Trying a little harder

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Let me be really honest here. I have been really struggling the last few weeks. People around me may not even have totally noticed it but I started to sink a little day by day about a month ago.

I jumped right into this decision to serve a mission. And for some reason forgot about the processing that would come as a result. Maybe I thought this time I would skip the mixed emotions nonsense and just exist in the first stage. How romantic of me. And also a little idiotic/wishful.

First stage: The excitement and the newness. The adrenaline bursting decision making sparkle. That’s the part I’m good at. It’s why I feel most equipped in the first few weeks of a relationship and sometimes a little lost after that.

So I had that and it lasted about 2 months with the mission sparkle.
And then in the last month I realized I AM LEAVING. And suddenly it hit me that everything I have been familiar with for the last 5 years from the tall, solid mountains to the cramped apartments with linoleum floors was all going to be gone. But more importantly than that, all the people I know and love right now so very deeply would not be there for 18 months. And in those months some of those people will change and friendships will drift and it will be different when I come home because I will be different. Also I really really love my family and I’m unusually close with them from being that weird homeschooled child all those years ago. When you eat breakfast lunch and dinner with people who make you laugh your deep belly laugh every single day you end up not just loving them a whole lot but liking them too. I’m blessed enough to have that but it makes the idea of leaving all of them behind harder than I care to admit to them on a daily basis. And spending time with my family just reinforces how hard leaving them is going to be. Especially these two little girls who are growing up too fast:

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So all that crashed in on me. And in addition to that I had built up this laundry list of things I needed to do to be a “good” sister missionary and suddenly a lot of the good time I spent getting over perfectionism wurshed right down the drain as I built up in my mind this superhuman sister missionary who could memorize all 100 scripture mastery verses, finish Jesus the Christ and read the Book of Mormon twice before entering the MTC. Guess what happened? I began to feel defeated by the mounting tower of things to do and felt if I couldn’t do them all then why even try? An old belief began to creep in. If I try, then I could fail. If I do not try, I can never fail as my effort cannot be assessed accurately. I can still look back and say, Oh I could have done that! I just didn’t try. Of course this is self defeating as you fail before you even set forth. This belief was the opposite of my perfectionist period when I said: if I can do everything perfect, I am worth it. The fluctuation of these two beliefs led me to have a very difficult time academically during college. Anyway, this old belief of not trying started to creep in this last month. That plus the sadness and stress of leaving has been hard.
It’s rare we admit that in the public forum but here I am doing it.

Why? Well I have been reading this very raw, emotional blog these last few months and this girl has the bravery to post about her pain. And sometimes I think it’s too much or she is sharing more than I would choose to, but the bottom line is she helped me. I went through a breakup and it was very hard and I also felt alone with the pain because for once in my life I had a hard time talking about it but reading her posts about sobbing on the bathroom floor made me feel like I was less of a cliche. That somehow, there was another twenty something girl walking around with a broken heart, a tear stained flannel shirt, and more hope than her life could hold up to sometimes.

Anyway, I’m saying out here that I’m having a hard time partly because it helps me to write about it but mostly because I know someone else out there is having a hard time too. And I want you to know that you’re not a cliche. And it’s not dumb to feel sad sometimes it’s part of being human.

And what I am here to tell you is this: I haven’t been crushed yet. I haven’t been defeated. I’m still here and God still loves me just the same. Somehow despite my inadequacies, weaknesses, and fears, He still accepts me as His daughter. What the last month has taught me is that I can’t do it alone. I can’t serve a mission. I can’t walk through life. But we can, the Lord and I together. We can serve a mission and we can walk through life. When I believe that, I feel a swelling of my heart. I feel an opening in the sadness I have been swimming in and I feel hope’s bright light shining forth above me. I know that God can make me what I need to be, and all I can do is start by having the faith to try. I’m here. I’m trying. Trying a little harder to be a little better. That’s all He asks of me and that’s all I can ask of myself

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4 thoughts on “Trying a little harder

  1. Mom

    Exactly why you will make an amazing missionary because you already that you and the Lord are doing things together! Love you so very much and though my heart will ache from missing you, I will be comforted by the knowledge that you are going to bring happiness to those looking for it and you will love it!

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  2. Theresa

    Wow this is so amazing that you have put your feelings down to share with your friends and family. I know what you will be doing in the Philippines will be great work. It will be hard to leave everyone behind for a while but just know we will be here waiting for your return. We love you and miss you so much. We are so proud of you. πŸ’—πŸ’œπŸŒΉπŸŒΌπŸŒ»

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  3. Bishop Steve

    Your only laundry list should be prayer and scripture study. Everyone has fears of not measuring up; thats Satan’s great plan. Plenty of Scriptures I could site but now I think Teddy Roosevelt said it best:

    β€œIt is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

    ― Theodore Roosevelt

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