Nobody panic, I’m not becoming the spokesperson for girls who aren’t serving missions. This may also apply to young men who aren’t serving! And maybe not every girl feels like this. But I’ve been in situations where I’ve seen girls struggle with the decision about a mission for reasons that they shouldn’t have to worry about. I’m not insecure in my decision, nor am I angry or offended. I’ve just seen so many girls, myself included, become discouraged because of these issues. Some say they don’t see the judgment happening, or that I shouldn’t have to address it. But it’s out there, and I feel like it needs to be addressed, if only so people can understand what it feels like. Also, I know that not everyone assumes things about girls going on missions, some people are very open and happy with anyone’s decision. This is just my rambling to those who I have come in contact with who don’t understand some of these things, and I want to clarify.
10 Things Girls Who Aren’t Serving Missions Want You To Know
1. We still love the Gospel. Yes, that’s right! Just because we aren’t dedicating a year and a half of our lives to solely preach the Gospel, doesn’t mean we aren’t dedicating every day of our lives to the Lord. We are looking for ways to help, serve, teach, and minister every single day. Even though we don’t wear a badge on our chest, we all have “badges painted on our heart” as Elder Nelson would say.
2. When you go on about how attractive sister missionaries are, how you’ll only marry an RM, and how much of a better mom a girl is who has served a mission, it can hurt our feelings. You probably don’t mean it to be offensive, but it is. We look at the path we’ve chosen as inferior in your eyes. We see our future children and wonder if you’re right about their mother and how less spiritual she’ll be. We wonder if we should go and serve solely because it will make us more attractive to you. We think our personal scripture study, the fulfilling of our callings, our desire to serve others, our teaching and helping those around us, isn’t enough. We’ll still be great wives and mothers, promise!
3. We appreciate it when you recognize those of us who haven’t served missions in your lessons/talks. We love missionary work. Honestly we do. What we don’t love, is feeling that we missed out on the only right option by choosing not to serve. The Church’s focus IS missionary work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a full-time mission. We love hearing about how to serve as a member and how to be an example to those around you no matter where you live. We’re not crazy about lessons detailing how every, single person should serve a mission, it’s always the best option, you’ll never be close to the spirit like you will be on a mission, asking people if they have a mission story they’d like to share, or saying “If you’ve served a mission, you understand this…” This can also offend guys who were worthy to serve, and weren’t able to.
4. We’ve prayed about our decision. I was a little taken back when a member of my ward asked me if I’d prayed about my decision to not serve. That’s a very personal, and very frustrating thing to be asked. So let me just put all your minds at ease, we’ve prayed about it. Or we’re praying about it. We’re going to be obedient to the answer we’ve been given, and hopefully that’s acceptable in your eyes.
5. We aren’t all looking to get married. Sometimes it seems there are two options; go on a mission or get married. Some of us aren’t doing either. Sure, we’re open to the idea of marriage, but we didn’t stay home from missions to get married right away. Some of us are focusing on school, careers, church service, and some of us were just plain told not to serve a mission and we’re making it our goal to be a tool in Heavenly Father’s hands, wherever he needs us. I’ll go where you want me to go, oh Lord…even if that means staying right here.
6. No two of us are the same. We have different goals, different reasons for not serving. Some sisters don’t have the desire to serve, and that’s ok! Some do have the desire, and couldn’t go for medical or other reasons, and that’s ok too! Some of us have the desire to serve, and through personal revelation realized that serving a mission was not part of our plan. And that’s ok too! Some of us are older, some of us are younger, it doesn’t matter! We’re all different, we all love the Gospel, and we’re all striving to be our best selves.
7. We appreciate when you’re proud of our accomplishments. Sometimes it’s hard to watch you get so excited when someone is submitting their mission papers, gets their call, or is heading out, and not be as excited for the good things we’re accomplishing. Sometimes, we feel like the things we’re doing aren’t important or wonderful. Help us see that going to school, getting that job, acing a test, or taking time out to help others, is exciting and important too.
8. We’re proud of our fellow sisters. We applaud them and their diligence, we appreciate them and we love them. We want to help the missionaries and show our support for them. We value their service as our sisters and we want them to accomplish great things. Our choosing not to go has no reflection on sister missionary service, or women’s place in the church for that matter.
9. We are busy. We probably aren’t busy in the same way full-time missionaries are, but we are busy! We’re going to school or working, serving in church callings, helping our families and friends, taking time for personal worship, reading, learning, growing, helping, teaching and a million other things!
10. We need your love!
Sometimes it’s easy to feel down, beaten, and inferior. We appreciate every single person who lifts us up, makes us smile, and helps us realize we aren’t alone. And we love you right back!