Adjusting to Non-Missionary Life (PART 1 OF MANY)

For those of you who may not be familiar with my crazy life, I recently returned from serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for 18 months in Arkansas/Missouri/Oklahoma/Kansas. It was pretty much the best thing I've ever done with my life.

So, to be totally honest, I've had many thoughts about my first returned missionary blog post.
But then tonight, during the Women's Session of LDS General Conference, I felt that I just needed to post SOMETHING so I could get some of my thoughts out there into the universe. So here I am, late-night blogging.

One of the speakers tonight referenced John 16:33, which is one of my all-time favorites.

I was expecting this transition of coming home to be really hard. I had heard horror stories of returned missionaries sitting in their basement for two days not knowing what to do with themselves, or waking up with their mom at the grocery store and having a panic attack. I had many dreams about being home wherein I felt awkward, unaccomplished, and anxious. But guess what? None of that happened. #blessed

Here's what I learned from my mission. 7 areas, and 11 companions (12 including the MTC) taught me that change is actually a good thing. That failure is okay, and part of God's plan. Yeah, that's right. Crazy stuff. "Christ’s Atonement is sufficient, even for you. Remember that repentance is not just the backup plan. Repentance is the plan of happiness for every person." (Click here for source.) Repentance is not just a backup plan. It is the plan. Change leads to growth which leads to failure which leads to Grace which leads to strength which leads to progress! (Which usually leads to comfort and change...)

Christ has overcome the world. His team is the winning team. Always and forever. (Literally...) How cool is that? We get a chance to be on the winning team and all we have to do is have faith in Jesus Christ to get us started? Missions are hard. After a mission, I feel like anything is possible. Now granted, I haven't experienced having to pay taxes, or bills, or kids, or any other real adult problems, but I know how to trust in the Lord. That's all the matters really.

At the beginning of my mission, I think I expected to walk off the plane and be a totally different person. That did not happen. I still have flaws, and get impatient, and am a little messy, and definitely not perfect. And sometimes that is really frustrating, but it is also awesome! I'm not a totally different person, but none of those flaws, imperfections, inadequacies, and weakness are permanent. As human beings, we are constantly changing. It is so important to recognize growth! Growth, without self-recognition, is nearly worthless. My really smart sister with a masters degree shared something with my when I was at a really hard point in my mission.

"You have been doing your homework and practicing LOTS OF SELF CARE! I would even add an assignment and say you should end every day with naming something you tried your hardest/did your best at today. (Ex: that peanut butter and jelly sandwich was spread just the way I like it. It took all my focus for that 3 minutes). Notice, this is different from "what can I do better tomorrow"? (Which is also fine!) but have a balance and if you want to think of something to improve on, also name something (about you) that is worth recognition for being awesome."

What a concept, right?! And the best part about all that I was learning was that the more I was grateful for what I was accomplishing/had accomplished, I was able to accomplish so much more because I wasn't paralyzed by my own guilt or fear. Woot woot!

So because of all this awesome stuff I learned, coming home is a lot easier. I have goals, and expectations for myself, but I know that I am going to fail sometimes and THAT IS OKAY. I trust God. He knows what He is doing. Like seriously. He is helping me with this transition home. One of my companions (maybe? not actually sure who said this HAHA) was talking to me one day when I was stressed about going home and said, "Sister Fausett. The blessings of your mission aren't just going to stop when you get home." WOW! So true. How awesome is that? And the blessings keep coming! I have been stressed about not having any money, and all these last minute things have fallen into place for me to make a little money. I got to see my family, and now I get to be nourished by LDS General Conference. I'm grateful I was able to write this post. It helped me remember how everything is going to be okay. Everything always works out! Heavenly Father loves His children. All of them. NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE OR WHERE THEY COME FROM OR WHAT THEY ARE DOING!!!

Now here's some bonus awkward stuff😉
You Know You Are a Returned Missionary When - by Kiara Fausett
-Got to the airport and gave my brother-in-law a high five and an awkward side hug. Boys? Hugs? What?
-Saw a Disneyland worker with a white shirt and tie on and thought, "where is his companion?!"
-Noticed I was speeding, so quickly looked down at the left-hand corner of the car window to see if TIWI would yell at me.
-Was very grateful when my little sister was willing to back me out my first day driving at home.
-"Hi, I'm (so and so.)" "Hi I'm Sis...umm...Kiara."
-Watched Zootopia and the part I laughed the hardest at was when the fox talked about speaking in tongues! I miss the South!
-Don't recognize 50% of my friends on Facebook because they all have different last names. Who knew so many people could get married in an 18 month period of time.

More to come :)