A few weeks ago my Doctrine and Covenants teacher told EVERYONE to stand up in their chairs and recite D&C 4 in the language they had spoken on their mission.
This is the moment I realized that I was one of two people in that classroom who had not served a full time mission for the Church.
Now, this semester is the first full semester of school where the HUGE rush of girls that had left at the age change two years ago returned home. This was definitely an experience that filled me with an array of emotions.
We all stood up and my face burned hot as I listened to the room fill with the various languages.
I definitely did not have the scripture memorized.
I was embarrassed to look around at all of these brilliant beautiful girls who had just recently returned from their time away, and realize that I was behind the curve.
I have spent a lot of time praying to know whether or not a mission was in my particular life's plan, and have felt assured that at this time it is not something my body could handle. I have never written off the idea of potentially serving full time one day in some capacity or another, but I have felt a confirmation from the Lord that a mission is not something I am to be doing at this point in time.
I am confident in this knowledge, but with that being said.... I still felt uncomfortable.
Which is dumb.
I was being dumb.
But I have a feeling there are a lot of you out there that have chosen not to serve that might feel this way sometimes too.
In fact I have read many blogs and "listicles" discussing just that:
"10 things a good mormon girl who didn't serve a mission wants you to know."
"20 things girls who didn't decide to serve are sick of hearing."
Now I won't deny there are some funny cultural things that are pretty well pegged in these articles, but for the most part when I read them my heart starts to hurt for the girls who are feeling so threatened by this particular time in history that is really supposed to be so wonderful!
We cannot deny that there are experiences and lessons that can only be had by a person who serves a full time mission. There are things that I cannot relate to and moments that I will never have.
But if we love the Gospel and are seeking earnestly to do God's will, he will provide the means for us to grow spiritually. He will not withhold blessings from us if we are honestly responding to promptings.
God wants us all to be like him and to serve him and to return to him.
Each individual has a personalized journey, don't discount yours.
Mission or no mission, you are being taught.
THAT BEING SAID:
I've got news for myself...
I should have been embarrassed that day.
But not for the reason I was at the time.
BUT BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW THAT DANG SCRIPTURE!!!
Just because I didn't serve doesn't mean I shouldn't be seeking to understand and memorize scriptures. When asked if I am going on a mission I often respond with, "there is work to do here," and while there certainly is... the Lord can't use me if I am not prepared. (This goes for RM's too)
But he WILL use us if we ARE prepared.
And when we feel inadequate to be actively involved in member missionary work, we can take comfort in Joseph's words:
"It was clearly evident that the Lord gave us power in proportion to the work to be done, and strength according to the race set before us, and grace and help as our needs required."
Whatever our race is that the Lord has set before us in order to bring souls unto him, he will give us the capacity to do it.
The irony here is that the very scriptures that made me feel so alienated when asked to recite them, are actually openly inviting ALL of us to the work.
This scripture is for those preparing to serve, for those who the Lord has a different path for than a mission, for those who are currently serving, and for those who have finished their full time service.
It is for every one of us.
Shouldn't we all be serving him with all of our might mind and strength in our individual journeys?
The attributes that qualify someone for the work are the same attributes that all disciples of Christ need.
The things that missionaries are told to remember are things we all need to remember.
We are all called to teach and to serve.
That white letter is nudging each of our mailboxes day in and day out.
The destination we are called to is wherever our feet are planted that day.
The language is the spirit.
We are all, "On the Mission,"
We chose that the moment we were baptized and became disciples of Christ.
We are called to the work.