I've been going through some very important decisions in my life lately. It's now been seven months since I have returned home from missionary service and my life here is taking off. I have completed a semester of university and another will be starting in a few weeks. I have changed universities and degrees, trying to figure out where I would like to take my life. It is a series of decisions that I have not taken lightly at all.
During this time, I have taken to much prayer for guidance in my decisions. But I have taken this quote to heart.
I would never ask the Lord to do what I am not willing to do myself.
I making decisions for living situation, school, work, relationships and the future, I have been thinking a lot myself. But in doing so, I have been seeking help from the Lord. Trying to find out what He would want me to do with my life. There have been times in my life where I have been praying for the answers to fall into my lap. They didn't come that easily. There have been other times in my life where I have been working really hard, both as a missionary and at home, to find answers and solutions and they still didn't come through divine inspiration. Being human, we all have intelligence, which is a God-given gift that me must use in order to personally succeed in life. Out Father wants us to learn and grow and we can't if we don't use our heads. Sometimes we are tested, confused, lost and wanting answers and they don't come. This doesn't mean that God doesn't exist or that God doesn't love us. It means the opposite.
While serving as a missionary there were many times where I received answers from God. They usually came at the right time with the right solution. There also were many times where no answer was received at all. These were some of the most frustrating times of my mission. I was working hard, doing what I was supposed to be doing and I still wasn't getting answers. The problem was I was asking the Lord to think for me when I wasn't willing to think for myself. There is a quote from an apostle, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, which has caused me to think and reflect on many occasions.
“[A person may have] a strong desire to be led by the Spirit of the Lord but . . .unwisely extends that desire to the point of wanting to be led in all things. Adesire to be led by the Lord is a strength, but it needs to be accompanied by anunderstanding that our Heavenly Father leaves many decisions for our personalchoices. Personal decision making is one of the sources of the growth we aremeant to experience in mortality. Persons who try to shift all decision making tothe Lord and plead for revelation in every choice will soon find circumstances inwhich they pray for guidance and don't receive it. For example, this is likely tooccur in those numerous circumstances in which the choices are trivial or eitherchoice is acceptable.“We should study things out in our minds, using the reasoning powers our Creatorhas placed within us. Then we should pray for guidance and act upon it if wereceive it. If we do not receive guidance, we should act upon our best judgment.Persons who persist in seeking revelatory guidance on subjects on which the Lordhas not chosen to direct us may concoct an answer out of their own fantasy orbias, or they may even receive an answer through the medium of false revelation”DALLIN H. OAKS
Whether spiritual or secular, the major crossroads in my life have mostly been prayerfully considered. I feel that the best way to come to an appropriate conclusion is to think "What would God have me do?" Sometimes I got answers right away, sometimes after a while and sometimes none at all. But I am confident that if I use my intellect to make important decisions, God will ensure that I come out on top. There have been time where I have taken the harder road, but been better for it. I know that God will always prevent me from going down an incorrect path. Sometimes, there are no incorrect paths and the paths available will be of good to me and it's all up to me to decide.
A poem by Robert Frost that a past president of the church, President Gordon B. Hinckley, quoted has inspired me on many occasions.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.ROBERT FROST