Monday, June 24, 2013

It's Okay To Be Scared

For some reason, it seems that people, including soon-to-be missionaries, tend to believe that missionaries shouldn't be scared. The day after I got my call to the Philippines I was telling a co-worker that although I was definitely excited, I was also scared. She gave me this really funny look, as if being scared was an absolutely ridiculous thing to be feeling and said, "Why are you scared? No one's making you do it, right? You signed up for it." 

Her comment really bothered me and I started to think maybe she was right. Maybe I shouldn't be scared. I mean, I was the one who made the decision and filled out all the paperwork. But I soon realized that yes, I did sign up for it. But there was no where on those papers that said I wasn't allowed to be scared. When I read the words, "You are assigned to labor in the Philippines San Pablo Mission, I was excited, don't get me wrong. But I was also terrified! A mission is a big deal. I was about to leave my family and friends and everything I knew for 18 months. I'd never been on an airplane and now I was about to fly half way around the world alone. I was going to be living in the Philippines. I didn't even know where that was! I was going to have to not only try to teach the gospel to complete strangers, I was going to have to do it in a language I had never even heard of before. I was going to have to eat baby duck and live with spiders the size of my head! It was a big deal. And after a lot of thought, here's the conclusion I came to: It's okay to be scared. 

We as human beings are naturally apprehensive of the unknown and the decision to serve a full-time mission means walking on a whole lot of unknown territory. I was reading Wisdom ala Carte and it said fear itself can basically be defined as being the end result of a lack of experience. In other words, fear means that we don't trust ourselves to deal with the situation the fear connects to. So we have to teach ourselves that we can handle every situation. This made me think of Philippians 4:13 which says, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." It's okay to be a little scared as long as we remember that we are not alone. What may be unknown to us, is not unknown to God. He knows what is best for us and as long as we put our full trust in Him, it's gonna be okay. 

So don't worry, if you're scared that's completely normal. In fact, if you aren't a little bit afraid at some point between the time you receive your call and the time you report to the MTC I'd be a little worried. It is NOT a requirement for pre-missionaries to be super stoked every minute of every day until they leave. I promise. But on the days you are feeling down and afraid, remember whose hands you are in. Remember Proverbs 3:5-6, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." Then eat some ice cream and watch a good movie.

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