Relationships #1 - Believe it or not, sometimes missionaries don’t get along with their companions. J I want to write a few posts about relationships and what I am learning from watching and working with 250 young adults at any given moment.
Recently we had a companionship of sisters who really weren’t getting along. I was working with them, their sister training leaders were working with them and even the member they were living with was trying to help. It was a long and painful transfer for them.
These two sisters are very different. One sister is quiet, shy, relaxed and a little depressed. The other sister is very driven, hard working, very concerned about obeying all the rules and a little OCD. Both are very good sister missionaries, they are just different from each other. There were a lot of judgments going on in the relationship and a lot of hurt feelings on both sides. As I worked with both of them I felt pride had started the problem and lack of forgiveness kept it going.
One particular day had been a little rough for them. Everyone was being involved, trying to help, even President Mullen. We happened to be going to the temple that evening and I found myself praying for these two sisters during my session. I was thinking about how this one particular sister needed to understand that she had been given a companion to love and care for- that this companion was more important than the schedule, the rules, or the tasks on the list. She has a perfect idea of what her mission should be and what the companionship should be doing and focusing on, so it is hard for her to let that go, see the struggling person in front of her and make her companions needs more important than the idea of her perfect mission. She is struggling with her own issues also and needs help too. My thought was they both need to feel loved.
As I was praying and thinking in the temple about this relationship a realization hit me about mothering; and one particular child of mine who is struggling. I realized as a parent, even though I felt I had been open and flexible as a mother, I had a set idea of what I thought my child should be and do. It goes something like: get good grades, play the piano, love the gospel, get into BYU, go on a mission, get married in the temple and have a great family. Just the usual stuff. J
The problem is: this beautiful child, who growing up could do it all and was such a bright light, is now facing challenges that are very complicated to understand; having one thing being led to another, until the problems he is facing are so big it’s hard to know where to turn or what to do.
My perspective has changed so much. I see parents who are hurt and worried over children who didn’t go on a mission, or came home early from a mission and all I can think is, “It can get so much worse than that, don’t worry if that’s all it is.” You want your child to go on a mission so badly, but the reality is a mission just helps them live the gospel. If they are living the gospel and being faithful just be so happy for that. That is all that matters. You can live the gospel your whole life without going on a mission. When my son Jordan came home from his mission early, I felt bad for him, but I’ve hardly worried about him because my perspective has changed. I know he is going to be fine if he just continues to go to church and live the gospel.
I also see parents who are so concerned with children who fall away from the church. Sadly my new perspective is, “It can get so much worse than that, there is so much to be grateful for if your child is able to get a job, go to college, function, get married and have children.” It is amazing how life experiences can rock your world. Be so grateful for all good in a child’s life. Any good is good.
Life just hasn’t turned out to be that perfect. My plan seemed so great to me. It was beautiful and…..not that demanding really; it seemed very normal and attainable to me. (I’m kind of laughing at myself. Did I really shout for joy, did I really know what I was signing up for?)
But this is what I’m learning: If I am going to have, “all these things be turned to good”, I have to have the spirit with me, so I’m not just surviving, but actually learning and progressing from what I am going through. I have learned in order for me to have the spirit with me I have to stop asking, “Why”. Why is pride! The question why is a barrier between me and the Lord. I can feel it. It’s just a message of, “My way and my plan is better Lord.” For me I can feel that why doesn’t accept the Lords will, His plan, His way. It is not humble. I have realized I need to repent of every little hardness in my heart to be able to be soft and open, to have the spirit with me, to live well, not just survive.
Anyway back to the temple. As I was thinking about these two sisters I felt the Lord put this into context for me. I have been given children to love and care for. Parenting is not something on my list to be checked off. I shouldn’t ever feel resentful or bothered that my children’s lives aren’t what I thought they should be; that perfect ideal. They are people, with their own lives, their own plan, designed by God for them. It’s not about me, my children, and my way. This is God’s way and His plan for each of these children. They are people. They need to feel love and support. I need to have faith. Their needs need to be the most important thing; more than my perfect idea of their life and how it should go.
So this first post about relationships is what I'm learning about letting go, and let God.