Sister Missionaries and the Decision to Serve

studying

Marriage or a mission, the infamous question for every girl. Which will you choose? Should you do both? I know it’s a big decision. I’ve been where you are. I remember the process: prayer, fasting, scriptures – a pleading heart for one answer. As you are planning for the future, you may discover an answer quickly or perhaps it will test your patience. Nonetheless, here are a few thoughts I felt could help.

Your Gift

No matter your decision, Heavenly Father wants you to choose. He grants you the gift of agency with an invitation to seek for answers with Him. He’s given you all the resources to make the right choice, especially for major decisions like serving a mission or getting married. Is it hard? Yes, because you must diligently work through all these resources to find your answer.

As you read the different scenarios and thoughts, keep in mind that your needs are different than others, and an answer for you can be as well. Heavenly Father knows you. He will speak to you in a way you’ll understand. Dallin H. Oaks says it beautifully,

“When a choice will make a real difference in our lives… and when we are living in tune with the Spirit and seeking his guidance, we can be sure we will receive the guidance we need to attain our goal. The Lord will not leave us unassisted.”[1]

Trust him and act upon the promptings He sends your way.

Should I stay?

We all have personal missions in this life, some of which may include proselyting/service missions for the Church. Yet, there are also other amazing opportunities that don’t include a black plaque with our name inscribed upon it. Marriage is among these great options. Let’s think about two situations:

Two, not one.

You’ve started dating someone and it’s going really well. You’ve also celebrated a birthday, and are eligible to serve a mission. “What do you do?”

If your man inspires you to be the best “You” or there’s potential in your relationship, continue dating him. Great relationships are hard to come by. Move forward with faith. Unless you feel it’s necessary to end things and serve a mission, seeking for a temple marriage is the noblest priority. God will help you understand your path, but you must work to understand His will. Keep an open heart.

Excited for two.

Prince charming hasn’t swept you off your feet yet. In fact, there are no potential prospects, but you continue to prepare to get married. Time passes. You’re still waiting for the magical words, “Will you marry me?” Still no sign of your knight. Does this this mean you should plan on a mission and start your papers?

Timing is critical. It’s easy to be impatient, especially living in an, “I want it now” society. You may meet your prince tomorrow; it could be in two months or perhaps two years. I caution all sisters who assume that their “single status” is answered by serving a mission. A mission is not mandatory for sisters, and should not be the solution to console the woes of a frustrated love life.

Three things to keep in mind:

  1. Desire. You must have a desire to go above all other things.
  2. Patience. Being single may help you consider a mission, and you should open your heart to it. However, God asks us to be long-suffering, and in your case you may need to have other experiences before you marry or before serving a mission.
  3. Faith. Look to the Savior for guidance. Ask Him where you need to be, what you need to do, and how you can achieve your goals. Trust Him and His will. It’s not easy to do this. It’s a lifelong journey, but at this point in your life remember, “…The Lord is aware of you as individuals and of your particular circumstances. He will bless you. He will assist you in bringing to pass that which is right and which you righteously desire. Please have faith.”[2] Do all that He asks you to do.

Should I go?

Serving a mission is an incredible opportunity. You will learn more about the Savior and yourself as you dedicate 18 months to His service. Begin with a desire. Let it take you to answers that will mold your future with the Lord’s hand. I feel like these situations are the most common among sister missionaries.

I’ve always wanted to go.

The primary song, “I hope they call me on a mission” coins your feelings exactly. You’ve been itching to serve, waiting for the prime age. You’re living worthily and preparing to share the gospel. Keep on going girl! The “field is white and all ready to harvest.” Heavenly Father needs valiant, able sisters to reach the prepared hearts in locations all over the world.

Pray and seek the Father’s approval in your decision to serve. He will confirm that it is right for your future, and when you feel that peace and confidence move forward with faith.

I feel like I should go.

I don’t know why, but I have this feeling inside of me, inviting me to serve a mission.

The Lord speaks to us in a variety of ways, the majority of which are subtle promptings. If you are feeling like you should serve a mission, ask yourself “Why?” Are the feelings coming from God, from your situation in life, from family pressure? If you feel like you should serve, the answers to your prayers will direct you to start your mission papers. Move forward with faith and know that God is guiding you. In fact, these precious feelings will carry you through difficult moments when you are on the mission. Don’t delay, start your papers.

Can I do both?

There is time to serve a mission and get married. Both are righteous and holy opportunities that will stretch and help you grow into a more refined daughter of God. The decision comes down to YOU. As I mentioned earlier, you get to choose your future. When I need to make a big decision I frequently do this:

Decision Making

  1. Analyze my options (D&C 8&9)
  2. Read Alma 17. Apply these principles
    1. Fast. Study Diligently. Pray fervently.
    2. Make a decision and move forward with faith.

Final Thoughts.

You choose…You choose whether or not a mission is right for you. No matter your decision, live worthily to serve a mission or get married in the temple. Living these correct principles will strengthen you and help you become your best self. God will aid you in these important decisions. Seek him, act upon the promptings of the Spirit. He will guide you and fill you with His peace.

Other Suggested Reading Materials

Young Women and the Mission Decision

The Honored Place of Woman

References