I planned on having a sisters conference last week but had to cancel it when the missionary department made it clear they don’t want missions to be having sisters conferences. I had gotten some mixed messages last year and thought it was going to be ok to go ahead and have one.
One of the reasons I wanted to have a sisters conference is because I see a huge difference between the sisters and elders, (imagine that J). We kind of laugh at the things we see and often joke that when we give trainings many of the sisters are always thinking they have to do more, and many of the elders think they’re doing enough. And of course, you guessed it, those elders are exactly who we are training too. Of course I have to say we have wonderful sisters and elders, this is just a generalization we see sometimes.
But we do find the sisters will usually be the ones who over shoot “the Mark”. Let me tell you what that means to us and what I want most of the sisters to know:
Sisters need to stop feeling guilty about everything. We’ve talked about the “Mark” being Jesus Christ and it will always lead us to feeling the spirit. If we have hit the “Mark”; (that’s Christ), we will feel joy, happiness, peace, positive, motivated, etc. If we aren’t feeling the spirit we are not on the Mark. Many of our missionaries beat themselves up thinking they need to do more and be more and think it’s coming from the Lord. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Feeling the spirit is usually an invitation to act but you feel motivated and filled when acting upon the invitation. How we feel when we are thinking or doing something is a great filter to know if the thing is from God. Here is how this principle relates to missionary work.
Many of our missionaries hit the Mark. They find joy in their work and feel the Saviors love. They know they are working hard, not committing any sins, and doing their best. They know they are not perfect but are trying, and they feel whatever they are giving is appreciated by the Lord. They feel loved appreciated and valued by their Heavenly Father for their work and sacrifice. That is hitting the Mark!
Some missionaries over shoot the Mark, they strive for perfection and feel they never reach it, and then feel depressed, critical, and overwhelmed. (These are symptoms of overshooting the Mark.) They don’t feel the joy of their service and sacrifice because they focus on the negative aspect of what didn’t happen, what didn’t get accomplished, and what they weren’t; instead of what they were. Overshooting the Mark is a heavy task master. Nothing is ever good enough and you are never enough. Over shooting will never be satisfied or fulfilled because it sees things in a negative and critical way. It functions by beating up and tearing down. Its very nature is against the spirit and sucks love and joy out of every good thing.
Some missionaries undershoot the Mark. They have an, “It’s all good attitude.” Most things can be excused, justified, or blamed away so behavior is acceptable and nothing needs to ever change. Undershooting the Mark negates our need for a Savior. It’s the, “I don’t need to change, God loves me for who I am” and, “I just need to be me” attitude.
Examples of Hitting the Mark: “I try to be obedient but I don’t beat myself up if I’m a few minutes late. I don’t feel guilty if I haven’t committed any sins. I feel patient and loving toward myself and others even when things didn’t go perfect. I am willing to learn and don’t tear myself down when I didn’t teach well or know a scripture. I’m not afraid to make a mistake. I happy and satisfied at whatever I can offer or give, even when it wasn’t perfect.”
Examples of overshooting the Mark: “ I feel I am not everything I want to be. I feel guilty about things I have no control over. I feel guilty for not being enough, or doing enough. For example: I wasn’t nice enough, loving enough, bold enough, understanding enough, helpful enough, etc. etc. Nothing is good enough unless it looks perfect and I base my value on how things look. I am constantly imagining myself through another’s critical viewpoint.”
Undershooting the Mark: “It doesn’t matter if I stay in a member’s home for an hour or more. It doesn’t matter if I go to the gym at night after I finish planning, it’s my free time. I’m obeying the rule to get up at 6:30am if I wake up, even if I don’t get out of bed for another 30 minutes. It’s ok if I listen to this kind of music because it relaxes me. I don’t feel well so I’ll stay in all day, even though I really could go out and work. I don’t think this is the right thing to do, but my companion is doing it so I’ll just go along.”
To be honest in training we have to train for those who are undershooting the mark. We have to teach, exactness, strictness, work harder, and be more diligent. Can you imagine what would happen if we taught relax, don’t be so hard on yourself, and give yourself a break? Can you imagine how all those who are undershooting the mark would take it? We would be in trouble. :)
What I want to say to all those who are overshooting is, “You’re doing so good, let your victories in, don’t be so hard on yourself, you’re doing a great job, relax so you can feel God’s love for you, don’t work yourself to death and suck all the life and love out of your work, love your work and be happy to do it, and when you are done be happy and give thanks for what your were able to do and let the rest go!!
We want to tell our entire mission, “Please hit the Mark. You’ll know it when you feel the Saviors love. It happens when you fill yourself up with thinking of all the good things you’re doing and all the right reasons you are doing them. Relax and let His love in. You’re having victories every day! Focus on your victories”