Free Agency and the Power of Choice

Good Wednesday to you all.  Most of my blogs will be pretty random, but there are three things I want to do consistently.

  1. Some sort of DIY project, hopefully once a week.
  2. The Friday Update – keeping you updated on the progress of the house.
  3. A spiritual boost, or something to discuss and think about.

Today I will be doing the third.  Usually I will be all about fun and humor. But I also want to be serious every now and then. I have been thinking, (for those of us who attend church) each Sunday we are able to get some sort of spiritual thought or some inspiration that is supposed to carry us through the rest of the week.  I don’t know about you, but sometimes I need a little more to help me get through the rest of the week.

Mid week seems to be when I start dragging a little, so I decided that each Wednesday I will try to have something inspirational on here.  It won’t always be a religious thing, (but sometimes it will be) and I will try to make it universal for everyone.  But I am who I am, so I am sure my personal views will slip in there anyway.  But the goal is to help me expand my understanding on certain things and propel me through the rest of the week.  Hopefully by including it on the blog it can help someone else out there as well.  So here we go!

I want to start this weeks topic with a quote by a great man named Boyd K. Packer

“The choices we make will affect the scope of our agency in the future.  As of now, we have the right of decision.  What we will have tomorrow will depend on how we decide today.”

One of the things I am most grateful for in this life is our power to choose.  Our Free Agency.  I think we forget sometimes how much choice we do have in the direction our life takes.  In the Book of Mormon there is a scripture in 1 Nephi 3:7 it says,

“And it came to pass that I, Nephi, said unto my father: I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.”

For those who are familiar with that scripture, you may be wondering what that has to do with our choices and free agency.  This scripture is more traditionally used to illustrate obedience, courage, faith, and being prepared.  Nephi truly had those things.  He had faith to follow the Lord, he was obedient to His will, he was courageous in the face of adversity and was prepared to do the things required of him.

When reading that verse, I have often wondered what gave Nephi such conviction to say such a powerful thing.  The words “I will go, I will do.”  At some point he had made a choice.  He actively chose to be those things.  He chose to be obedient and faithful.  When you have not previously made a decision it is very difficult to back it up with conviction.

I have noticed this in my own life.  If I am suddenly confronted with a choice I was not prepared to make, I become wishy washy and seek the advice of others, I vacillate and my actions become likewise.  On the other hand, if there are things I am confronted with that I have already thought about and prepared for, it is easy for me to go forward in my own decision with confidence.  For example I remember when Officer Friendly visited my elementary school while I was in second grade.  He challenged each of us to make the decision That Day to “say no to drugs.”  I followed his advice, and I made the choice that day.  Later in high school when I was confronted with drugs, it was very easy for me to say no. I had already chosen to do so.

I love the quote in Harry Potter where Professor Dumbledore tells Harry  that “It is not our abilities that show what we truly are, it is our choices.”

Another great movie quote is when The Green Goblin confronts Spiderman and tells him that “we are who we chose to be.”  Hoping to convince him to chose the wrong side. For better or for worse, the reality is that our character is made from the choices we have made and will make.

The youth in our church are given a pamphlet called For the Strength of Youth.  It gives a lot of wonderful advice on how to get through this life successfully. One piece of advice it gives is the following.

“You are responsible for the choices you make. You should not blame your circumstances, your family, or your friends if you choose to disobey God’s commandments.  You are a child of God with great strength. You have the ability to choose righteousness and happiness, no matter what your circumstances.”

Sometimes we struggle to be positive and become overwhelmed and overburdened.  Such was my case at a time in my life.  I sought for guidance through prayer.  The answer I received was “Choose happiness, only you can control if you are happy or not.”  I was shocked to have that be my answer.  I had to CHOOSE to be happy!  It wasn’t going to be handed to me.  It was then that I realized how much freedom our free agency actually gives us.  We must choose in all walks of life.  Consciously choose.  It is what makes us who we are.

President Spencer W. Kimball said,

“Life gives to all a choice. You can satisfy yourself with mediocrity if you wish. You can be common, ordinary, dull, colorless, or you can channel your life so that it will be clean, vibrant, progressive, useful, rich. You can soil your record, defile your soul, trample underfoot virtue, honor, and goodness, and thus forfeit an exaltation in the kingdon of God. Or you can be righteous, commanding the respect and admiration of your associates in all walks of life, and enjoying the love of the Lord. Your destiny is in your hands and your all important decisions are your own to make.”

I challenge you to decide who you are today.  If your not sure, then Pray and find out who you are. Decide to be happy, decide to love your family. Get out and make a difference, no matter how small.  Be like Nephi, “I will go, I will do…” and then fill in the rest.  What will you go and do?

I am Tannie Smith, I choose to be happy, I choose to be a good mother, I choose to follow the Lord, I choose to be a friend, I choose to love my family and I choose to make a difference.

What choices will you make today that define who you are tomorrow?

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3 thoughts on “Free Agency and the Power of Choice

  1. Well thought out and expressed Tannie. It is amazing how much choice and control over thaf we have and more importantly how unconciously we give up our right to choose through excuses

  2. Love this! My patriarchal blessing specifically talks about how I must choose to be happy. When I remember that, and remember it’s my choice to be at any point in my life I have found true joy. When I passively make choices and decisions I am so unhappy, feel so frustrated with the outcomes. I LOVE the quote you used by Boyd K. Packer! Applies to so many areas of our life. Thanks for sharing your awesome thoughts!

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