Recently a missionary shared his experience of listening in Zone Conference to the testimonies of missionaries completing their missions and going home. He said, “I am at the halfway point in my mission and I thought that listening to those testimonies would have made me feel a little sad that I am not going home yet. But, to my surprise, those testimonies inspired and motivated me to continue to work hard.”
Another missionary who goes home next week said she felt both happy and sad. She is happy to go home and get her education and move into the next phase of her life, but she is also sad to leave her companion, the people she is teaching, and the spirit she has felt as a missionary.
Not long ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to view the funeral services for a ward member back home. This good sister, age 88, passed away peacefully with her family around her. She and her husband served faithfully in the church throughout their lives and, as senior missionaries, they served four missions.
Each of these experiences helps us learn and appreciate where we are in the season of our lives. How do we feel about where we are now and where we are headed?
In a Young Adult devotional, President Russell M. Nelson (then an apostle) gave a talk about “Faith and Families.” (February 6, 2005). He asked everyone to do some soul-searching by asking these questions: “What do you see in yourself 50 years from now? What do you want to be 50 years from now? What do you really want, most of all, 50 years from now?”
We can ask the same questions ourselves. What do we see in ourselves in 18 or 24 months? Or in one year or five years or ten years? What do we want to be? What do we really want, most of all, by the end of our mortal experience?
President Nelson continued: “When we married in the temple, we didn’t know many scriptures. But we did know Matthew 6:33: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” As mentioned earlier, that became the lodestar for every decision we made together. Only years later did we learn that the Joseph Smith Translation of that verse was even more compelling and clear: “Seek not the things of this world but seek ye first to build up the kingdom of God, and to establish his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you” (JST, Matthew 6:38). We have been guided well by that scripture! …”
How can we apply the counsel President Nelson gave to the young adults? He said that “Against the backdrop of spiritual decay [in today’s world], you young adults of the Church enter the stage. You have a firm foundation of faith. You are role models … You know what’s right and what’s wrong! You hold the line! You know the Lord’s teachings… You are the “Hope of Israel, Zion’s army, Children of the promised day.” You have far more spiritual power than we did at your age. As you go forward on life’s battlefield, you are numbered with “the covenant people of the Lord, . . . scattered upon all . . . the earth; . . . armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory” (1 Nephi 14:14). We are very, very proud of you!”
May the Lord continue to bless us in every season of our life as we help build up His kingdom and prepare for the Second Coming of His Beloved Son.
[Please note: The ideas contained in these articles are tools and suggestions for self-care, but they are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a qualified mental health professional. In addition, if you are experiencing thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please seek medical or mental health assistance immediately. In the U.S., call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or use the Lifeline Chat at 988lifeline.org/chat/. Services are free and confidential.]