Don't worry- this isn't going to be a preachy post. Stick with me and I'll make my point. I promise.
Having been a missionary I figured there was nothing they could say that would be new to me. I settled into my hard metal chair and prepared to zone out for 45 minutes. I don't know how those girls did it (did I mention they were Sister Missionaries?) but they actually held my attention.
They were talking about inviting. We've all been told over and over that it's not the missionaries job to find people to teach- it's the member's responsibility to do the inviting and the missionaries job to do the teaching. Notice- I didn't say converting. The Spirit of Truth does that. That's not our job- or theirs.
One of them told the story that I've heard over and over and over- heck, I've even shared this story over and over and over myself:
There was this man, he was very sickly and weak, he could accomplish very little.
Then this man had a real vision from God, he never doubted the vision was God..
He lived in a cabin in the mountains.
Out in front of his cabin was a huge boulder.
In his vision that he knew was from God ---
God told him to go out and push on that boulder every day for eight hours a day.
The first week was exciting, the second week he noticed little real change, the third week he measured the rock’s distance from the cabin, and daily he checked to see how far he had moved the rock.
After 6 weeks of seemingly useless pushing, he questioned his vision.
The man cried --- there has to be more.
He even questioned, I am not what I should be, or I could move this boulder, especially since God demonstrated for me to push on this rock.
One morning, as he went out to push the rock, he started crying and saw how useless
his work really was, he couldn’t handle one rock?
There were many more all around.
As he sat down near the boulder, he was crying, angry, and bitter --- he had failed.
Jesus walked up and put his arm around the man and asked, Why are you crying?
The man said I have pushed with everything in me and the rock is in the same place as when I began.
Jesus said, I never told you to move the rock, I told you to push the rock.
Jesus let the man see himself, and Jesus said what do you see?
The man looked at himself and said I am stronger today than ever, the pushing the boulder has made my muscles grow, and I became a better man.
Yaaaaawn... right? You've heard it. You've read it- you've deleted it 50,000 times from your email. But for some reason that day, it stood out to me. They were saying that it is not our job to convert people- it is His. The only thing He's asked us to do is invite. We may be told "no" every single time- but that doesn't mean we stop inviting. It may hurt- and be tiring to invite, especially if you know you're going to be told No.
But Bakeshow, I thought you said this wasn't going to be preachy...?
You're right. I did say that. And here is where I make my point. I didn't get a lesson on missionary work that day (although the message is completely valid and I've already put it to good use in they way they intended) but instead, I got a lesson in dating; icky, horrible, make-you-feel-like-crap dating.
Remember how I feel about asking guys out? Well, with this whole new breakthrough I've been making- this dreaded, awful, freaking humiliating online dating (pa-tooie) crap that I've been doing- I've also been getting a little braver. Not much, mind you- but if you were to tell me even six months ago that I'd be making progress, I'd have laughed you into oblivion.
A few months ago I invited a friend to lunch. You'll never have any idea the anxiety that caused me. I can't even explain it to you. Surprisingly, that actually happened. He said yes- we went and it was actually really fun. AND it didn't kill me. I've invited a few more times since then- and always received a No. Which is fine. Because the victory is in the invitation. I've found that asking is getting a little easier (granted, maybe it's time to find someone else to ask to see if the results vary a little because it's not much of a challenge if you KNOW the answer will be No and knowing you won't have to commit beyond asking).
After the initial invitation, a [different] friend of mine said something along those lines- that just asking was the success. That was a while ago though and sadly, I didn't take her words to heart- but after having heard this lesson, and then rethinking what she said, it's true. I am a huge, HUGE chicken. Even sticking my neck out a little terrifies me- so the more I do it, the less scary it should be. I'm not so immune to it yet that it doesn't still sting when I hear a No. It does- but I'm also learning (trying) to not take everything so personally.
So here I am- pushing my rock; this stupid rock that consists of talking to strangers and inviting people to do things. It's not going anywhere- but it's not my job to move it. As long as I keep trying- I'll get stronger and one of these days I'll recognize the victory that is within myself. I'm not looking for a husband- I'm looking for a little bit of back bone.