19. Stop Using Tools as Weapons

Each day we have many tools that help us. Tools can be very useful, until we use them in ways that harm us or tear us down. Some tools we’ll discuss are…the Scriptures, Preach My Gospel, Mission Prep, Temple Attendance and Mission Teaching and Finding Goals. 

In this episode you’ll learn:

Why we end up using tools meant for our good against ourselves

Why judging yourself NEVER works

Why there’s no such thing as a good or a bad missionary

How to stop the internal war, move forward and invite more peace into your mission and your life

0:00 Hey, what’s up everyone, it’s Jennie, the LDS mission coach and you are listening to the LDS mission Podcast, episode number 19. Stop using tools as weapons. I’m Jennie, the LDS mission coach, and whether you are preparing to serve a mission, currently serving a returned missionary or a missionary mama like me, I created this podcast just for you. Are you searching for epic confidence? Ready to love yourself and to learn the how of doing hard things? Then let’s go. I will help you step powerfully into your potential and never question your purpose. Again. It’s time to embrace yourself. Embrace your mission, embrace your life, and embrace what’s next.

0:53 Hello, everyone, and welcome to the podcast. Thanks for joining me today. I’m super excited to be with you. We just recently returned from a fun visit to New England where I got to go visit my son’s mission with my husband and with my dad, which was super fun that Danny could have his grandpa there. We got to meet the mission president and his wife and people that Danny worked with. And, you know, it just feels really good to meet people that really love your son, and who think really highly of him. Also, I was just so inspired by the missionaries that I met the mission president that I met and his wife, I also ended up meeting the mission president from the Joseph Smith, birthplace visitor center area, super fun to meet him. It’s been kind of a crazy time with COVID over the last these last several months with missionaries right and some coming in some going and some just the mission president was telling me they just sent a whole bunch out to Canada. Now that Canada’s open again, there’s some still waiting to head, some missionaries still waiting to head to their reassignment. Anyway, I came from the trip just totally inspired, as I always am with missionaries, Mission presidents with the whole process, the willingness that each of them have to not only serve the Lord, but to serve those around them. And to also completely transform themselves. In the process. I always say to my return missionaries, that when you come home, you’re actually a different person, you’ve had different thoughts. You’ve had different feelings that you’ve never had before, you’ve had different experiences. And so quite literally, your brain is changed. Quite literally, you’re a different person. And there’s not very many people in the world that willingly decide, hey, I’m gonna go do this thing that’s going to change other people’s lives, and also change my life in the process. And so hats off to all of you. I really do think about you guys every single day. And I’m just so impressed and inspired by you. So keep up the good work. One of the things I’ve been thinking a lot about is how some missionaries tend to struggle on the mission. And I created this program that is meant for preparing missionaries, that helps missionaries not experience the struggle on the mission. What I have heard and what you have probably heard over and over is the mission is heart. And I’ve seen this to be true in many cases. All of you are spiritually prepared for the mission way more prepared than I ever was spiritually at your age. It’s actually super amazing how much you guys know about the gospel and how strong your testimonies are, and the amount of faith that you have. What I’ve seen though, is that missionaries get out and there’s this whole mental and emotional component, whether it’s anxiety, pressure, homesickness, worry, stress, discouragement that you start to feel when you’re out there, and and there’s a lot of mental pieces as well. And that’s why I am here to help you master all of that before you leave. More than ever, it’s super important to get mental tools to help you on your mission. And that’s why I created my program mental mission prep. We cover difficult companions we cover what to do with homesickness, we cover how to handle failure Are and to keep your worth intact. Even though you’re not meeting your goals, it’s totally fine that you don’t meet your goals and how to have self compassion rather than perfectionism.

5:12 After talking to hundreds of missionaries, and working with missionaries, and return missionaries, and preparing missionaries, I totally got you. In two weeks, I’m starting my program mental mission prep, you’ll totally want to be in there. If you’re interested, go ahead and shoot me an email Jennie at Jennie dildine.com. And we can get you enrolled in that class. So that you can learn the how of doing hard things, and missions hard. And I’m sure you’ve heard that before. But in this program, I give you actual tools to teach you how to do the hard things. It’s amazing, it will completely transform your mission experience. So I would love to see you inside that program. So now I want to move on to what I want to talk about today. And it’s this idea of using tools as weapons. And when I was on the trip back east with my dad, and with my son, and with my husband, my dad asked me, Hey, these podcasts that you do, do you plan them out ahead of time? Or do you just kind of go off what you’re feeling? And the truth is, I kind of get inspiration from what I’m hearing from missionaries, what I’m hearing from my clients, the questions that I’m getting the emails that I get from moms, and the thing that I’ve been noticing a lot of lately is this idea of using a tool as a weapon. And we’re gonna dig into this a little bit more so you can understand what I mean. My husband owns a company where they build houses. And there are certain tools that are needed to build a house, let’s take a hammer. A hammer can be a really useful tool for building things. Right, whether it’s a house, or a shed, or a gazebo, I think pretty much now they just use nail guns instead of hammers. But there might be cases I think, where they use hammers too. In fact, I’m sure there are. I also have a Bosch mixer, it’s a really useful tool to make cinnamon rolls, which I did just recently for General Conference only happens once in a while my kids were thrilled. My crock pot is also a useful tool to make chili, I guess I’m thinking about chili because I’m looking out my window. And it’s a beautiful fall day. And it’s about chili time. I’m planning on making some next weekend for Halloween for my kids who are coming home from college. So that’ll be super fun. But I use my crock pot to make chili. my toothbrush is a really useful tool to keep my teeth clean, I use it quite regularly at least twice a day, sometimes more. We read in the Scriptures that Nephi actually didn’t have any tools on hand at first to build a boat. So he went and he found or and he built tools. And then he made it ship, there’s tools to plow the earth. There are so many things that we use as tools. But many of these things could also be used as a weapon. Like take a hammer, for instance. If not used correctly, the hammer could become quite dangerous. It could be used to maybe tear something down or to injure someone even I don’t know if you’ve ever accidentally hit your thumb, instead of a nail. It’s it can be quite painful. Now the toothbrush, it might be a stretch, I don’t know if it’s because brush can be used as a weapon. But you get the idea. All of these things, these tools that are created for our good and for our use. It’s best if we use them for their intended use, for a better good to build things to create things to create goodness in our lives. Now one of the things I’ve been seeing more and more with my clients and with other missionaries is that they think they should be doing better at something or be doing more of something. So they’ve got a tool, like Preach My Gospel, maybe they’re getting ready to do some mission prep, and I get on the call and they say I should be doing more Preach My Gospel. I should be reading that more. And the list can be really expansive of the tools that we have. We’ve got the temple is a tool service that we do for other people as a tool to feel a certain way. Meeting are teaching and finding goals, those teaching and find the goals that we have on the mission is a tool to help people come unto Christ and to keep us motivated, working out at the gym, the gym is a tool,

10:15 our bedtimes that we’ve been given whether on the mission, or just bedtimes that we want to set for ourselves. That is a tool. Whatever it is, there’s lots of tools that we’ve been given, especially in the gospel, to help us achieve what we want to achieve, to help us feel better in our lives. Now, one of these that I’ve heard talked about over and over is scriptures. We set these goals to read our scriptures, or to go to the gym, or to serve our neighbor. And then we don’t do these things. And then guess what happens is we tend to beat ourselves up. I actually talked to three clients this week, who told me, I should be reading my scriptures more than I am. One client who has her mission call and is getting ready to leave, she said, I should be reading and studying for about an hour a day. So I asked her, How many days are you reading right now. And she said three days. And to her, that was not enough. So guess what she’s using her scriptures to do. She’s using her scriptures as a weapon to beat herself up. And I see the same thing with returned missionaries, they want to keep up their spiritual habits. And when their spiritual habits kind of go down a little bit, maybe they’re reading every other day or every three days instead of every day. They use the scriptures instead of a tool to grow closer to God and to align our thoughts with his thoughts and our feelings with his feelings. They start to use the scriptures as a weapon to tear themselves down, dive into self loathing, and self hatred, feel guilty and ashamed about the type of person that they are about the type of return missionary that they are. So I want to talk a little bit about why we end up using all of these tools, these gifts that we have in our lives to help us align our thoughts and our feelings with God’s will, with his feelings. Why do we always end up using these tools as weapons against ourselves? And it’s because you have what I talk about often on here, this lower brain or this caveman brain, that if left unchecked, and just runs on autopilot? It’s going to look for problems. So we’re going to talk about who do we who does our brain think we will be? If we were meeting the goal and doing the thing every single day doing it perfectly? What do we make it mean on autopilot? If we aren’t doing it? How do we treat ourselves when we aren’t doing the thing like reading our scriptures? And then we’re going to talk about why this doesn’t work. Okay, so we’ve got who do we think we will be if we do it? What do we make it mean when we’re not doing it? How do we treat ourselves when we don’t, and why it doesn’t work. So when our caveman brain is on autopilot, our brain loves all or nothing thinking. It tells us that for sure, if I read my scriptures every single day, for an hour, that I will be a better human, or a better missionary. It thinks that when we accomplish the thing, or when we go to the gym every day or when we meet our temple attendance goals, or once we’ve memorized Preach My Gospel, I don’t know whatever it is that you’ve set for yourself, that it will make us a better person, or a better missionary. That’s who our brain thinks we will be is better. Now on autopilot. What do we make it mean? When we aren’t reading our scriptures? on autopilot, our caveman brain because it loves all or nothing thinking makes it mean that if we were reading it, we would be a good human or a good missionary, then for sure if we aren’t reading as much as we want to, then we would be a bad human or a bad missionary. Do you see that? It’s like the opposite. Well, if we were reading then we’d be better or good and if we are not reading then we’re bad. Now this is just what our brains automatically default to on this autopilot mode. It’s always searching for something is wrong with me or something is wrong with my life. And this is what I saw in my preparing missionary that I was working At this, she was like, well, there’s something wrong with me, why can I just make myself study every single day for an hour? We really think that we’re doing it wrong.

15:14 So what we make it mean is that we’re bad, or that we’re going to be a bad missionary, if we aren’t doing it the way we think we should. Now, how do we treat ourselves when we don’t do it the way that we think we should? What happens is we beat ourselves up. When we have this standard that we’re trying to meet. And we’re not quite getting there. We beat ourselves up. And it starts to look like a war within ourselves, have you experienced this? It’s like this internal battle goes on. Like, I know, I should be hate behave this way. I know, I should read my scriptures. And yet, I’m not. And sometimes I get busy, and sometimes I’m tired at night. And so we get into this internal battle, am I a good person or a bad person? Will I be a good missionary or a bad missionary? And this internal battle is what feels so terrible. Now, let’s talk about finally on autopilot, why this doesn’t work for our brain, this method of thinking, we’re gonna be a bad missionary beating ourselves up, and then being at war with ourselves. Why does this internal battle not work? It’s because what we think creates a feeling. If we have the thought, I’m terrible at my scripture study, then we’re gonna feel guilty, we might feel some frustration, we might feel some self loathing, or maybe even some obligation. And listen, I always talk about our emotions as they fuel our action. So think about what your scripture study looks like. When it’s fueled by guilt, frustration, self loathing or obligation, you’re probably not going to get the most out of it, am I right? What we want instead is for you to fuel it with an emotion that feels good. When we feel our scripture study with guilt, frustration, self loathing or obligation is just not the same experience in that moment. And I can guarantee you that we create less of a desire to do it in the future. It doesn’t create the desire to do it more. When we feel guilt and self loathing and frustration, it actually has the opposite effect. What happens when we think we’re doing it wrong, that we’re going to be a bad missionary, and then we feel guilty, is we actually read less, or workout less, or go to the temple less. So listen, if we want to have a meaningful scripture study, we’re going to have to drop the part where we’re not good enough, where we’re not doing a good job, we’re gonna have to drop that part. If we want to fuel our skip scripture study with compassion, and love, we’re going to have to think something different. Here’s what’s true, is when we use the scriptures as a weapon, to feel guilty if we’re not studying them. Not only are we using that tool less effectively, but we actually become a less effective tool, especially as a missionary is or or as a human. When we’re feeling guilty, and in self loathing, and self doubt and frustration with ourselves. Guess what we don’t show up as our best selves. On the other hand, if we’re fueled with love and compassion, and understanding and openness and abundance, what kind of human or missionary would you show up as? And that’s when you become a really effective tool. And when the scriptures become a really effective tool for you to use as a gift. I want to talk about all of this again. Who do we think will be what do we make it mean? If we aren’t doing it? How do we treat ourselves when we don’t? And why this doesn’t work. I want to talk about what’s actually true. If we didn’t leave our caveman brain on autopilot. Our brain kind of tells us that who we will be is a better human or a better Are missionary, if we just did it perfectly, our brain tells us that’s true. But what’s actually true? Did you know that you can’t change your goodness as a human or as a missionary?

20:13 Your goodness, your worth your value as a human and as a missionary has zero to do with what you do. The reason I know this is true is because a baby has as much value and worth as I do, and they don’t read their scriptures every day. I also have a neighbor down the street who I probably talked about before, who is in a wheelchair, he’s nonverbal, he stares at the sky. And basically he drools most of the day, and every once in a while his caretaker takes him on a walk. But that’s all about he, that’s about all he can do. And he has value. Whether he reads his scriptures or not, doesn’t change his value. It doesn’t make him a better human than me. Whether or not I read my scriptures, or he reads the scriptures, we’re all equally valuable and worthwhile and hold. All of us who you will be when you read your scriptures, is actually the same person, you will have the same value and the same worth as you do right now. Not reading your scriptures, or however often you read them. So we can let go of this part where reading your scriptures will make you better in some way. Now your scriptures are going to align your thoughts with Heavenly Father’s thoughts and they’re going to align your feelings with Heavenly Father’s feelings. And you will feel better feelings when your thoughts are aligned with his thoughts and with his perspective. But just the scriptures in and of itself don’t make you any more worthwhile or valuable than you just start. So our caveman brain on autopilot makes it mean when we’re not reading our scriptures makes it mean that we’re a bad person, or a bad human or a bad missionary. But listen, what’s actually true is that when we slack off on our scripture reading, he know what it actually means is that we’re a human with human emotions living in a human world. It means we have this caveman brain that would rather honestly you guys sleep and watch Netflix and study your scriptures. And it’s okay. Being a human in this world means that sometimes we’re terrible and not good enough, and we’re failing. And it means that sometimes we get it right. And we’re really successful. And it also means that sometimes we wish we were better. And sometimes we feel like we were doing it just fine. But it’s all good. All of it. If you don’t read every day, or if you don’t attend the temple, as often as you want to, it does not mean that you’re a bad person, it means that you’re a human. Can we show some love and compassion for the human side of you, Heavenly Father could have sent robots to this earth. Or robots on missions that just regularly would for sure read their scriptures every day at a set time when an alarm went off. But he didn’t. He sent humans on missions and humans to this world because we could feel compassion and understand and relate to people. And sometimes we’re gonna mess it up. That’s fine. Let’s give ourselves all the love and compassion. Did you know there’s actually no such thing as a good or a bad missionary? There’s just missionaries doing the best they can with their past experience their cave membranes and their emotions. And it’s okay. I kind of challenged my client that I was working with this week. When she said I think that if I was reading every day it would make me a good missionary. And I was like, Is there such thing though? Is there such thing as a good missionary or a bad missionary? And she said, I don’t know. Maybe Maybe there’s such thing as a bad missionary? I think so. And I He said, What if every missionary is just doing the best with the experiences that they’ve had? With the human brains that they’ve been giving, given? What if they’re just all doing the best that they can?

25:15 Because that’s true, right? Aren’t we all? Are all just doing the best that we can? Now, how do we treat ourselves when we don’t read, or when we don’t do the things that we think we should do is, our caveman brain wants to beat us up, beat ourselves wants us to beat ourselves up. We get at war with ourselves, right? But instead, what’s true is we should offer ourselves so much love and compassion. We should seek self love and peace, we should drop the war that we have with ourselves. What I say to myself on the regular is like, Oh, there I go, being a human again. And it’s fine. We should seek that self love and that peace, because that was always the intention of the scriptures anyway. Right? Isn’t that the intention of Preach My Gospel, and of reading our scriptures and temple attendance, is to tap into more self love, love for others, and love for God. Maybe that’s why we’ve been told for such a long time, it’s good to go through the motions of doing the things that we want to do. But it’s even better if it’s fueled for with the right reason. So for a long time, I sort of thought, just let me go to the temple. I don’t need it to be for the right reason. But as I’ve thought about this episode, and what I wanted to share with you today, it’s not just adding one more thing to do another layer of pressure to read our scriptures, but make sure you do it for the right reason. I think it’s because when we do it with the right intention, because we want to align our thoughts and feelings, with love and compassion and abundance and acceptance, that we get so much more out of it. Now, nothing wrong with kind of going through the motions to form a habit. I’m not saying anything against that. But when we fuel our actions, with guilt, shame, obligation, we just don’t get the same thing out of it. As we do when we fuel our action of reading the scriptures, or attending the temple, or studying Preach My Gospel, with love, peace and acceptance. I think what people are trying to say when they say make sure you do it for the right reasons, to your service for the right reason. And with the right intention, it means that it’s fueled with the right emotion, because when it’s fueled with the right emotion, we benefit so greatly from it. Now, listen, I had a client this week that said, I’m just worried that if I don’t beat myself up, if I don’t hate myself, for not reading my scriptures, I won’t want to read. But listen, you guys what I told him and what I’m going to tell you if I thought it worked to feel shame and guilt for not reading your scriptures, I’d be all for it. If I thought it worked. To help you read more, to shame yourself and beat yourself up. I’d be all for it. But it doesn’t work. The guilt, the shame, the self loathing, the disappointment, the stress, the anxiety, it actually makes us read less. It actually makes us attend the temple less it actually makes us want to study, Preach My Gospel less makes us want to go to the gym less when we beat ourselves up. Again, not only are we using the tool itself, whether mission preparation, or temple attendance or service, or even our teaching and finding goals on the mission, or our bedtimes or whatever, not only are we using those tools less effectively when they’re fueled with guilt and shame. But we again in the process become a less effective tool. When we’re feeling those feelings that don’t feel so good. I can picture Heavenly Father up there saying, here’s this tool. It’s the scriptures. They’re amazing. He’d say it’s a way that you can align your thoughts and feelings with my thoughts and feelings. And they’re here whenever you need them. This is a tool, like many of the tools that we’ve been talking about to create more goodness in your life, to build more goodness in your life,

30:18 to build whatever you want in your future can we think of our scriptures and all these other tools as gifts? Can we use them as tools in your life, rather than as weapons. When we use this imagery of sometimes we take that scripture, those scriptures that might have sat on our bedside for a couple of days, and we haven’t picked them up, instead of picking them up and be like, Oh, my gosh, I’m so full of so much love and abundance, I want to align my thinking with Heavenly Father’s thinking, we take that those scriptures up and we smack ourselves across the face with them feels terrible. Listen, if you get if you’re going to use your scription scriptures as a weapon, it’s not going to make you want to go back to them. So I invite you to examine how you are thinking about all of these tools in your life. I’m gonna say some of them again, Mission preparation, Temple attendance, the service that you’re doing on the mission, before the mission or after the mission. You’re teaching and finding goals on the mission? Are you using that as a tool? Are you using it as a weapon to beat yourself up when you don’t meet the goal? Working out your bedtime, Preach My Gospel. If your scriptures have been sitting on a shelf for a while, don’t smack yourself across the face with them, okay? Use your scriptures as a tool. Use them as a gift that Heavenly Father has given you stop using these tools, these gifts as weapons. In preparing this podcast, I couldn’t help but think of the imagery created when the anti Nephi Lehies decided that they weren’t going to take up arms against their brethren anymore, because of the love of their brethren, and because of their love of peace. And what I want to offer to you is that maybe you want to be done taking arms up against yourself, because of the love of yourself. And because of your love of peace, Alma 2632 reads, And behold, they buried their weapons of war, deep in the earth. Stop using tools as weapons, stop being at war with yourself if I thought it worked, I would encourage it, but it doesn’t decide to show yourself all of the love and compassion. Stop using these tools to tear yourself down and start using the tools you’ve been given to invite even more peace into your life and to build the future that you want to build. All right, you guys, thanks so much for joining me. I hope you have an amazing week. We’ll talk to you next time. Thank you so much for listening to the podcast today. If you want to learn more about what I do, you can go to Jennie dildine.com. Or just come hang out with me on Instagram at Jennie dot the LDS mission coach and Jennie is spelled with an IE. Remember, no matter which part of the mission experience that you’re involved in, just know that Jennie the LDS mission coach is thinking about you every single day.

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Hey! I'm Jennie - The LDS Mission Coach.

Preparing for, serving and coming home from an LDS Mission can present countless changes and transitions. I’ve seen these changes put missionaries at the mercy of their emotions and questioning their abilities. With the tools I teach, young adults empower themselves to navigate every moment of the mission experience with epic, unwavering confidence.

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