Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to Live My Life as My Own

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are taught to be self-reliant. This includes making decisions for ourselves. I have heard often that no child is the same. Each child comes to the world needing, wanting and giving different things. However, we find ourselves listening to others tell miraculous tricks that work on improving their life at work, at home, and in their social lives and, as readers, we believe that those tricks would work on us as well. 

I believe in listening to those who are experienced to learn from them. But I also know that we are born with different talents and that the things I learn from others are to be applied in my life after modifying it to fit me personally. For example, I have a talented friend who wakes up every morning before six to run to her gym to exercise. I know who I am, and I know that if I wake up that early, no one would want to be around me. I also know that I don't have a strong motivation to exercise. So I took her wisdom and started waking up half an hour earlier than normal to exercise in my living room while I listen to instructors on the internet. This is much more suitable for my personal needs but I still improved my health by listening to my friend. 

This also applies to our bigger choices in life. We have parents, teachers, peers, and other leaders telling us to make the same choices they did in life. I believe that those who loves us tell us to make their same choices because they care and it has worked fore them so they think it will work for us. And I don't think they tell us what to do because they think they are better than us. I also believe that self-improvement books are written by someone's personal experience and that is why there are so many different types of self-improvement books to choose from. While listening to other's advice is always a smart choice, the choices you make should be the one that is best for you at the time. So how do we make our own choices in a world that is accustomed to following other's opinions? How do we break the bad habits of our previous generations or improve on the good ones? 

In Alma chapter 37 verse 37, it reads, "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good [...]." 

This scriptures helps me understand that if I want to be better, I need to counsel with the Lord in all that I do. This includes the small and almost insignificant routine that you've developed in your life whether from personal habits or from habits you learned in the home. For instance, my family had various schedules so we would go to bed whenever we finished our work, homework, house chores and even watching TV or playing games. My parents would go to bed at different times as well as all my siblings. So when I married my husband and he told me that his parents went to bed at the same time, I prayed to figure out what I wanted in my future home. And I broke the habit of sleeping whenever to gain a healthier relationship with my husband--even if that meant I had to forgo my personal indulgences of Netflix shows. 

In Doctrine and Covenants section 9 verses 7-9, it states, "Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask me.

 8 But, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right.

 9 But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong; therefore, you cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me."

These versus summarize how we can be self-reliant in our choices. If we want to make the best choices in our life, we need to study our options, gain an understanding of those options through parents, friends, and other people or through books and the internet, and then we need to pray to our Heavenly Father if the choice you want to make is the best one. We can't assume that God will stop us from making the wrong choices if we haven't done our part in researching all of our options. And we can't blame God for the wrong choices we have made if we didn't research carefully and ask Him with a sincere heart before making those choices. 

I know that it can be challenging to go against the cultural norm even if you know that your choice is the better one. I know that if we take the time to contemplate our life and how we can change it for the better, God will help you find what you are searching for. I know that we can improve our personal life, family, work life, and our society by learning how to make our own decisions. We can only do this by gaining more knowledge and seeking for God's will in all that we do. 

What are some experiences you have had when you have made your own decisions based on the gospel of Jesus Christ? 


  1. When I was sixteen or seventeen, I went to a friend's birthday party. After we finished presents and games, we decided to watch a movie. My parents were always lenient on the "no watching rated R movie" commandment and so I didn't think my parents would care if I watched another one. But by then, Sunday school lessons and wise counsels from leaders on obeying all the commandments rang through my head, so I decided to text my dad. I was expecting a 'sure, go ahead' kind of response. But to my horror, my dad replied, "it's up to you. You decide." Now the moral responsibility was put on my own shoulders. My friend and I left the party early that night. It wasn't super dramatic. We all remained friends after. But because of the choice I had made for myself that night, I have never watched or been tempted to watch another R rated movie again.

  2. A decision that I had to make was when I bought my first car. As silly as it is I had to really think about it. I had an okay job at the time and I thought I could purchase anything I wanted, how naive I was. It came down to two cars. A Corrola or a Matrix. Both were great cars, and I couldn't decide. My mom was there to help with the whole process and be source of all knowledge. When it came down to it I could get the Corrola that was cheaper or go with the Matrix that was my favorite color and more expensive.

    I thought my mom would make the decision for me, I was still living at home but now quite on my own yet. In the end she made me make the choice, and I'm glad I chose the one that I did. It all came down to living more comfortably within my means. We are counseled to never get into debt. Yes, I had to get a loan, but through provident living I was able to make more than the needed payments and pay off the car well before the loan came due. This freed me from the pressure of having that loam over me for years to come. Had I purchased the other car I would still be paying it off.

    And since then I have continued to think about how much I need to spend and still live within the realm of my means. I am a happier person and my marriage is greatly strengthened since we don't have the added stress of money worries.

  3. I am so grateful for the scriptures and the Spirit to help me navigate life's challenges.

  4. There will come a time in all our lives when we will make important life decisions. If we don't develop the ability to receive personal revelation for ourselves, we will be thrown around by world views. It is very comforting to know that in the darkest times of life, we can always rely on God's existing commandments, and His direct revelation to you what you should do. There are consequences in all things. Luckily, if we choose righteously, the consequences may be blessings of peace, joy and freedom.

  5. As you mentioned, there is a lot of opinion out in the world and a lot of well meaning advice. And some of it may be exactly what we need to hear but the gift of personal revelation can help us discern what is best for us and for our lives. Heavenly Father knows us personally and He knows all things, therefore it makes sense that He would be the best one to turn to when we need guidance and help in making important decisions. I think that turning to the Lord has been the best way for me to make better choices in my life that have led to much more happiness and peace.

  6. I have found that as I strive first to turn to God and His revealed word for answers, my direct dependence on other people for answers decreases.


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