Learn How Change Can Empower You
One of the most important lessons you will learn when serving as a missionary is that change is a very good thing. After two months serving aboard the AFM there has been constant change with the crew but also the location too. In North America change is not always feared but it certainly is dreaded. Before coming over seas to serve in this mission that was the most common question or remark that I received; "That's a big change. Are you scared?". I can say with absolute uncertainty that I was both scared and excited. But that is the exciting part of change. In the days leading up to my departure my mom reminded me of a quote from Armageddon:
"I got that "excited/scared" feeling. Like 98% excited, 2% scared. Or maybe it's more. It could be, it could be 98% scared, 2% excited but that's what makes it so intense, it's so - confused. I can't really figure it out."
This is exactly how I felt and how most people feel about changes in their lives. The unknown is scary! That's not going to change so you have to get over that fear and dive head into that change. It's going to be uncomfortable and maybe a little sad but the beauty of it all is that you will grow and evolve into a stronger person. Then the next time you encounter change it'll be a little less frightening than before.
The thing about change is that it's inevitable. It is part of life and is something that you'll encounter no matter how hard you try to avoid it. It's one of many things people in North America try to avoid dealing with. Maybe, just maybe, the lack of dealing with it is why the society dreads the word 'change'. Just because it's painful doesn't mean that you should just forget about it or avoid it all together. If you do this you are just setting yourself up for more pain the next time change occurs. No matter how hard you try to avoid it or ignore it change will always come to greet you. When change does find you it is best to envelope it and take it on willingly. You only make it harder on yourself when you try to slam the metaphorical door on change.
There are reasons why change is so difficult you know! It's the foundation of personal growth. The scars from that growth are also a reminder to you when you have to go through change again. They prepare you for future change and begin to mold you into the person you were always meant to be. I have learned this over my short life and plan to continue to learn these lessons. No one, besides God, know everything but God uses the pain and the change to "give us a hope and a future". That quote is directly from my favourite verse of all time; Jeremiah 29:11 talks about how God gives us challenges to prepare us for something better.
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
When you live in a community constantly changing the scars you develop begin to add up. Yes, I have only been here for two months, but I already have scars from the changes. But that's not a bad thing! It can truly be a strength especially for later in life. Two months brings on a lot of change aboard the AFM. Initially it's getting used to leaving your life behind and essentially starting over. Then, as you make friends and grow your family on the ship, it's losing people or watching them move onto brighter and better things.
It is also important to remember to open up to new people when those whom you love depart. This is a lesson I am currently learning and working through. When a close friend on the AFM departs it is important to continue to open up to the community who is still on board. Don't harden your heart to those still around you just because they aren't the specific person you are missing. Let new people in even if they may leave too.
The thing about change that is often forgotten about is that you're never alone when you're going through it. It may feel like that, adding to the 2%/98% scared feeling, but you need to really focus on the people around you that are cheering you on and supporting you throughout the change in progress. Above all else, remember that God is your firm foundation and you can always count on him to be there for you through anything.
"The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Psalm 18:2
I was going to publish this without this aside but I think it's needed. I am currently getting over a depression in my life which is why there was no weekly post last week and hardly any daily posts. If you read my daily posts then you know that my best friend left the ship last weekend and that sent me into a depression that I wasn't expecting. I had to lean on God so much but now I'm starting to stabilize again. I'm so sorry for the lack of posts but I'm on the mend and will be better from this point forward.