Power of Choice

I've been thinking alot lately about choice and how much this entire life rests on choice and our ability to make choices. I've been thinking about it for a lot of different reasons. One main reason is because of a very prevailing attitude and belief in society that there are things about ourselves that are just "who we are," which gives rise to the thought or belief then that those things cannot be changed.

The biggest problem with this belief? It is SO easy to fall into! I've also been thinking alot about it because I've been thinking about the challenges all of us face in life - not the same challenges for each of us, but all of us struggle with something - that thorn in the flesh that Paul talked about in Corinthians. A struggle that you don't just overcome, that you work on, but it doesn't seem to get better. Something you often face or live with every day of your life. Sometimes it is exhausting and seems easier to just say - well it us just who I am - I can't change.

It is interesting though how insidiously this mocks and discounts one of the most important things in this life - the Atonement. When we say we cannot change, we are partially right (and oh does Satan love those little half truths) because many times on our own we cannot make the needed change. But to deny change at all, denies the power of the Atonement to give us the strength we need and the power to be able to change.

Sometimes though I think the true test is not in being able to change something completely - those thorns in the flesh but in relying on the power of the Atonement each day with the strength in your ability to make the right choice each day regardless of the struggle. Because at least for me, some struggles that I've prayed for years to be taken away or for me to be able to overcome, those specific things have not happened. So now I pray for the strength each day in my desire to make the right choice regardless.

One of the biggest reasons we are also here on earth is because of and for choice - I always think about the saying I've heard that agency was so important that Heavenly Father lost 1/3 of His children. Choice/agency was what Satan wanted to destroy - but it is also the thing that allows us to be able to learn and grow and then through the Atonement to become like our Heavenly Father. And so everyday Satan attacks our agency and perpetuates as many falsehoods as possible about our ability to choose.

I have also been thinking about choice in regards to the blogpost I posted only for a short time the other day. Very few of you probably even saw it, because after I posted it I wasn't happy with the conclusion I had drawn. I'm going to include that post now but add to it.

*Have you ever just not liked someone? They just totally get on your nerves and you can't stand to be around them? There are very few people in this world that I don't like. In fact, in thinking about it I can't even come up with enough people to quantify a "list."

So it is a little strange when I come across someone I just really dislike. I don't think I will ever hate someone but a very strong dislike is apparently possible :P However, because it is unusual I've been thinking alot about why I don't like this person. What makes it even more strange is that I don't know this person, personally, I haven't met them officially, and the only conversations we've ever had can't really be classified as conversations since they consisted of, "Hey. How are you?" "Good, how are you?" That is really quite minimal in the conversation department :P
You may be asking then, why I don't like this person if:
A: I don't even really know them
B: I haven't really interacted with them
C: I won't be doing A anytime soon and B also won't be happening

That really is then the million dollar question. I must say in my defense I've heard enough interactions of this person and also received information from a very reliable source to have formed an opinion. Granted I know the picture I have is not complete and my opinion is biased for few different reasons, but somehow that still doesn't change for me that I really don't like this person.
The scary thing is, that most often when you don't like someone it says more about you than it does about that other person. And usually when you don't like someone there are specific reasons you don't like them - I could make a list why I don't like this person but that is not the purpose of this post :P, and usually the things that make up this list are "secretly" things you don't like about yourself. And sometimes they are things you fear are part of who you are (hence the "real" reason for not including a list :P).

Kind of a scary prospect, huh?

The other million dollar question then becomes - "What to do, what to do?"

I should pray for charity towards this person, the problem is right now I don't WANT to have charity towards them. So I suppose that means I should pray to WANT to have charity. Hmmm - or I could work through all the issues about myself that this person somehow reminds me of. Yeah I'm sure THAT is going to happen. What would life be without a few issues and I'm not talking magazines here.

For right now, I'm going to be a hater and just work on being tolerant.*

Yeah I decided I totally wasn't happy with that conclusion :P I mean seriously, what kind of attitude was that? I would love to say that I didn't really come to that conclusion and decide on it, if even for a few hours, but that isn't the case. So I realized I do need to pray for charity but then I need to make the choice to do something different. The great thing about choice is what we can make things happen - we can be agents unto ourselves to act and not be acted on.

It was a good exercise though in thinking about choice and the choice I have to not necessarily decide what happens to me and sometimes the feelings that come but I get to decide how I respond.

And I choose a different response.
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