We are swamped, overwhelmed, and stretched to our utmost capacity. Many of us simply do not have anything in the tank to give to others.
A couple years ago, I went through a period of severe trial. There were months and months of barely dragging myself to church each week because I was over-my-head: dealing with depression, heartache, and loneliness. Somehow, I drug myself through this time of darkness, but, if I’m honest, I saw some ugly aspects of our Mormon culture during this experience.
I learned that we don’t actually do, we talk.
“I thought about you all week. How are you doing?”
Well, now that it’s Sunday and I’ve drug myself here, smile plastered on my face, guess I’m doing okay. Could really have used you actually coming to my home and visiting with me, because I don’t feel like going into the garbage life has thrown at me right here in the hallway … but, yeah, so good that you “thought about” me all week … that was … really comforting.
“I could see that you were struggling this last couple of weeks, but I was just so busy! You okay?”
Busy. Here’s the thing about this lovely word BUSY that we all like to define our success in life by: we’re not too busy for the things that we want. If it means enough to us, we make time for it. Period.
Now, I completely understand that life is full and there are many, many demands pulling at us, but the fact of the matter is: we show our priorities by where we put our time. If my well being/friendship meant enough to you, you would make me a priority. I would have a deeper place in your heart.
As a follower of Christ, we need to define ourselves with words other than BUSY. We are devoted. We are compassionate. We are a covenant people.
My son is an eighteen-year-old missionary, with a companion barely out of the MTC (less than two weeks). They have made a commitment to a deeper relationship with Christ for two years. Life has not yet seasoned either of them—no marriage, no career, no children to provide those life experiences that teach wisdom (& humor!)
So why then did a woman call my son and his companion to be there at her side as she cries over a broken life? Or why does a man, desperately seeking counsel on which direction he should take his life, ask these young men for prayers and help?
Our missionary is young and inexperienced and these people are decades older than himself. Why, when their lives are at the bottom of the barrel, are they calling my son for comfort and counsel?
I am sure these individuals have family and friends that have been in their lives for far longer than the few weeks my son has been serving in that area. I am sure there are qualified and trained professionals available for counseling. Yet, in their time of pain and loneliness, they reach for the missionaries. Why?
Missionaries emanate the light of Christ. Those who are struggling may not know exactly why they are reaching out to the missionaries for love, acceptance, and support in their time of hardship. Yet, during some of their life’s darkest moments, they are reaching out to our young men and women.
Like metal to a magnet, these besieged individuals are drawn to the light of Christ and love of Christ that the missionaries emanate.
Thinking about this made me dig down deeper within myself to give more. Am I smack in the middle of summer vacation with three kids needing to be here, there, and everywhere? Absolutely. Is life (and my home) in a constant state of semi-chaos, verging on all-out pandemonium? Again, yes.
However, I promised my Heavenly Father that I would watch out for my fellow brothers and sisters. I promised that I would bear their burdens and be there for them in deed, as well as in word.
I want my countenance to emanate the Savior’s love so that those who are struggling are drawn to me when they need comfort. I want to be an answer to someone’s prayer. That will only happen if I make space in my life and heart … if I truly allow the Savior’s love to have a deeper presence in my life.
It probably won’t always be color-coordinated service, but it will be genuine and that is what people are seeking. There is enough on Pinterest to satisfy any theme-desperate privation … people need unpretentious and honest connecting and caring.
Missionaries are doing a phenomenal job in serving and loving. Let’s do a better job at doing so ourselves.
Growing up all over the world gave Emlee Taylor an opportunity to see the incredible differences the Lord created in humanity; and even better, the passions we all share as members of the human race: love for family, faith, & a desire to make a difference. Emlee lives life with passion—focusing her time now on raising four children and teaching them to recognize truth and to live true to that truth, regardless of others’ expectations. Emlee is passionately in love with her bestest friend and husband of more than 20 years.