courage vs. fearlessness

if snow and crocuses can co-exist, why can't fear and courage?

In early July, there was a question I got a lot: “Are you nervous?” and I always answered, “No! I’m only excited.” I had a lot of confidence in my own abilities then, and even felt invincible. I was so sure of my own abilities that I couldn’t imagine anything going differently than I had planned. As it turned out, I should have been a lot more nervous then. I didn’t really know what to be scared of because it was an entirely new experience, which meant that I was fearless. Fearlessness can be powerful, but through all my scary experiences, including panic attacks, going home, and the subsequent experience of finding my way back to the mission, I found a tool that was even better: courage.

Fearlessness came before I had seen anything to be afraid of, when I was a little more naive and a little less wise. I thought I could do anything and didn’t see any threats. On the other hand, I have developed courage in the wake of seeing the fears that I didn’t even think of come to pass. When I received confirmation that I was returning, I felt terrified until I realized that I have seen and survived my own worst case scenario. I know what it looks like for the mission to be a disaster, and I know that I have the power to survive a disaster like that. Whereas before I was confident that nothing would go wrong, now I am confident that many things will go wrong and that I will be able to thrive despite or even because of the many trials and mishaps that I now realize are part of the mission experience.

I guess it’s better to be fearless than to be fearful, but I have found the most power in being able to recognize both of these emotions and in being able to hold one in my right hand and the other in my left hand.

5 thoughts on “courage vs. fearlessness

  1. Our daughter served in the South Dakota Rapid City mission–it was a big mission that will be split in April 2015. She is quite an outgoing young woman, but she didn’t tell us in her letters about the feelings she had on her mission, of sometimes wanting to come home. She had faith in what Pres. Hinckley said about his mission, “to get up, and go to work.” She was a sister training leader in one of her areas, had a calling to play the piano in one of her branches, sang and played violin in some of her church meetings. She has developed into a stronger, more spiritual young woman, and is now attending school and working on campus at BYU-I. I have such admiration for young woman who chose to serve–your efforts are all that the Lord asks of you. To Him, it is perfect, no matter how long you are able to serve. It is well with Him. Thank you for your honest story about your mission. It applies to more than missionaries–any calling that scares us, that we feel we are not adequate to fill. This is where a broken heart and contrite spirit come in. The willingness to serve says everything. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for sharing your experience. I came home from my mission early in pretty bad mental shape, but what I learned you summed up well: “I am confident that many things will go wrong and that I will be able to thrive despite or even because of the many trials and mishaps that I now realize are part of the mission experience.” Isn’t it amazing how the Savior can turn trials into blessings?

  3. wish you well on your mission Sister Asplund may you be blessed in abundance through out your mission changing the hearts and lives of the families you are to teach…..

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