Woman with Pen

How to Take Control of Your Life through Active Decision-Making

We have been given the incredible gift of agency from God. When we use this agency to actively make decisions, we enable ourselves and the Lord to guide our lives. 

A few years ago I was accepted into a study abroad program, and I had a decision to make: if I wanted to go, I had to pay a deposit. But when the day came to decide, I was so unsure of myself that I ended up doing nothing. I didn’t pay the deposit, so I couldn’t go, but I also didn’t inform the advisor by the deadline, so I don’t know if anyone else was able to go in my place.

"If we fail to choose, we fail to act."-Lynn A. Mickelsen

Photo by Arek Socha

How different could my life—or somebody else’s—have been if I had actively, not passively, made that decision? We can too easily become paralyzed when faced with decisions. But if we wait too long, a decision will make itself, and we won’t always like the outcome. In a BYU devotional called “Decisiveness in the Face of Uncertainty: The Basis of Progress,” Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen teaches us why we need to make active decisions. He says, “If we fail to choose, we fail to act.”

Elder Mickelsen teaches that being decisive requires faith. “We exercise our faith by stepping into the darkness,” he says. “If we step with faith, surely the light will follow.” When we are afraid of making the wrong choice, we need to replace that fear with faith. As we live righteously and use our agency to make active decisions, the Lord will not let us go astray. He often expects us to make our own decisions, but he will use those righteous decisions to guide us down the right path.

Read Elder Lynn A. Mickelsen’s devotional “Decisiveness in the Face of Uncertainty: The Basis of Progress” to learn more about decision-making and how to use faith to actively exercise your agency.

Source: BYU Speeches

—Avery Andros, Latter-day Saint Insights


Find more insights 

Take a look at “Agency and Accountability” in Gospel Topics to learn more about what agency is and why it’s so important.

Read President Thomas S. Monson’s talk “The Three Rs of Choice” to learn about the tools that we have to help us in our decision-making process.

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