In October, we had the opportunity to listen to the words of my church leaders during the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints General Conference. During the conference the Prophet, Thomas S. Monson, shared a message. In his address, he said these three simple words with a lot of meaning: “Decisions determine destiny.”
When I think about what these words mean, I think about it in a few different ways. The first comes from a lesson my Young Men’s President shared. The lesson focused on life choices. He drew a stick figure on a whiteboard with two different lines going in opposite directions. The lines, he explained, represented two different choices. Not necessarily big choices, or good or bad ones, but important ones. From there, each choice along the path would lead to two more, and then two new ones, so on and so forth. He explained that at first it may not seem that our decisions can change where we are going much, but as we go on making more and more decisions over time, we could end up on completely on the other end of where we could have, or should have, ended up.
It had an impact on me as he explained this: “What if, because you chose one day, in college for example, to waste time away after your classes. Then, because you chose to waste time, you had to do your homework all that night. Then, because you were forced to stay up late doing your assignments, you slept in through your alarm. Because you slept through your alarm, you had to run across campus to get to your class on time. Finally, because you were running with all your might to get to class on time, not paying attention to anything else, you ran right past the girl that you were supposed to marry. If you would have known that because you chose to waste time the previous afternoon, you would end up running right past your meant-to-be wife, would you have made the same decisions?”
I know this may sound a little extreme, but there is truth in this. The small decisions we make do add up, and can have a large influence on who we become.
In the For Strength of Youth pamphlet, we read, “You are responsible for the choices you make. God is mindful of you and will help you make good choices, even if your family and friends use their agency in ways that are not right. Have the moral courage to stand firm in obeying God’s will, even if you have to stand alone. As you do this, you set an example for others to follow.”
What I take from this, is that Heavenly Father wants us to make the right choices. Even if the choices may not seem like they will have an enormous influence on our lives. He promises us that only good things can come to us when we make the right choices, and He is willing to help us see the right thing to do.
I know that Christ cares about us, and cares about the things we care about. He wants us to be happy, and is willing to show us the way, if we ask for His help. Decisions (big or small) really do determine our destiny.