The late President Marion G. Romney said, “Free agency means the freedom and power to choose and act. Next to life itself, it is man’s most precious inheritance.” (General Conference, April 1976.)
I have always had a hard time making choices. Even when the choices were which candy bar to buy or what clothes to wear. So when major decisions came up it was almost impossible. What should I become and whom should I marry were difficult. I just didn’t want to make the wrong choice. I just wanted a voice to tell me what to do and I would obey. But that isn’t the way we really learn and grow.
James e Faust stated “Making perfect choices all of the time is not possible. It just doesn’t happen. But it is possible to make good choices we can live with and grow from. When God’s children live worthy of divine guidance they can become “free forever, knowing good from evil; to act for themselves and not to be acted upon.”
Elder Faust continues”Some choices present good opportunities no matter which road we take—for example, when deciding which career path to follow or which school to attend. I know one bright and able young man who wanted to become a doctor, but the opportunity did not open up for him; so he chose to follow the law. He has become a very successful lawyer, but I am satisfied he would have been equally successful as a doctor.”
I wish I understood this better when I was younger. I had always been involved in sports and grades were really important to me. When it came to decide what I wanted to do with my life I really had no idea. I had scholarships from a lot of different colleges and Universities. I finally decided on the University of Alberta, they had given me an entrance scholarship and I thought it would be adventurous to move away. After my first year I had really loved and enjoyed my occupational therapy classes. I really wanted to be in rehabilitation medicine. Except I missed the deadline and rather than wait a whole nother year I decided to go into the teaching program at the University of Lethbridge. I never did apply to occupational therapy program. I would have made a good OT but I am a good teacher too.
Elder Faust also taught, “Some of our important choices have a time line. If we delay a decision, the opportunity is gone forever. Sometimes our doubts keep us from making a choice that involves change. Thus an opportunity may be missed. As someone once said, “When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice.”
I used to be so scared of making the wrong choice that I wouldn’t make any choice. That way if I was unhappy with the result i could blame the person I let choose. But I like what Elder Faust says… “when you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice.” Why would I give others the ability to make my choices I had fought so hard premortally to have? And yet I did lots of the time.
I asked my girlfriend Pam about what she thought about Personal Revelation and she let me record her answer :
My friend Pam
When Sean and I got engaged, I told him yes immediately. Then I realized that I needed to pray about it. To see if that was a good decision. So I did, I prayed about it and I felt no answer at all. We got married and we continued our life.
Years later I said “Lord, we’re tight now, how come you didn’t answer me about Sean? You never told me to marry him.”
I felt that he told me, “Well you were saying, ‘Do I have to marry him?’ and my answer is you don’t have to do anything. I am not going to make you marry someone. You could marry him. I’ve arranged for you guys to meet, I’ve arranged for you guys to have feelings for each other. But if you choose not to marry him that is okay. Then you can move on with your life and marry someone else that maybe won’t have the same kind of life but you will have a life and you will learn the lessons you need to. I’m not going to take away your free will.”
I felt like in personal revelation there is ALWAYS room for your choices and he doesn’t want to see you make bad choices but he does want to see you make choices. He doesn’t want to tell you what to do. It’s not who He is.
I wish I met Pam earlier in my life. Infact, I would not hear her lesson until the Lord had taught it to me myself. But I write this post to pass my information on to others. Learn the lesson that the Lord wants us to choose. If I feel like there are only two answers to my questions I pray to the Lord to have my eyes opened to a million more solutions. God never works in ultimatums. but blesses us with so many choices.
Last but not least I will end this post with this thought from Elder Scott :
“When He answers yes, it is to give us confidence.
When He answers no, it is to prevent error.
When He withholds an answer, it is to have us grow through faith in Him, obedience to His commandments, and a willingness to act on truth. We are expected to assume accountability by acting on a decision that is consistent with His teachings without prior confirmation. We are not to sit passively waiting or to murmur because the Lord has not spoken. We are to act.”
May you act and not be acted upon… may you choose and not just let things happen.