..Now, now, when I say hard, I don't mean tolling, exhausting, and difficult -- of course it is, work is work! -- I mean that feeling you have when you're trying to make the best decision and you're just.. unsure. You sway left and right, and hesitate to choose.. always looking to someone else to approve your decision and help you feel like you're doing the right thing. That's a feeling that gets us a lot of the time. I'm sure you can relate -- nobody enjoys the feeling of uncertainty or inadequacy.I've found that one of the most important things I've learned on my mission is the philosophy to "Just Do It" as Nike might say, or "Just Swing" in a golfer's perspective. ..Let's work with the latter. Imagine you've got your 9-Iron (not really sure what this club is for, it just sounds cool -- I'm no golfer) and you're trying to perfect your swing. I imagine there are probably a million things you've got to do simultaneously in order to have a really nice (and successful) swing. Feet shoulder width apart, hands in the right position, shoulders, arms, back, ... I'm sure you know better than I do, but I think we both get the picture. Now, put yourself back in the shoes of an amateur, who -- since the swing makes the game, really-- is taking lessons in order to achieve the best swing possible. You practice day in and day out, but since you're overwhelmed by the millions of simultaneous demands to have a perfect swing, you become incredibly frustrated and want to give up. You walk over to your instructor , who is keeping an awfully close eye on you, and tell him you want to quit. ..Then, your instructor tells you, "Hey, I think you're right. You should stop taking lessons." ..A little taken back, you're not sure what to say - though he continues to speak and you start to understand. "Leave these lessons, it's obviously stressing you out. I think you oughta just go play on a real course, by yourself. Take a friend or two if you want, and just go do one thing for me; Swing, swing, swing. That's it. Don't give any care as to where the ball goes, just swing. I think you'll enjoy the game a lot better that way."
..The last sentence gets to you a little bit as you think of how the lessons and 'game' you've been experiencing are the furthest feeling from "enjoyment" you could imagine, but you take your instructor's advice.
So, you take a friend, and hit the course. ..And all you do is swing. Swing, swing, swing. You feel silly as you seem to hit every single sandtrap, and seem to be on a professional level when it comes to placing balls directly in the middle of the lake, but even with so much time spent in the rough, you manage to land a few on the fairway and eventually make it to the hole. You think back on the times where your friend died laughing because of your silly form, or how many people you almost killed when you "just swung" and accidentally let go of your club. ..But, over time, by "just swinging", your body starts to understand how hard you need to swing to get it out of the rough, and back onto the course, at which angle you need to throw your club when things land in the sandtrap and you don't want to hit any innocent bystanders, and how to make the best of things when balls continue to somehow gravitate into the lake "on their own". It might take time, but as you continue to get out and swing, you start to be less afraid of what "might" happen, and more focused on what you "want" to happen. And, at that point, you know how many swings it takes for you to get to the hole. You know how the weather conditions affect your gameplay, you know what a hole-in-one feels like, and you start to realize that you're not thinking about all of the components in your swing -- but rather, focusing on how your own, unique swing affects everything else.
In that moment, the game changes. It doesn't become so much about being perfect -- but rather seeing the results of your swing.
..At a mission conference two weeks ago, President Maynes form the Presidency of the Seventy came to speak to us. One thing he said really stood out to me. He said, "Missionaries, remember the worth of one.”
I super love you all (super is now my most frequently used adjective..)
And hope you have the best week ever!! Just swing!!