on planes and in the classroom. If you don’t believe me, just look at what a question did for Joseph Smith.
4. “Trust it, even though you don’t feel it.” Another powerhouse phrase that the Spirit inspired me with when I was consumed in anxiety. In my life right now, I know that the mission is the right next step. So even when it feels daunting or crippling, I can trust what I know rather than what I feel in the moment.
5. “Whitney, it’s true.” These were the words my coach said to me after receiving my temple endowment. I’ll never forget how I felt when he said those simple words to me.
6. Like any parent, Heavenly Father does not respond to everything His children ask for. This sounds harsh, but just picture what a day would be like if a toddler got their way the whole day. It simply would not be good. It is the same for Heavenly Father. I do not know if He always responds. But for me, that does not matter because I know He always listens.
7. “Cheerfully do all things that lie in your power; and then… stand still, with the utmost assurance, to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed” (Doctrine and Covenants 123:17). Just show up (as my mom puts it). God is aware and will work a marvelous work for us.
8. Heavenly Father wants to help us know we are on the right path. And when we know what we are doing is right, it is exhilarating.
9. When I know it and I know that God knows it, that is enough.
10. I #HearHim through the words “that is what I can do.” I know Christ wants us to press forward. Therefore His words of correction and inspiration motivate and excite us. This principle was emphasized in my Portuguese study: He gives us power through revelation (power in Portuguese = poder) and with that, we can do what He asks us to do (poder as a verb = to be able to).
I love truth. I love my Savior. I love my Heavenly Father. I love this Gospel. I love what is coming in a week. It is all so good.