There are days in which you’ll feel like you can’t go on. Not another step. Not another early morning. Not another slammed door. Not another insult. No more.
These are the moments when you need to dig down deep. You’ve come so far and these are the moments in which the most growth will occur. It’s so easy to lift weights when you never persist through that last rep. It’s hard to see through the burn…and the pain. It’s easier to just throw in the towel and start over. Most people know that muscles only grow during the burn of that last rep. When you set the weight back on that rack every time you start to feel pain, you’ve just wasted your time. Remember that “smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” When you start feeling tired in life…that’s when it’s time to turn on the jets.
Can you imagine what it must have felt like to be Ammon, Aaron, Omner and Himni? Fourteen years on a mission among the Lamanites! They probably asked the same question Parley P. Pratt asked in the early days of the church.
“Can’t I just relax for a while?” asked Pratt on September 7, 1856, shortly after learning of his call by Brigham Young. “I have desired, after traveling for twenty-five or twenty-six years, mostly abroad, to stay at home and minister among the people of God, and take care of my family; but God’s will be done, and not mine. If it is the will of God that I should spend my days in proclaiming this Gospel and bearing testimony of these things, I shall think myself highly privileged and honored. And when the Spirit of God is upon me, I think it matters but very little what I suffer, what I sacrificed–whether I secure the honor or dishonor of men, or where I die, if it so be that I can keep the faith, fight the good fight, and finish my course with joy. I have all eternity before me, in which to enjoy myself.”1
I’m sure Paul felt the same way during his various missions. I’m sure Peter and John longed to rest. And I’m sure the Savior, having the weight of the world upon his shoulders, bleeding from every pore, and enduring the scourge…wished that he could just rest. But in those times He found the strength to endure and complete His mission honorably.
This poem just about sums up a mission and life:
A mission is a strange experience
It is a trial and a test.
A mission throws at you the worst
Yet, teaches you the best.
I’ve never been so happy,
I’ve never been so depressed.
I’ve never felt so forsaken,
I’ve never felt so blessed.
I’ve never been so confused,
Things have never been so clear.
I’ve never felt my Heavenly Father so distant,
He’s never been so near.
I’ve never been so discouraged,
I’ve never been so full of hope.
I feel I could go on for forever,
I think I’ve come to the end of my rope.
I’ve never had it quite so easy,
I’ve never had it quite so tough.
Things have never been so smooth,
Things have never been so rough.
I’ve never traveled through more valleys,
I’ve never ascended more peaks.
I’ve never met so many nice people.
I’ve never met so many freaks!
I’ve never had so many ups,
I’ve never had so many downs.
I’ve never worn so many smiles,
I’ve never had so many frowns.
I’ve never been so lonely,
I’ve never had so many friends.
BOY, I hope this is over soon,
GOSH, I hope this never ends. 2
Awhile back, President Thomas S. Monson passed by a high end furniture store. There were many things that might have caught his eye, but it was a small sign in the bottom corner of the window that captured his attention. The sign said two words: FINISHERS WANTED. “In life” said President Monson, “there has always been a need for those persons who could be called finishers. Their ranks are few, their opportunities many, their contributions great.”3
So finish strong!
1. Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, p. Xxv
2. President Eyring gives credit to Jack L. Brinkerhoff for this poem.
3. Thomas S. Monson, “Finishers Wanted”, First Presidency Message, June 1989