This opportunity for sister missionary service brought with it a plethora of questions, namely:
"Should I serve a mission?"
For men, this decision is largely made for them. Missionary service is a priesthood duty. They already know that Heavenly Father wants them in the mission field. Easy- peasy.
However for women, it really isn't that simple. For us, missionary service is an opportunity, but not an obligation. Which brings us back to the golden question, "to serve? Or not to serve?"
There are infinitely many "sub-questions" which fall under this "big question." Some of which I have heard personally, others I have heard through connecting with other prospective sisters via social media. These questions include:
"Prior to the age change, I never really considered a mission as a real option. How do I know if it's right for me?"
"I want to serve a mission, but I feel so inadequate. Can I really be a successful missionary?"
"I don't know if I should serve a mission, or continue pressing forward with my education. Both are good things, how can I decide what's best?"
First off, if you feel insecure or uneasy about your personal capability, knowledge, ability-to-be-awesome, divine nature, faith, or capacity-for-good... STOP IT. Jeffrey R. Holland put it bluntly when he said,
"If you lack confidence or always sound apologetic or feel you have an inferiority complex, get over it. We all start humbly, ...we all think the fellow seated on our right and the woman on our left are more talented, are more gifted,... and are going to do better in life than we ever will. Well they aren't, and they don't, and they won't! They are just like you. We all have fears and insecurities. But it would be fatal to stay in hat swamp of insecurity, to mire down and stop, to fail to look up and fail to look ahead and fail to be believing."
This may come as personal revelation to you, I know it did to me. But the reality is that we will NEVER find eternal happiness or peace by comparing ourselves to others. The Lord doesn't expect us to be perfect. Instead, He invites us to become perfected through Him. He also doesn't expect us to always feel good about ourselves. Instead, He asks us to see our own divine potential. We are promised that weak things will become strong unto us. So, don't allow fear of inadequacy rob you of the potential blessings of sharing the Gospel.
The Lord knows us perfectly... Every shortcoming and insecurity included. And guess what? HE LOVES US ANYWAY. So, place your trust in The Lord, give everything you have, and He will make up for the rest.
That being said, missionary work is not right for everyone. Not every sister who COULD be an awesome missionary SHOULD be a full-time missionary at all.
A dear friend of mine had the desire to serve a mission. However, when she prayed about it, she felt she was not supposed to go. Although she was disappointed, she placed her trust in God. The next day, she was called to be the Relief Society president of her YSA ward. She had an overwhelming confirmation that her unique mission was serving and blessing the lives of the sisters in her ward.
Not every sister will have the desire to serve a full time mission.
Not every sister will have the resources to serve a full time mission.
Not every sister will have the ability to serve a full time mission.
Not every sister will receive a "yes" when she prays about serving a full time mission.
...and that's okay!
So, in answer to the question: "To serve? Or not to serve?" The answer is:
YES! YOU SHOULD SERVE!!!
However, full time missionary service may not be right for you.
Because, really, the most important missionary tag you will ever wear, is the one you stitch on your heart.
So, remember to faithfully and fearlessly bind your will to that of The Father's and He will direct your path (whether it be toward the mission field, or another awesome place).
Best of luck to my fellow sisters.
- Hermana Wise