Sunday, July 3, 2011

Lessons from the Mission.

Thirteen years ago this week, I returned from my mission. I remember feeling like I would never forget the lessons I learned, and many of them I haven't. But one very important lesson I had forgotten, until today.

Whenever God's children try to do something right and good, they might be met with opposition. As a missionary, when someone chose to be baptized, I saw this so often—suddenly she was tempted with things she didn't even know were weaknesses. It's been said that Satan knows our weaknesses and he exploits them anyway he can. And I fell victim to that today.

One of my biggest weaknesses is assuming men do not like the way I look. I come by it honestly—more than one boy has broken up with me and given my looks or my weight as the reason why.

After a particularly rough day at church, I walked to my car, and this principle came to my mind: just like Satan tries to keep people from choosing to be baptized, or go to church, or make simple right choices, he was exploiting my deep-seeded self-loathing to keep me from opening my heart to a good man.

As I reflect on the past couple of days, I can see clearly how it happened—how the thought was planted, how it grew, and how I felt strangled by it by the day's end. And when I floated my theory past my sister this afternoon—that the adversary was pitting me against myself to sabotage a potentially good thing—she said, “I had that thought last night.”

“Why didn't you tell me then?” I asked.

“Would you have listened to it?” she countered.

Good point. I may have, I may have not. But making that connection on my own was certainly more powerful than hearing it from my sister. Finding a spouse is a good thing, an important thing, a righteous thing. So of course Satan would want to thwart that any way he can.

I don't want to give him the satisfaction.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this ... I needed it tonight! I'm in my early 40's ... LDS ... never married. Did a good amount of dating when I was inactive in my 20's, but haven't done much since I returned to church at the age of 30 - esp in the last 6 or 7 years.

I do the same thing as you seem to: talk myself out of believing that anyone could actually be interested in me (mostly due to my own insecurities about my appearance - also, mostly weight-related).

I met a guy on a plane earlier this week - he lives in my same area. After we landed and got off of the plane he surprised me by giving me his name and # and said he'd like to get together sometime - and then we stood and talked for 30 more minutes before I had to meet another family member at her gate.

I haven't had a guy show interest in me, in person, in probably over 10 years. So, I was quietly excited about his interest at first, but as some days have passed, I've been talking myself out of the whole thing - he seems too normal and nice-looking to actually be interested in getting to know me better.

However ... after reading your post, I am not going to let myself fall into that trap! Maybe nothing at all will come of it, but I am going to make an effort to get in touch with him this week and trust that he wouldn't have made such an effort if he wasn't actually interested.

Thanks, again, for your post! : )

Anne Elliot said...

Anon--I am so excited for you! Go for it! I've missed out on opportunities before because I just can't fathom a man being interested (once I was even hit on in a supermarket and skittered away like a spooked deer). But if the conversation is fascinating, it's a good bet he finds you fascinating too. Good luck!