Tuesday, November 12, 2013

That's Just the Way I Am

The Human race seems hell bent on destroying itself one way or another. Perhaps that's the major reason we need God in the first place. The guy can't turn his back without us running off some proverbial cliff or starting some war somewhere. Every day in the news we hear something about a shooting, armed robbery, homicide, abortion, chemical weapons, the list goes on and on. If it wasn't for the tender mercies of God and a sufficient amount of 'Good' people, the human race would have self destructed eons ago like a snake eating it's own tail. 

There is nothing so discouraging in life than to hear the phrase, "That's just the way I am." Especially as a missionary because nothing else conveys such a profound sense of hopelessness on their part or evoke as much frustration on mine. We as missionaries are here to help people change their lives for the better and everyone can through living the Gospel of Christ. I know for a fact that anyone can make changes to their lives and improve. So imagine what it must feel like when someone tells me that they cannot change because that's "Just they way they are." It's the greatest form of self condemnation that I've ever heard. 

I understand that there is a part of us that will never change despite years, growth, or maturity. Our personalities are as permanent a part of our lives as the shape of our noses because they reflect the eternal soul that dwells within. Despite the changes of view on politics, or our maturity as we go through experience, at our very cores, we are the same people from when we were born to when we die. I feel that's a fear of a lot of people that undertake something that requires them to change, that they'll lose that spark of what makes them... well... them. However, I know for a fact that that's not the case. 

My first week or so in the mission, I absolutely dreaded what I would become. I feared that I would change and become a person that I didn't want to be. I saw the robotic personalities of missionaries around me, how everyone expected me to act a certain way. That there was a right way and a wrong way to act and if you didn't act the right way, you would be cast out into outer darkness where there's weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Granted I was terrified of the social norms in the MTC but in the beginning of my mission, I saw my flaws as an integral part of who I was. In the beginning I repeated to myself  "That's just the way I am." and I'll never change. 

God has accurately been compared to a gardener. A master of his vineyard. Like anyone with a garden and a green thumb. He wants the best out of the plants that he grows. He wants them to be tall, green, and bear a lot of fruit when the harvest comes. Therefore He'll do all he can to prune, shear, cut, and trim his plants so that they grow according to His desired manner and fulfill the vision that He has for them. Gardening is rarely a gentle process for the plants, but you'll never hear a barren berry bush exclaim "That's just the way I am." when God expects it to yield fruit. 

As I got into the work and started to develop an actual testimony of the gospel rather than having a sideline basic knowledge of what repentance was, I realized that despite the changes that we go through in life. We remain the same at our core. I still have the quirks and thought process that I did when I was sixteen but now I've become a more refined and mature individual even though I'm still... me. The process wasn't easy, nor was it particularly enjoyable at times, but it was well worth it and will continue to be worth it. It also taught me that there's no such thing as "That's just the way I am." We can always become better. 

No comments:

Post a Comment