Have you ever had those moments when all you wanted to do was give up? Like all seemed lost and hopeless and there was nothing else that you could do except maybe curl up in your bed and forget that it all even happened?
You’re not the only one.
About a month before the end of my 18 month mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I all-of-a-sudden felt EXHAUSTED! Investigators were canceling appointments right and left. We weren’t getting any baptisms. No one wanted to talk to us when we went tracting. And I missed my family terribly! I was so discouraged that I felt like packing up my bags, leaving early, and giving up.
That very morning I was reading in the Old Testament in Numbers 32. Moses and the people were finishing up their 40 years of wandering in the wilderness after being freed from Egypt. Their travels were almost over. They were just east of Jordan—the Promised Land was in sight. Yet the tribes of Gad and Reuben looked at the land around them and said,
“Let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan” (Numbers 32:5).
In other words: “This looks good enough. We’ll take this land. We don’t need to go into the Promised Land.”
My first reaction when I read that was, “What? Are you kidding me?!? You’re almost there! Why would you quit now?!? It’s the Promised Land after all! It’s worth it!”
Sure, they would have to go to war. Sure they might have some casualties. But they had the Lord on their side. Therefore, they were sure to prevail!
My chastising thoughts toward Gad and Reuben were interrupted by my own realization. I was just like them. I was almost at the end of my mission—the end was in sight—and yet I just wanted to give up because my first 17 months were tiring. I looked at my mission and tried to tell myself, “Yeah, you did well enough. No one could blame you for going home now.”
But I was so close! The blessings were there waiting for me at the end of 18 months. Was I willing to give those up because I was tired? Because things were slow? Because I missed my family?
That day I determined to finish my mission with all of my might, mind, and strength. I was determined to be able to say the words of Paul: “The time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:6-7). After all, I had the Lord on my side.
There is a difference between giving up and giving it to God.
While I was ready to just cast my mission to the side and give it up, God was ready and waiting for me to give it to Him instead. He invites us: “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). His promise is this: “And it shall come to pass in that day that his burden shall be taken away from off thy shoulder, and his yoke from off thy neck, and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing” (2 Nephi 20:27).
Once I gave my tiredness, discouragement, fear, and missing my family to the Lord, I felt like my burden was lightened. I trusted Him with all of those things, and He renewed my strength and lifted me up (Isaiah 40:31). So much so that I finished my mission with enthusiasm and had much success along the way!
Turns out that staying on my mission the full 18 months was the best thing I could have ever done! When I returned home from my mission, I met my future husband 2 months later at a Young Single Adult Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. Had I returned sooner, my plan was to move to Utah. I would have missed him!
So if you’re feeling tired, lonely, discouraged, hopeless, don’t give up! Instead, tell the Lord everything that is going on and all that you are feeling. Then give it to Him. He will strengthen you and lift you so you can finish the task that is set before you!