This last General Conference (October 2010) was great and I really enjoyed the messages presented. One topic that was addressed and stuck out a little to me was the topic of agency. I hadn't really thought too much on this subject because it seemed relatively simple. Agency is our ability to choose. Isn't that it? Apparently there was something else I needed to learn from this gospel concept.
Agency was essential to the Plan of Salvation
talk on how:
Our agency—our ability to choose and act for ourselves—was an essential element of this plan. Without agency we would be unable to make right choices and progress. Yet with agency we could make wrong choices, commit sin, and lose the opportunity to be with Heavenly Father again. For this reason a Savior would be provided to suffer for our sins and redeem us if we would repent. By His infinite Atonement, He brought about “the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice.”
We all have to make choices in our lives. Some of them don't matter, but others do. We need to focus on making the right decisions with the choices that matter. I've learned through some experiences of my own that when we make bad choices, the number of choices we have goes down. The converse of this statement is also true: when we make right choices, we're able to choose more freely. Take Elder Hales example for instance:
In our mortal journey, it is helpful to remember that the opposite is also true: when we don’t keep the commandments or follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost, our opportunities are reduced; our abilities to act and progress are diminished. When Cain took his brother’s life because he loved Satan more than God, his spiritual progress was stopped.
In my youth I learned an important lesson about how our actions may limit our freedom. One day my father assigned me to varnish a wooden floor. I made the choice to begin at the door and work my way into the room. When I was almost finished, I realized I had left myself no way to get out. There was no window or door on the other side. I had literally painted myself into a corner. I had no place to go. I was stuck.
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. Like repentance, turning around and walking across a newly varnished floor means more work—a lot of resanding and refinishing! Returning to the Lord isn’t easy, but it is worth it."
May we all continue to choose to come unto Christ. We'll be so much more happier not only in this life, but in the life to come.