Sunday, November 30, 2014

Our Gift To Choose

Thanksgiving was last week, and I'm a bit behind, but today I'm so grateful for my agency, and the chances I have to learn.

This past year, I've got to say, it's been tough. I've felt confused, anxious, scared, and so alone at times. I've struggled to let Heavenly Father be a part of my life, and I've realized how impossible it is to try and do it without Him.

I'm so grateful for my agency. I'm so grateful for the amazing gift my Heavenly Father has given me to chose and be responsible for myself. I'm also grateful for the Atonement that was made, because Heavenly Father knows I'm not perfect, and He knows I'm going to make mistakes and bad choices in my life.

Our agency is essential to the Plan of Salvation, because if we did not have the ability to act for ourselves, there wouldn't be any progress in this life. And that's why we are here! Our life is like a big learning adventure, and we don't always see it, but it really is so amazing and is proof of how much Heavenly Father really does love all His children.

I've made bad choices in my life. I made the mistake of choosing not to attend church for one week. And I told myself it was okay, because it was just for one week, and I would go the next. But that one week became two, then three, then a month, and the next thing I knew I hadn't been to church for six months. My scripture study and my prayers were happening less and less, and eventually, I started doubting things I thought I would never doubt. What you choose is so important, even when it doesn't seem like it.

But making one bad decision doesn't mean it's the end. In the October 2010 General Conference, Elder Robert D. Hales gave a talk about agency, and he said:

"Whenever we disobey, we spiritually paint ourselves into a corner and are captive to our choices. Though we are spiritually stuck, there is always a way back. . .  Returning to the Lord isn’t easy, but it is worth it."

We can chose to turn back to God, and He will be there ready to help us. I've heard stories of people saying that God never really leaves us during out trials, and when you do return to Him, you will find that He never left you. I can testify that God doesn't leave us. You think he does, you think He has. You think He's left you all alone to figure everything out for yourself, and He isn't listening to you when you hit rock bottom and realize you need to start calling for help.

But He is ALWAYS there. There were times when I would pray, and I even felt like Heavenly Father was there and He was listening, but He just wouldn't do anything to help me. I would get confused and frustrated, and I wished He would just do something. I wanted everything to just make sense, I wanted Him to show me what I was supposed to do.

But it doesn't work like that. Because if God was to just show us what we needed to do, we wouldn't be learning for ourselves. It wouldn't be a personal journey for each of us, like it needs to be. We would just be puppets, moving when the strings were pulled and we had to follow.

God has already shown us what we need to do. We have the Commandments, the Word of Wisdom, the scriptures, and prophets and apostles that teach us the things we need to do. It's a much more powerful experience when we make the choice ourselves to be obedient to those things, and it puts us on the path to progression we were sent here to take.

When you make a bad decision, the Atonement of Jesus Christ is there to help you overcome your weaknesses and mistakes, because Heavenly Father is amazing, and He knew we would all need it. We don't need to feel hopeless forever, because it's never too late to make the right choice. Humbling yourself and choosing to act in obedience is such a powerful experience, and you can make it right with Heavenly Father when you make it a focus to repent daily, and make better choices more often than bad ones.

"And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask [and act] with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost." Moroni 10:4

I know that God lives, He gave us our agency, and He's expecting us to use it. We have the potential and the strength, because we are His children, and we have His help. It reminds me of my favorite scripture, the one I like to live by:

"For with God nothing shall be impossible." Luke 1:37

I say these things in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
And I wish everyone an upcoming Merry Christmas! :)

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