Sunday, February 8, 2015

6 lies early return missionaries tell themselves

These are things that I have told myself so I know they are real. These are pertaining to missionaries who were honorably released before their 18 or 24 months were up. If you feel like there are more, feel free to add them.

1) I don't get the same blessings of full service return missionaries.

This is something I didn't know I felt until I was sitting a couple weeks ago with my Stake President explaining my situation, and he said that I should not feel like I do not get the blessings that full time missionaries get upon returning. He said that if these were my thoughts, to stop because it's not true. I was released honorably and therefore am entitled to be blessed as if I came home like any other sister that served 18 months. The relief I felt form his statement was so satisfying. I didn't realize I felt that way. And to hear someone say that was very uplifting.

2) I can't do hard things.

This is something that I said probably everyday after my mission for a long time. Our mission motto in South Carolina was "I love tough things!" I said that all the time. And we were reminded that our missions were one of the hardest things we would ever do, and I couldn't do it. That's what I said. I had failed. But in reality I was doing something even harder. I was leaving the mission to come home, to get better. It is even harder to do. And therefore I was still doing hard things, and whether I realized it or not, I was making it.

3) I could have done more to stay out.

This is a thought that still comes to my mind a lot. I still think this. I wonder if I would have been more open with my companion, and mission president if I could have stayed. I think of every possible angle. If I would have just prayed and fasted more. If I would have trusted Heavenly Father more He would have let me stay. I think this is a trap that everyone falls in that has come home early. What I needed to realize and accept is that this was God's Will. Neal A Maxwell once said "Faith in God includes faith in His timing as well." Coming to grips with the idea that this was all in God's plan for me was impossible for me to accept at one point in the early months being home. I didn't want to think that was an option. But we can't think this way, it is a lie and a torturous one at that. I have spent so many nights thinking about how I could have stayed out. It doesn't help the healing. Yes, of course it hurts, but I had to accept that it was God's Will for me.

4) I have let God down.

Now this is a serious lie I said countless times as well! What I felt like was that I had sinned by coming home early and by so doing I had let God down. I was wrong to think this way. I was honorably released and sent home for health reasons, I had not violated and commandments or covenants that I had made with God. Yet I felt what I thought was guilt. When really I was feeling shame, and it took me a while to know what the difference of those 2 emotions are. I thought I was feeling guilty for letting God down. When really I was just ashamed to be home early. And again I was not accepting of God's Will.

5) I can't go on with my life now

This is a lie I used as an excuse for a while. Missionaries who finish their full service have a hard time getting back into "real life", but try being home early from the mission. Now, part of it was the Lyme Disease, but I did not want to think about my life moving on because I was so upset over being home early. it was an excuse I used to mope and try and figure a way I could have stayed out longer. 

6) People will judge me from now on

I remember feeling shame when in my new ward people would ask about me and I would say I just got back from my mission. Whether they knew it was an early release or not I felt like they already knew and they were already judging me. What actually was happening is I was judging myself, and then thinking everyone else was judging me the same way. If they do know and judge, it's not my problem. I have had to come to realize that I did my best and once again, it was God's Will. And I have found that most people are not judging. after all, you are you're own worst critique.

I have to remember that these lies are not from God, they are from Satan "the father of all lies" who wants "all men that they may be miserable like unto himself." If Satan can get me to think that I was an awful missionary for coming home, that God is ashamed of me for letting Him down. If he can get me to think these long enough, or any of us, then we could lose hope in the gospel and fall away. It is one of Satan's cunning ways. We can't give the devil any place to "destroy [our] peace or afflict [our] soul." And it has taken me a long time to figure that out.

-The Lyme Warrior