This past week, I reflected a lot on what the most important lessons to learn as a missionary are. Granted. I'm no Prophet or Apostle, but I thought a lot about it, and a few things stuck out to me as I read through some recent Liahonas and older talks that apostles and prophets gave way back when. ..And well, I figured since I hit my year in country mark this last week, I'd share some of them with you! Who knows, maybe if you learn to develop them now, they'll help you later! ..haha.. actually, let's be real. We all know that if you work on anything now, it'll help you later. ..
First is Prayer.
Make time to pray, and share with Heavenly Father our full range of emotions and experiences. He is interested in the most important as well as the most mundane facets of your life.
He most often communicates back to us through His written word. Feasting on the words of God each day is more important than sleep, school, work, tv, video games, or social media. Dedicate time every day, personally and with your family, to study God's word. As you do, peace will prevail in your life. It will radiate out from you to influence others in the world around you.
Have empathy for another's experience first. Fully own the limits of your own imperfections and rough edges, and practice asking this question, with tender regard for another's experience: "What are you thinking?" Minister grace through compassionate language with empathy for the feelings and context of others.
Christlike love is the greatest need we have on this planet - So if love is to be our watchword, as it must be, then by the word of Him who is love personified we must forsake transgression and any hint of advocacy in it for others. Pure Christlike love flowing from true righteousness can change the world.
We all have a desire for recognition, and there is nothing wrong with relaxing and enjoying ourselves, but we cannot make seeking the gain and praise of the world a central part of our motivation. Those who whole-heartedly turn their lives over to our Savior and serve God and fellowmen discover a richness and fullness to life that the selfish or egotistic will never experience. The unselfish give of themselves. When we take advantage of the unlimited opportunities to love and serve our fellowmen, including our spouse and family, our capacity to love God and to serve others will greatly increase.
It has been said that history turns on small hinges, and so do our lives. Decisions determine destiny. But we are not left unaided in our decisions. If you want to see the light of Heaven, if you want to feel the inspiration of Almighty God, if you want to have that feeling within your bosom that Heavenly Father is guiding you, then follow the prophets of God.
The wisdom of God oftimes appears as the foolishness of men, but the single greatest lesson we can learn in mortality is that when Got speaks and His children obey, they will always be right.
Humility is to recognize gratefully our dependence on the Lord. It is not a sign of weakness, timidity, or fear; it is an indication that you know where your true strength lies. You can be both humble and fearless. You can be both humble and courageous. None of us likes to admit when we are drifting off the right course. Often we try to avoid looking deeply into our souls and confronting our weaknesses, limitations, and fears. Consequently, when we do examine our lives, we look through the filter of biases, excuses, and stories we tell ourselves in order to justify unworthy thoughts and actions. ..But being able to see ourselves clearly is essential to our spiritual well-being. If our weaknesses and shortcomings remain in the shadows, then the redeeming power of the Savior cannot heal them and make them strengths. We must approach our Eternal Father with broken hearts and teachable minds. We must be willing to learn and to change. ..Those who want to learn and progress, those who learn of the Savior and desire to be like Him, those who humble themselves as a little child and seek to bring their thoughts and actions into harmony with our Father in Heaven - they will experience the miracle of the Savior's Atonement. They will taste the indescribable joy that is the fruit of a meek and humble heart. They will be blessed with the desire and discipline to become true disciples of Jesus Christ. As the simple question, "Lord, is it I?"
There is a quality of faith which develops as we focus all of our heart, might, mind and strength. It is seen and felt in the eyes of a great missionary, a valiant and virtuous young woman, and righteous mothers, fathers, and grandparents. It is the ability to focus and be steadfast, continually holding fast to true principles, nothing wavering, even when the mist of darkness confronting us is exceedingly great. However, it can be enticing to choose doubt and disbelief over faith. Faith and fear cannot coexist. One gives way to the other. We all need to constantly build faith and overcome sources of destructive disbelief. --We do have a choice. We get what we focus on consistently. Some are the result of Satan's direct influence, but for others, we have no one to blame but ourselves. These stem from personal tendencies, attitudes, and habits we can learn to change. In a household of faith, there is no need to fear or doubt. Choose to live by faith and not fear.