Overcoming My Fear of Agency
November 2019

Overcoming My Fear of Agency

Sometimes knowing that we have our own agency can make decisions pretty nerve-wracking!

Young adult woman looking up

Before I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I thought agency was the perfect excuse for me to make mistakes and sin without taking responsibility for my actions. I thought, “If God didn’t want me to do these things, He wouldn’t have given me freedom of choice.” It was a childish thought, but I defended myself and my actions this way for a long time—placing the responsibility for all my bad decisions on my Creator.

Fortunately, the Lord didn’t allow me to remain ignorant throughout my life.

Agency Has Always Been Part of Us

When I was introduced to the gospel and the plan of salvation, I learned that agency has been a part of our lives from the beginning. Even before we came to earth, we were able to choose for ourselves, including the decision to follow either God’s plan or Satan’s rebellion. And because we are here, it means we chose to follow Heavenly Father. We accepted the truth that the choices we would make for ourselves could help us become more wise, just, and charitable, and also cause us pain at times. But it would be worth it if it meant we could become like Heavenly Father and return to His presence again.

I finally understood that agency is a gift and a tool to help us move toward the Lord and our heavenly home.

I was shocked when I learned this truth.

Learning that agency is not an excuse for my mistakes, but rather a gift, was a blessing. But this knowledge also made me nervous about how I used agency and made choices. I sometimes have pressing questions like,

“How can I use my agency correctly?”

“How can I make good decisions every day?”

“How do I know if my choices are in line with God’s will?”

“What if I fail?”

My own agency was suddenly scary.

Finding Hope from Face to Face

During the young adult Face to Face event with Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and Elder Craig C. Christensen of the Seventy in September 2019, I learned that other young adults were also nervous about making decisions . They want to know how to use their agency to do good and honor their commitment to Heavenly Father, especially when facing complicated situations every day.

Following a question about making decisions, Elder Christensen gave an inspired answer, saying: “ We came here to grow and experience and to learn and become closer to Heavenly Father. That process is enhanced as we choose to go forward with faith. Many times revelation comes as we choose to go forward not knowing. We shouldn’t wait to have everything laid out and know the beginning and the end. Part of agency is prayerfully considering and moving forward with faith and watching the revelation come as you choose to act.”

His words truly gave me peace. I learned that using my freedom to choose and doing my best to follow Heavenly Father is a learning process. And part of learning is making mistakes and repenting to become better. I also learned I can show complete faith and trust in Him by following Him even when I don’t know what will come next.

We Can Always Choose Righteously

Through prayer and listening to the Holy Ghost, we can use our agency to choose to do good, to act in faith, and to follow Heavenly Father’s will for us (see Doctrine and Covenants 58:27-28). When I feel confused or need to make a big decision, I know I can trust Him to guide me as I choose righteously and move forward with faith. He knows each of us and knows our potential. As we serve Him and use our agency for good, we will always be worthy of His miracles and blessings.