Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Keeping your head (and heart) in the game

"The most successful athletes are not always those who are the physically strongest or the most gifted or skilled. More often they are those who are mentally and emotionally prepared for the challenging situations that arise in any athletic contest. They know how to work through difficulties, keep focused in the face of distractions, and stay positive when adversity strikes."


Ideas that help when facing challenges

1. Even the prophets have had to overcome challenges to complete their missions.

The prophet Enoch felt so inadequate that he wondered how the Lord could have chosen him for his mission (see Moses 6:31). When he was a teenager just beginning his ministry, the Prophet Joseph Smith encountered bitter persecution from his neighbors (see Joseph Smith—History 1:22). Enos had to struggle mightily to repent (see Enos 1:2). Yet none of these challenges prevented these prophets from successfully completing their missions.

2. Adjusting to your mission will be a process. You will experience highs and lows.

Initially, you should expect some stress as you adjust to being in a new and challenging environment. As your mission continues, other difficulties will inevitably arise. If you do not understand this, you may become frustrated or discouraged when you and your mission do not measure up to some imagined ideal.

3. Sharing a concern with another—a companion, district leader, or mission president—can often help diminish your concerns. Keeping them bottled up

magnifies them.

When I was serving as president of the Philippines Quezon City Mission, one day Elder Jones * arrived at the mission home wearing a T-shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes and carrying his suitcases. “I want to go home, President,” he told me.
After listening to his concerns, I told him: “Leaving your mission is a reactive response, which will diminish the control you have over your life. And if you continue to be reactive, you will have problems dealing with difficulties you encounter after you return home.” I also advised him to talk with other missionaries about his concerns.
After further discussion Elder Jones changed into his missionary clothing and returned to his area. He talked with other missionaries, and he prayed for strength to overcome his challenges. The next time I met with him, he expressed gratitude that he had persisted through his difficulties.

4. “Forget yourself and go to work.”

You have probably heard this advice that President Gordon B. Hinckley’s father sent to his discouraged missionary son. Work is good medicine. Sometimes just going to work can help your own problems diminish. One wise mission president advised his missionaries to do a small kindness for their companions each day. Focusing on others’ happiness also creates positive emotions.

5. The Lord is the wisest Counselor and the source of spiritual healing and strength.

By all appearances, Elder Clark * was an ideal missionary. He was obedient, baptized and confirmed many people, and was loved by his companions and Church members. During the last few months of his mission he served as my assistant in the mission office. So when I saw him following his mission I was surprised when he confided that he had had a very difficult time at the beginning of his mission. He was homesick, frustrated with learning the language, and having difficulty with the missionary schedule and rules. However, he knew he had been called by the Lord to serve his mission and that the Lord would support him. So he knelt to talk to the Lord, sharing his concerns and pleading for His help in overcoming them. “As I did this,” Elder Clark told me, “I felt a real change in my being. I felt the Lord’s support and strength. Ideas and good feelings came to me, and I began to overcome my negative concerns. With God’s help, I became a successful missionary.”

After a great athletic contest, we never hear athletes say anything like the following: “The whole game was easy and pleasant. I performed perfectly, and I encountered no challenges.” Great games are hard-fought tests of character and resolve. We revere successful athletes for their strength in overcoming significant challenges.

-By Robert K. Wagstaff

No comments:

Post a Comment