WARNING: This is really long and may make me sounds super dramatic READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
This has been by far, the hardest decision I've ever made. Granted, I feel like I haven't had to make too many tough decisions but this hands down has been the most difficult. For some girls the decision to go was easy. Some of my friends made the decision in a matter of minutes. For me, this was not the case.
As I mentioned before in my previous post, I had never had a strong desire to serve a mission. In fact I didn't think that would even be an option for me since I was for sure going to be married or in a serious relationship before I turned 21. (reality check. Really?! Married by 21? HA! What was I thinking? Apparently I had a lot of confidence in my dating abilities..) But that perspective changed when the mission age was lowered.
I felt the spirit so strong as President Monson made the announcement. I immediately felt a love for God and His children, and suddenly I had this urge to serve. All I want to do with my life is serve Him. But I knew that serving Him didn't necessarily mean serving a mission.
I knew that going on a mission was never a bad thing. But I didn't know if going on a mission was the best thing for me.
Now this is where things started to get complicated. and by complicated I mean emotional meltdowns, a wonderful boyfriend, unstable friends, my dad lost his job, stupid boys, countless tears, and one really confused Mallory. (as if my life wasn't dramatic enough)
Shortly after the October General Conference , There seemed to be a significant change in the Mormon/BYU culture. I felt like every 19 and 20 year old girl had decided to leave. Not that this was necessarily a bad thing but I felt like (at least in my freshman ward) you definitely stood out if you weren't hopping on the bandwagon and submitting your papers. (I'm sure this wasn't all of BYU but I definitely felt this way in my own ward.)
At this point I wasn't getting a real clear answer whether or not I was suppose to go, I had assumed that I wasn't because unlike many other girls I didn't have a strong spiritual prompting telling me that I need to go.
So I tried my best to continue living life like nothing had happened. I registered for classes for the following fall semester, I signed a housing contract, got a job, and prepared myself to continue with my educational goals.
But I wasn't happy. I wasn't satisfied with what I was doing. Missionary work was constantly on my mind. I love the gospel. I've seen how it changes lives. I wanted to do nothing more than share it.
I was so confused. I felt like if Heavenly Father wanted me on a mission he would make it more clear to me.
I had decided that God needed me somewhere else and that a mission wasn't in my plan. Unfortunately I felt like people expected me to go and they seemed disappointed when I told them that I wasn't going. I hate disappointing people. I felt like people were judging me. (I'm sure people weren't and I'm just being dramatic but this how I felt.)
Other girls who I had talked to who had also chosen not to go were so peaceful with their decision. I couldn't understand why I wasn't. Why couldn't I find peace and move on with my life? All I thought about was missions and missionary work. I was obsessed. I spent hours on youtube watching people open mission calls. I included Preach My Gospel in my scripture study. I spent hours talking to my roommates having "What IF I went on a mission" conversations. I felt like all we talked about in Sacrament Meeting and Sunday School was Missionary work. Basically I couldn't get it out of my mind.
I was so FREAKING CONFUSED!
Why couldn't I get a clear answer? And If my answer was "No" Why couldn't I move on?
I was pretty emotional and this was a really touchy subject. It was hard to keep from tearing up whenever my friends talked about how excited they were to serve mission, or when professors and church leaders would mention how great it was that the MTC was packed full with missionaries. I really didn't think I could take it anymore.
And then BOOM!
It happened, I lost it.
I was sitting in the back of my living prophets class when I overheard a discussion between two guys. They started talking about what they were looking for in a future wife. And they started talking about sister missionaries. And then he said it. "I'm not even going to look at a girl unless she has been on a mission." to this his buddy replied "Yeah, obviously if she hasn't been on a mission she must either be unrighteous, or unworthy."
I completely lost it. I excused myself from the class and cried all the way back to my apartment. Was my decision not to serve going to prevent me from finding a husband? I was so upset. I knew and understood that sisters were/are NOT under the same mandate to serve missions. But it was so hard for me to accept the fact that others didn't understand this. I didn't want people to think anything less of me for not serving. And more importantly I didn't want to think anything less of myself.
Then a wise friend told me "You do not want a Man who's standard is higher than God's" And then it hit me. It didn't matter what other people thought of me. It didn't matter what other people said or how they acted around me because all that mattered was that I was making this decision for me, and that it was what God wanted me to do. (duh.. I can't believe it took me months to figure that out)
But because I still hadn't had a huge spiritual prompting I still felt like staying back was the right thing for me. I was tried to accept it but I wasn't at peace with it.
Of course missionary work was still on my mind, but I knew that I needed to work harder at focusing on other aspects of my life and try my best to move on.
So what did I do? Got myself a boyfriend...best. distraction. ever.
For the most part I was happy. And even though I was having fun with my friends and my boyfriend, missions were still on my mind.
I was sitting in my Sunday School class and of course the lesson was on missionary work. I sat back and tried to tune out but then we were asked to turn to our Scriptures in Doctrine and Covenants Section 4 and we read all of the verses but this one stuck out to me.
"Therefore, if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work;"
I had a desire to serve. Thats all I wanted to do. Am I really called to the work?
I got excited thinking about the idea. I could help so many people, This would change so many lives. This will change my life.
I prayed and prayed hoping that God would give me an answer but I still didn't feel like it was necessarily the right choice.
As I was on the phone talking to my mom I was discussing my future plans. I told her how I wanted to do a internship in Romania and how I wanted to spend a summer backpacking through Europe. I had it all planned out and was very excited about it until she said, "Those sound like nice plans but what about a mission?" ugh.. you can guess what happened. Tears, and lots of them. My mother was one of the few who was super supportive in my decision to Not go, and yet here I was again venting about my life problems again. After our conversation I began to entertain the idea again. I could go on a mission. I could put my education on pause. I could at least start preparing.
Later that night my friends and I were chillin at my apartment. I was sitting on the couch with the boyfriend, stalking people on facebook while my roommate and her boyfriend decided to watch a 20min youtube video of people from her high school opening mission calls. As each person started reading off where they were going I started crying (Seriously I'm surprised that I still had tears by this point) again. My boyfriend notice and looked at me straight in the eye and said. "Mallory, you really need to follow your heart on this one. If you want to go just go. Heavenly Father will not let you make a wrong choice without letting you know."
And that's when I realized that it was my choice. (duh.) Heavenly Father wanted me to make the choice. He gave me intelligence and smart mind so that I could study it out. That night as I studied my scriptures I read Doctrine and Covenants Section 9: 8-9 "But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought..." I felt like someone turned the light bulb on because the whole deciding not go and not feeling at peace with it was my "stupor of thought" (haha gosh as I'm writing this I feel like such an idiot.. its fine).
I went home for a week shortly after this epiphany and thought about it some more, talked to my parents and decided to take a leap of faith and work on my papers.
I still wasn't 100 percent sure if a mission was the right thing, which is one of the reasons why I kept it on the down low. I felt good about it as I was filling out my papers. It made me happy to think that I could potentially go on a mission. But it wasn't until I went down to the mailbox and had the envelope in my hand when I knew that I was doing the right thing. :)
Anyway thats my story. I'm really impressed if you read all that!
Love always, Mallory