I was always bashful about my religion. In 2nd grade, I pretended to not hear when my friend asked why I refused a free can of coke. In 3rd grade, the only person I told about my religious dietary restrictions was my Muslim friend who abstained from pork. In 6th grade, I cringed from embarrassment at my birthday party when my mom insisted on praying before eating. Even until my senior year of high school, I couldn't speak up when my English teacher told our class that Mormon theology taught that god would beam up the righteous into a spaceship during the apocalypse (??????).
Never ever ever ever ever (ever (ever ever)) ever would I have thought that I would voluntarily become a full-time missionary. Talking to strangers? On the street? About religion? In sunday clothes? Facing rejection and ridicule? EVERYDAY? None of those things were things I wanted. I wasn't even sure if the church was really for me anyways.
But somewhere along the way, I finally started being proactive about what I was being taught. I learned the reasons behind our practices. I learned that we don't drink certain caffeinated and alcoholic things because of the way it affects our consciousness, which we value above anything else we have been given by God. I learned that we pray because as we offer that questions and honest thanks, God communicates back. I learned, most importantly, that Jesus Christ is patient, empathetic, loving, intelligent, and my friend. It was beautiful.
And what I learned about Jesus Christ's love is the most useful truth I've learned in my lifetime.
There are many truths (/Truths) out there in the world. Some truths are useful, and some truths are fun (e.g.: knowing that gravity exists means planes; knowing that baby sharks are called pups is fun) Some truths are popular, and some truths are small. There are many of these truths that I've been taught, and many philosophies that make complete logical sense to me. But this Truth, the Truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, inspires me to love the people around me. It inspires me to be proactive. It makes me happy, and I've decided to use this Truth as the centerpiece of everything I learn, do, and think.
Knowing Christ made all of the reasons to not be a full-time missionary not matter. I'll still be nervous talking to strangers about religion. I'll still feel heartbreak. Sometimes I'll still be uncomfortable. But does any of that matter when I know that with God on my side, I can do anything?