Sunday, January 23, 2011

Introducing Mission 2011

Mission 2010: Say YES to Adventures was a success beyond my wildest expectations. A general policy of ignoring inhibitions and experiencing new things opened my eyes, my heart, my perspective. At the risk of sounding cliche, it really did change my life.

And that leads me to Mission 2011. The same concept. Put aside inhibitions. Ignore all the excuses we, for some silly reason, seem trained to come up with any time an opportunity comes before us that is in the slightest bit uncomfortable, unfamiliar, or difficult. Just say YES. Do it.

Mission 2011 is Say YES to Service.

A bit more challenging than Mission 2010, I admit, but isn't that the point? Exploration. Growth. A push to be something better. But really, this is challenging. Service is a broad topic. It encompasses everything from organized service projects, to helping a friend or neighbor in need, to offering directions to the person who looks lost on the street, to volunteering to be the one who gets off the couch to grab snacks during movie night. If it involves doing something for another person, it's service. It counts. Just like if it was something I had never done before, it counted as an adventure.

So this leads me to my recent big revelation (no really, I mean that). Last Sunday I attended a Fireside where the speaker presented an interesting challenge. He suggested that we go an entire week without asking Heavenly Father for a single thing for ourselves. Nothing at all related to our own self interest. Instead, ask, "Who can I help? How can I help them?" I felt like this would be a good experiment for me, given the whole Mission 2011 thing. So, I put in one final plea for myself, which was that Heavenly Father teach me whatever lesson I needed to learn from this, and the self-interested requests stopped there. And so my experimental prayer week commenced. As the first few days went by, however, I never did feel entirely comfortable with it.

Then, the other night, I was listening to The Mormon Channel (my new favorite thing ever, btw), and they were playing an old BYU Devotional given by Elder Holland. In classic Elder Holland style, it was a powerful message about the Savior - following Him, becoming like Him, trusting in His love for us and allowing Him to take away our sorrows. He talked about how much we matter to our Savior. Because he loves us so perfectly, what matters to us matters to Him.

Then I realized why the whole prayer thing wasn't sitting
right with me. It's okay for me to talk to Heavenly Father about me, because he really cares about me. If it matters to me - even in the smallest way, even if its something that probably isn't really that significant in the whole eternal scheme of things - it matters to Him. And it makes Him happy when I come to Him and talk to Him about it.

If it matters to me, it matters to Him.

So that means...

If it matters to that random guy on the street, it matters to the Savior. Because He loves that guy. And, what matters to my Savior, matters to me. Because I love Him, and have covenanted to follow Him and be a part of His work.

That is Christlike love. That is charity. It's all about what really matters to you. We all know that we should love everyone around us because they are God's children and our brothers and sisters in God's family. But, I think it's hard to figure out how to actually, honestly do that. I think this is the answer.

What matters to "that guy" matters to my Savior. Therefore, what matters to "that guy" matters to me.

And that's why I say YES to serving "that guy." In whatever way he needs. Even if it doesn't make sense to me why it's important. If it matters to him, it matters to my Savior, so it matters to me.

Less than a month in, Mission 2011 has been revised. No, enhanced. Say YES to Loving Service.

Because that's what it's about - caring,
loving, letting that person really matter to you.

Have I mentioned how awesome it is how God answers prayers?


angela michelle said...

I totally agree that the apparent selfishness of talking about our own needs in prayer illuminates God's love for each of us, which in turn illuminates why service is so essential. You're a wise woman, Ruthie. I bet this will be an even more life-changing year for you. Can't wait to hear more!

Heather said...

Amazing! You've made me want to do the same thing :) Hopefully I can have as much success as you do. Love you Ruthie! Oh and you should post more :) I like to read what you write.

Kate said...

Hooray for a post!! And a powerful and moving and beautiful post at that. Good luck with Mission 2011. You are amazing!

Rachel said...

Another mission to keep you going and inspired. Yeah for you hope the best comes out of it. The thing about this one is that it will help you grow spiritually as well which is awesome. Love you!!

Rebecca said...

I love this post! What a wonderful insight into prayer, service, and your place in the world. And I second Heather's comment -- post more often! (not that I'm one to speak...)