Many missionaries find themselves facing unexpected delays while working through the application process. With the more in-depth evaluation for prospective missionaries, it can feel like intense opposition. It’s important to remember that, with the help of the Spirit, all trials will come out to our good. Delays in the application process are in every missionary family’s best interest.
Some of the more common delays are related to a missionary’s physical or mental health. Those who do not apply for missions rarely seek out such an extensive health evaluation at this point in life. Issues found now can be addressed before they become larger more difficult problems in the future. Ignoring what has been found in evaluations, or rebelling from medical recommendations, puts your wellness at risk and will not lead to a fulfilling and healthy mission experience.
When working through a delay before mission service:
- Exercise and work to develop the Christlike attribute of patience. Fill time with worthy pursuits that further your life’s goals, including developing communication or professional skills, taking short term employment, or enrolling in courses that develop your talents.
- Cultivate gratitude for the opportunity to address problems now that can often grow in difficulty without immediate attention. The focus of a mission should be healing others, not healing yourself. Anything handled before enhances your capacity to serve.
- Heal with the help of professionals and your support system, and make use of the tools, techniques, and instruction regarding your personal trial. We are not meant to face trials singly, and the Lord provides help, in obvious and unexpected places.
While delays can be of many types, some of the more surprising are often for reasons of mental health evaluations. Everyone is different, but one of the most common issues for which prospective missionaries are encouraged to seek counseling is anxiety in its several forms. This is the most common mental health challenge for the population at large.
For any struggling with a delay requiring counseling for anxiety, understand over 18% of the population has experienced some type of anxiety disorder in the current year (National Institute of Mental Health). Anxiety disorders are not a life sentence, and do not always require medication. Treatment options include counseling, mindfulness techniques, improvement to diet and physical health, among other options.
Delays are not a punishment. Some delays are for repentance, some for necessary strengthening, others are specifically to heal you before you go into one of the most physically and mentally challenging environments of your life. Blessings come from obedience, at home or in the field.