We share our favorite restaurant - but what about our faith?
March 19, 2013 About a year ago, I discovered a new Asian fusion restaurant. I'm not sure how many times I drove by and saw the signs before I ventured in. But I'm sure glad I did. It's called Wok Zone in Winchester, Va., and the food is outstanding, the prices are fair and the service is fantastic. Since then, I've shared my love of Wok Zone with as many people as I possibly can. And why not? It may sound silly, but I found something delicious that's brought me happiness and I have confidence others will enjoy it, too. I'm not naive. I accept that not everyone will be interested. They may have a similar restaurant they're already happy with. Their taste may be completely different or perhaps Asian food simply isn't their thing. But has that stopped me from sharing? Absolutely not. I've offered my discovery liberally, knowing that even if they disagree, our friendships are on solid ground - I'd never know if I didn't ask. I suspect you've done the same. And it's not just great food we're excited to share. How many times have you seen a movie, read a book or tried a new diet that you couldn't wait to share with someone else? That's what people do. We exercise agency, decide what's important to us and then desire to share that discovery with others. Our instincts tell us that what's good for us will be good for those we love. Oddly enough, my restaurant experience reminds me of another discovery. As a teenager, I discovered for myself that the church I'd been attending was the most delicious thing in my life. I'd been going with my family for years to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but never really partaken of the full menu - I'd only nibbled here and there. Once I did, I loved it and I couldn't wait to share with my friends. I introduced the LDS Church to my two closest friends of that era. One joined the church a few years later while attending Brigham Young University with me and I was honored to attend his wedding in the temple. He remains an active member today. My other friend investigated the church and decided he wasn't interested, but it didn't affect our relationship in the least. I respected his faith, he respected mine and our families remain very close all these years later. In fact, he's one of the finest Christians I've ever known. How many others have I shared my faith with in the years since? Not enough. For some reason the older I've gotten, the tougher it's become. But why? Why is it easier to broadcast something as temporary as my affection for a new restaurant than to share something as eternal and lasting as my faith? Shouldn't we approach missionary work with the same level of enthusiasm? Recently, I've spent time pondering and evaluating everyone I've ever personally shared my faith with. I can't recall a single soul who's become offended, asked me never to call again or ridiculed me for opening my mouth. Some have said "Thanks, but no thank you." But none have answered, "How dare you share something that brings you such happiness." If you stop and do the same - consider everyone you've made a deliberate effort to share your religion with - can you find anyone who's ended your friendship as a result of your bold testimony? No matter our faith, whether Protestant, Presbyterian, Methodist or Mormon, we should all desire to share what's valuable to us with others. And what if we don't? I understand in the next life it's unlikely anyone will approach me with tears in their eyes and tell me how much they wish I had introduced them to my favorite Asian restaurant. But isn't it possible someone could approach me and ask why I never shared my faith? "You had something so precious in your life, a faith that I could have relied on and a community of believers that would have strengthened my family. Why didn't you tell me?" I don't want to have any of those conversations. Do you? I invite everyone to share what matters most. If it brings you happiness, share it. If it brings you comfort and peace in a troubled world, share it. If it bonds your family together, share it with other families. If it's so delicious, then tell the world why. Because it just might be the most important discovery you'll ever share.
On more than one occasion, I have talked about this very subject...sharing what is important to you. Actually I do that almost every day on my blog. But I love the way that Jason explained it! I however have had a few bad experiences in sharing what I believe. I had a dear friend for over a year and once she found out I was a Mormon, she left the dinner table with her family and never spoke to me again! When I was young and growing up in West Virginia, there were many times that I got made fun of or teased because of my religion. In High School, there was on me, my brother and my cousin who were Mormons...so some times the opposition got hard. Most of the kids didn't know what I believed, but just teased and about what I would NOT participate in...smoking, drinking and drugs! The peer pressure was hard, but I knew in my heart that it was right for me, so I stayed close to the principles I held so dear.
Now I have to say, that I have just as many friends who are not members of my faith, as I do that are. We respect each other. I am grateful for their friendship and I respect their beliefs and differences. I think Jason was right though, if we are so willing to share little things that bring us joy, then why do we hesitate to share the BIG things that bring us even more joy? I do believe the world would be a better place if we shared our beliefs more, and if we were all more excepting and respectful of each others beliefs.
I hope my friends know that I am a MORMON, I have to admit that my faith and beliefs are truly what bring me and my family the most happiness in the world. I also hope that my friends, would feel comfortable enough around me to ask me about my beliefs if they had any questions, or wanted to know more. I have always loved the statement " if you want to know about plumbing, then call a plumber not a electrician. If you want to know about carpentry, as a carpenter, not a plumber" The same is true of any religion, don't just take what others say about different religions, if you want to then ask the person who lives it!
Good night dear friends!
PS And by the way, I think Sushi Land is my favorite restaurant, just in case you were wondering! :)
"To attain inner peace you must actually give your life, not just your possessions. When you at last give your life - bringing into alignment your beliefs and the way you live then, and only then, can you begin to find inner peace." ~ Peace Pilgrim