As promised weeks ago, here is the next installment of life as a missionary, a.k.a. Mish Life!
Back in September (which now feels like ages ago), I wrote that missionary life, or as we FOCUS missionaries call it, mish life, was really stretching me in my ability to adjust to last minute schedule changes, talk to people I don’t know, and actually let God be the source of my strength. Here we are, nearly halfway through our first semester as missionaries, and I am most definitely still being stretched.
Last Minute Schedule Changes
I am super Type A and I love my schedule. It is also one of the ways that my introversion comes out: I need to know about events and meetings in advance in order to be able to mentally prepare for them. Springing last minute things on me that involve being around – gasp – other people really throws me off my game, as a person, and especially as a mom (trust me, Monkey can get super duper whiny when she’s off her schedule). Since becoming a missionary there have been plenty of last minute schedule changes. In a way, it forces me to let go and trust that God knows what He is doing (duh), but it has also challenged me in my ability to say no.
If you looked up “people pleaser” in the dictionary, you could probably find my picture next to it. Saying no has never been a strength of mine. However, being a mom, and simply being myself, means that I’ve had to learn to say no to things. No, I can’t come (or find a last minute sitter) to come to X event. No, I’m not okay with changing the schedule for the entire day because doing so will leave me stressed beyond belief for days to come. No, I’m not okay with giving up our day off to attend this ‘rad’ event. I’ve had to learn that saying no, while it may not be the most people pleasing option, also saves my sanity and makes me a better missionary, wife, and mother. Saying no occasionally allows my yes to be more firm and meaningful, rather than simply saying yes to every little thing that comes my way.
Talking To People
There’s this thing we do called barehanding and it is so far beyond my comfort zone that words can’t begin to describe it. Basically, we go out on campus (a 20,000 person campus) and talk to people about our upcoming events/faith/prayer/etc. We’ve been told that its best to approach people who are either by themselves or with one other person. I’m an introvert and feeling like I’m encroaching on other introverts who are by themselves and/or trying to study. Is what I have to say important? Eternally – and that’s the reason that keeps me going, even though trying to make small talk with strangers is basically time off of purgatory for me. Out of my comfort zone and into His arms, right?
God as My Strength
There’s not a day I would make it through if not for God. On an intellectual level, I know that, but moving out here – away from friends, family, and my usual, well-loved support system – has put that head knowledge to the test. Do I really rely on Him? Can He be the rest for my weary soul when my back is aching and Monkey is asking to be picked up, despite her growing size and my growing belly? Do I run to Him when the schedule changes for the thousandth time and I feel left out somehow? I’ve seen the answers go both ways – times when I’ve trusted and relied on Him and times when I haven’t. Guess what? Life is better when I trust Him, pipe my whiny behind down, and draw on His strength. His strength is more than enough for me.