“Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.”

-Jane Austen, Emma

Monday, October 21, 2013

more thoughts on vulnerability....

I found this mission farewell talk from when I left on my mission to Russia in 2010. Reminded me of some good times (not really). I've just posted some of it though.

Many of you don’t know me, but I am hoping that by the end of this talk you will have a better idea both of who I am and why I am serving a mission.

In assessing the steps that I took in preparing for my mission I don’t necessarily recollect any one particular circumstance—or that Ah Ha moment when I decided to serve, but rather in looking back over the past year. 

I find that it was a series of events that led me to the place where I am at right now, as so often is in the case in achieving goals and developing oneself further. For as the Lord says in Isaiah Chapter 28: 10. “For Precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line; here a little and there a little.”

In order to show how I came to accept the idea of serving a mission I’d like to divide the past year into four separate categories, each reflecting a different stage in my preparation. Firstly, early on in the year I had to change my frame of mind. Secondly I had to develop faith. Thirdly, act on that faith and lastly continue to go forth and endure in these principles. Through each of these stages I became more confident in my decision to serve a mission and subsequently more acquainted  with the gospel, and the savior.

First off, changing my mindset was by far the hardest step in this process. In order to illustrate this point I’d like to share an experience from a couple years back that sheds light onto why this was the hardest step for me, for I can be quite stubborn. When I was 16 years old, I went out to a nearby lake with some of the youth in our ward at the end of the summer. I had never been wake boarding before and I was anxious to accomplish such a feat.

As I was hanging off the back of the boat, Brother Attack, second counselor in the Bishopric was explaining the basics of getting up on a wakeboard. He said one thing in particular to me that has reverberated throughout my life: “Sara he said (looking at me directly in the eye) you have to let the boat pull you up—you can’t pull yourself up, if you do you’ll get tangled or dragged—you have to let the boat pull you up”

For the next minute I repeated in my mind: “let the boat pull you up, let the boat pull you up” Alas though, per typical Sara-- when the boat began to pick up speed. I didn’t let it. I pulled myself up, and of course wiping out in the water failing at my attempt. I did this two more times, before Brother Attack pulled me back to the end of the boat to give me a little pep talk: “Sara, look I know you are strong. I know you can pull yourself up, but don’t, you are never going to make it up” So in absolute determination—accepting that perhaps the key to success was in submitting to the boat’s power rather than in trusting my own  I let myself fall back—the next go around, allowing the boat to pull me up. Lo and behold it worked, I got up—and for one of the first times I realized that success sometimes lies in allowing other forces—whether they be friends, family and most importantly God to help you up.

I think back on this experience in my life and realize how hard we make the simplest and easiest decisions the hardest and most difficult ones in our lives. In relating this to developing the appropriate mindset in serving a mission, I had to for once in my life—let the boat once again pull me up. Let the Lord into my heart and mind and let Him help me to change my outlook. I tried for literally months through sheer will power to make myself happy when I knew that I was not doing what the Lord wanted me too. Instead of accepting the Lord’s desire for me to serve a mission, I for many months forced myself into distraction after distraction--turning the decision to serve a mission into an endless maze of distress rather than one of ease. 

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