Sometimes I think to myself, "Dang, I'm glad I don't have to worry about getting letters every week from my missionary. That must be hard always dealing with the anxiety of wondering if it'll arrive on the day you expect, or constantly checking the mailbox. Sure glad I don't have to deal with that."
Or, "Email chatting must be so hard.. Cuz you're constantly having to say 'bye' again." It's crazy to think though that those are all things I wanted SO desperately at one time.
Being a missionary girlfriend is all about perspective.
I can't emphasize that enough.
I like to think that I've had enough experience with this whole "waiting" thing to understand it a lot better than I did in the beginning. It's true, when Jared stopped writing letters every week it was hard. I got really sad. But I accepted it and made not receiving letters the new "normal" for me. And you know what? That made all the difference. I was able to change my perspective into a positive one. I decided that not getting them every week is almost like a blessing. I don't get anxious about checking the mail, I don't worry about what day it might show up, etc.. Now whenever I get a letter, it's an amazing surprise! My perspective completely changed. But it's not something that just happens. It's something you need to sit down and decide, "I am going to feel this way about this situation" and then work on it. Every single day.
I challenge you to pray and ask the Lord to help you view hard situations differently. I promise you He will. He wants you to be happy! But He wants you to do your part. It's okay to have those hard days that we all have every once in a while. Just the other night I spent in my bed with ice cream while watching A Walk to Remember and missing my sweetheart more than anything. That's fine. That's perfectly healthy. But if that's what you're doing all the time? Somethings gotta change or you are going to be miserable, and honestly? Your man might not even want to be with you when he gets home. Yeah, I just said that. It's SO important for us to be growing, and more important, for us to be happy. Happy people are the people who change the world :)
It's easy to say, "Well it's so hard to be happy when .......... is happening" but it's also easy to change your perspective.
When I started to change my perspective about not getting to email chat, not receiving letters or packages often, etc is when I saw the most blessings in my life. We had a lesson in relief society where they challenged us to pray and ask Heavenly Father to be able to see more blessings in our lives. And oh my gosh, it worked beyond what I imaged! My life has never felt so full of blessings, and so beautiful. The more you recognize your blessings, the more your trials and struggles will seem smaller and smaller.
The Power of Re framing Situations:
It's true that there are some missionary girlfriends who spend the whole two years trying to figure out how to get by without having their man there. The girls who don't know how to be happy without them. I was one of those girls at one point. But then there are the girls who know how to enjoy life, actually enjoy the wait, and wake up happy and ready to go out and change the world as best they can. I always wanted to be one of those happy girls. And although I'm still working on it, I know I'm definitely headed down that road because of the change in perspective I made. The power of re framing things cannot be overstated. There can be two girls, doing the exact same thing, same activity (not receiving letters, not getting along with his parents, not being able to be happy, etc..) But one of them feels sad or depressed, and the other one - with just a small change in perspective, feels wonderful.
Now one might ask, "Well how do I help myself change my perspective?" Well, there are lots of different ways.
What Should You Do?
- Don't talk about what makes you sad. If you don't receive letters often, don't vocally voice it. It's been proven that what you call your struggles actually effects how you react to them.
- Literally change the way you think about "waiting." I don't even like that word. I like to say, preparing. For example, say you're driving and you come up to a toll crossing and have to pay a decent amount of money just to cross and continue on your way. It could be easy to get upset and wonder why you need to pay money to the government just to help with stupid things that don't effect you, like public transportation or something. Now lets pretend the toll booth on the very left is an express lane. You have to pay twice as much to go through, but all the money you pay goes to a charity of your choice. More people are likely to chose the one that gives to charity, even though they're paying more money. Now what's my point with this example? Everyone still has to pay to get through the toll crossing. But the perspective on where their money is going to is what makes the difference between happy people and upset people. Now apply this principal to our "waiting" or I like to say, "preparing" process. Look at WHY you support your missionary. WHY he's out there serving, and the more you think about that, the more you realize what it is he's truly doing, it becomes that much easier to be happy and see it as a blessing more than as a sacrifice.
- Don't. Get. Discouraged. I'm not saying to run around and dance like a fairy all the time because life is so good. It's totally normal to have those bad days, like I said. But when things that normally get you discouraged start happening more than once, don't let yourself keep getting down. Remember that there's always a better way to look at the situation. Here's a wonderful example :)
I'd just like to end with these two videos because I think they're pretty great :) I just want to reiterate that YOU have the power to change the way you think and react to what might seem like trials or struggles. I think sometimes the Lord hands us what we might think is a trial. I like to imagine the Lord handing me a lump of clay. At first it looks impossible. "What am I supposed to do with this? That other girl got a barbie. And I got a lump of clay?" I might ask. But the Lord might just want to see what I come up with and how to handle the "trial." I could sit there and cry about having clay and no barbie, or I could get out my tools, and create the most beautiful sculpture :) and if it's not beautiful? At least I will have tried. Because it's my clay. My sculpture. And I can do whatever I want with it. The Lords plan is always better than our own, and sometimes His plan looks a lot like a lump of clay. How I use it, and what I do with it, is all up to me. We all only get one lump of clay. How will you look at yours?
Pray to Heavenly Father and ask him to be able to see more blessings in your life, and ask for help to change your perspective about hard situations. He will help you.
You could live life like this:
or by changing your perspective, you could live like this:)