Monday, October 10

I'm a Missionary... likely for forever.

Who Am I? What Am I Looking For?

I had a realization.

My life isn't going to change.

I'll back up a bit and give some context.

When I was looking for a career, I went to my Patriarchal blessing. I was convinced that the answer would be there. And, sure enough, there's a paragraph that specifically promises blessings relating to choosing my profession.

It doesn't give much information, though, and it's incredibly vague.

The vast majority of the blessing talks about being a father and a missionary.

So I tried a dozen different dream jobs... everything from curriculum writing to video game design to acting. All of it was good, but none of it really *fit* with me - which ultimately left me with a very full resume and an empty list of dream jobs.

Finally I had a realization.

I'm a missionary.

And that needed to be the core of my professional life.

The reason that hadn't worked in my head before was the issue of priestcraft. The scriptures very specifically forbid preaching the gospel for money, and so I had found myself shying away from anything that seemed even remotely close. Even teaching seminary or Institute full-time felt somewhat off in my book. 

But I realized that I didn't need to sell the gospel for money, or get paid to share it, for missionary work to be central in my career. I just had to find a way to make it be a central part of my day-to-day life.

That was a huge breakthrough.

Then fast forward.

I had graduated with an MBA and was yet again trying to figure out my life. Education (missionary work) was my passion, and I applied to a handful of PhD programs around the country. A few of them were good, and one seemed like a perfect fit. The admissions committee assured me that I had an excellent application, and everyone assumed I was a shoe-in.

I got rejected from every single one, for reasons that were obviously not normal.

That same week I had a dream where God reminded me that He had sent me to be a missionary - not a supervisor or a researcher or someone in a back room. PhD's may be great, but getting a PhD would definitely pull me back from the day-to-day interaction of being a missionary. He also informed me that He wanted to keep me on the front lines... so any attempt to leave them would be thwarted.

And so I started another business based around customer experience design. Started teaching the gospel in all of my free time. Incorporated religion into every aspect of my professional life.

And slowly started to branch into a more social person.

I've never been good at being social in the long-term. My relationships are usually explosive, powerful, and short-lived... and those that stay long-term either take a whole lot of effort or are far more sporadic than what seems to be usual.

But someone asked me a little while ago what I wanted. What I was looking for. What my goal is.

Eventually I want to find a wife. I mean, that's a commandment - part of the Plan of Happiness - and so it's part of my goals. But modern science hasn't found any way to make me fall in love with a girl, and the prophets haven't said anything about it either... so I don't worry about that.

Beyond a wife someday in this life or the next, I've finally opened my hopes again to want close friends. I had given up on really close friendship a long time ago, but recent years have shown me that maybe it's possible even for me.

Figuring out what I want those friendships to *look* like has been the task.

Right now, I'm single, somewhat stable, yet focused deeply on transient relationships. I meet people at Soap Factory, online, or through real life, get close enough to them to effect major impact in their lives, and then usually never see them again.

My assumption has always been that this pattern - of constantly meeting people I don't know and falling in love with their souls - was temporary. Eventually, I'd find people to be my friends, maybe a spouse as well someday, and my circle of influence would shrink to the people I knew.

But then I had the realization, yet again, that I'm a missionary.

...And I likely always will be.

The signs are pretty obvious in retrospect, and it makes sense. Every passion, every talent, every single thing in my life points towards missionary work. Which means that my social life isn't going to suddenly switch over to a new phase someday... or likely ever. I'm always going to be a missionary, always going to be reaching out to people, and always going to be doing the things I do.

And that changes things.

That changes things a lot.

Before, I felt like I was looking for friends who were willing to stick through or put up with a phase where my heart is given to strangers. Being in love with the world can cause heartache in close relationships - I care deeply about people I've only just met, and I'm not shy about showing that love. That can be difficult to swallow for someone trying to get close to me, and my friendships in the past have felt like they were all waiting for me to catch up.

Now I realize what I'm working towards. And it's not people who can miserably stick through and put up with missionary love. It's people who feel the same way. I'm looking to find and make missionary companions - people whose hearts bleed for the world and who spend their days and nights and prayers and lives trying to lift souls to salvation.

With people I don't know, the ingredients of whether or not an acquaintance turns into a friendship have always been based on variables that have felt outside of my control. Now I realize that I should be looking for someone who has the same missionary focus I do. I definitely hadn't done that before.

With people already in my social circle, this could explain why I push people to change so much. It could be because I'm subconsciously molding them into missionaries - helping them find testimonies, love themselves and others, share the gospel...

That could be why I've pushed my best friend toward serving a mission. Because deep inside I know that I need people who love sharing the gospel as much as I do, and I feel we'll be able to understand one another better as we both increase in that love.


I could be totally off.

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