Recently I have a lot of friends that are going off to college, getting more permanent, full time jobs, beginning and getting into serious relationships, and moving away from home to become the person they are meant to become. I get asked by those around me what I am doing with my future. Honestly, I only have a couple solid answers for this. I tell them that I will be moving to Brazil in November to teach the gospel of Jesus Christ for 18 months. Then I explain that that is the reason I am not going to college, getting a full time job, or dating anyone seriously. They start to question why I would go do this if I have to be up by 6:30 or earlier every morning, if I can’t listen to music, I can’t see my family, I won’t be dating in that time, if I can’t even call friends, or wear normal clothes everyday. There are a million reasons that I could list of why I shouldn’t go. But there is a reason I will like to discuss in this post of why I am going.
In the New Testament, Jesus Christ has 5,000 people following Him to be healed, to witness miracles, to see His power. There comes a point where these people haven’t eaten because they are trying to keep up with the Savior, so they become weak and fatigued. Christ being Christ, provides a miracle that feeds these 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Then at night they lay down to get rest. Christ in the middle of the night crosses the Sea of Galilee because there were disciples of Christ that would need His help. The next morning the crowd noticed that Christ was on the other side of the Sea so they walked all the way over to find Christ again. When they found him they were seeking for another miracle. But this time Christ was asking them to believe on Him and not just the miracles He performs. They found this hard, they wanted miracles but they didn’t want to show forth faith. The crowd then left and Christ asked his apostles, “Will ye also go away?” Then in John 6 verse 68 it reads, “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” These apostles knew what it meant truly to be a follower of Christ. It means to do hard things, to make sacrifices, and to trust the Lord’s plan for them no matter how hard it may get sometimes. Being a true disciple of Christ requires choosing to trust and to have faith to do hard things.
The beautiful gift of choice is essentially why I am serving a mission. Why I do the things I do. Heavenly Father’s whole purpose of sending us here to earth was so that we can one day inherit all He has to offer and how we do that is by choosing what is right. I am choosing to make this move with my life. As I have learned this lesson of the power to choose I have found some essential things that I choose that will change my life forever.
First, I choose to believe. I choose to believe that I have a Father in Heaven. That I have a Savior, named Jesus Christ. That I can be forgiven and that there is pure happiness from one pure source in life. I choose to believe the teachings that are being taught and I choose to trust the Spirit as it is testifying of what is truth.
I also choose to trust in His plan for me. I know without a doubt that He has a plan for me, no matter what my plan for myself is, that His plan is far better than I can ever imagine. I choose to trust that serving a mission is best for me, my family, my future family, and those I teach at this time in life. Although, I don’t know what will happen on my mission, after my mission, or really even before I leave, it doesn’t matter too much because I trust that I am loved and that the plan set out for me is the best. I am the type of person that has a planner for like 5 years out. I have to have everything that I will be doing in a day written down or it will drive my mind bonkers. But recently I have learned that I have no idea. I have no idea what I will do before, during, or after mission except what the Lord will have me do. So I trust that He has those things in perfect order for me. Which leads to my next point.
I choose to trust the Lord’s timing. It’s not that I don’t want to go to college, to have a full time job, to begin that crazy college life, or be in a relationship, I just know that it will all happen eventually, in the Lord’s time. Going to college right now would be great and fun, but going to college now I may not be ready for the changes it has. Or being in a relationship, Heavenly Father is preparing me and my future someone to one day be together. Heavenly Father only wants the best for children so He is helping us be the BEST we can personally be so that we can have the best. I will go to college, I will do ILP, I will choose a major, I will get married, but not yet. Right now Heavenly Father needs me preparing to go to Brazil to help save lost souls that need to be found now, not later. Being patient is soooo hard for me. I know that things are suppose to happen and I know they will happen but it is so hard for me to wait and see how it all plays out. That is something I am still trying to learn, to be patient and enjoy the ball game before the time runs out. But I am choosing to trust that the game is in Heavenly Father’s time table.
“Make the decision to do what Jesus Christ has asked you to do.” -Elder M. Russell Ballard. I choose to do what is asked of me. Doing what Heavenly Father asks of you can be hard because it can be simply obeying a commandment, or serving a mission, or to pursue or not to pursue a relationship or friendship, but it can also be getting cancer, having a death in the family, moving to a different town, or joining a church that expects so much from you. Sometimes it is so hard for us to act because we are scared of what the result will be. We are too focused the bad things that may come from it instead of focusing on the one way it can go perfectly right. It will be hard but what we don’t understand sometimes, while trying to accept His will for us, is that He will be there every single step of the way. He won’t leave us alone. Christ went through everything so that we can one day overcome all things. Elder Jeffery R. Holland, an apostle of the Lord, Jesus Christ once said, “All that is unfair about life can be made right through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.” How true this is. We go through hard times, hard trials, hard moments, that is without out a doubt bound to happen because “the only way to salvation is through Gethsemane and on to Calvary. The only way to eternity is through Him—the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” We must go through our own Gethsemane and depend on our Savior to get us out of Gethsemane. We must have hard times or we won’t become stronger we won’t come as close to the Savior as we should be. But whether it is hard, embarrassing, uncomfortable, or new I choose to go what is asked of me. I choose to be obedient because that is what will bring the Spirit. “Obedience is choice. It is choice between our limited knowledge and power and God’s unlimited wisdom and omnipotence.” By being obedient our eyes are opened and the path is more illuminated.
With all these things I believe, I believe that the more important thing I choose is to choose to be happy. Hard times come, impatiences is real, keeping the commandments can be challenging, but we can change the way we look at these things and how our journey goes by being happy. We choose happiness or misery. No one else controls that but you. Someone once told me that, “Hell isn’t going through trials or hard times, it is going through hard times and only thinking about yourself.” You choose to focus on everything that is going wrong instead of things that simply bring happiness. There is pure joy in serving and loving those around you. That is a big reason I have chosen to serve a mission, I am able to find joy by seeing other’s find the source of joy. President Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “the happiest people I know are those who lose themselves in the service of others.” My whole life I’ve been selfish, I needed to graduate, I’ve needed to finish personal progress, I’ve needed a job, the list is endless. Then after my mission it will be about going to the right college for me, marrying the right guy for me, again the list is endless. But Heavenly Father has given me the opportunity to spend a year and a half doing things not about me one bit. My life will be dedicated 24/7 to the service of other and not having to worry about me. I choose to smile in the midst of pain. I choose to do little things, like running, or baking, or serving others because I choose to be happy. Marjorie Pay Hinckley once so wisely said, “The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it. You either have to laugh or cry. I prefer to laugh. Crying gives me a headache.” How true this statement is. We may not be in control of the situations and the things that surround us but we have been given the gift to choose how we will respond in all times.
Heavenly Father’s plan was centered around giving us freedom to choose. That is why we have a Savior, Jesus Christ, because Heavenly Father knew we would mess up. We wouldn’t always choose what was best for us. He knew we wouldn’t be perfect. I am so grateful for the opportunity I have to make my own choices, whether right or wrong. Most importantly, I am grateful for a loving God who cares enough about me to send His Son, to live, to suffer, to die, and to rise again so that I can overcome the bad choices I make and the weaknesses that I have.
So why am I not going to college, why don’t I have a full time job, or why am I not in a more steady relationship? I choose not to. I have chosen to give my will and my life to my Savior, not for just 18 months, not for a few years but for the rest of my life. Christ gave everything so that I can have anything, the greatest gift I can think of to give back is my own will. At least, that is what I want to do, what I am working on. There are times things don’t work out how I want them to and it is a reality check to leave it to the Lord, and trust His plan, not my own. I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve the Lord in a capacity I won’t get the opportunity to do again. I am grateful that the Lord has a perfect plan for me. I am grateful I get to choose. I am grateful that I choose happy.