My alarm sounds unexpectedly…I startle awake.
“What?! Why?!” I think to myself, “not today 6am…it’s Saturday…I can study later…Saturdays are for sleeping in!”
I lay in bed half asleep not wanting to do anything…not wanting to move…not wanting to even open my eyes. My motivation is gone and my will to greet the day has vanished. Soon I hear footsteps coming up the stairs and my door creeks open…
“Mom, it’s morning and I’m hungry,” Kaya says cheerfully “What’s for breakfast?”
I grumpily hand her my phone instead of getting up to fix her something to eat…
“Why don’t you watch Netflix for a while,” I reply exhaustedly, “Mom needs a break this morning.”
I roll over and pull the blankets over my head to hide the sunlight trying to make its way through my window.
My alarm sounds unexpectedly and I jolt awake. My heart races and I’m somewhat delirious. When my mind catches up to my heart, I realize my room isn’t as dark and I can hear the birds beginning to chirp outside…
“It can’t be 6am yet…can it?” I think to myself.
I roll over to look at my phone, and sure enough it’s now 6:03 AM. I rub my tired eyes, not wanting to greet the day yet. I will myself to flip on the lamp next to me and a flood of light fills my room. I blink several times trying to adjust my eyes to its brightness. I then pull out my scriptures and begin my morning study…my power hour.
Even though I fight back continuous yawns and tired eyes, I know that my soul needs spiritual strength…today…I can’t get through the day without the armor of God…
“Mom…I’m bored,” Kaya complains “Can we do something fun together?”
I glance up from my phone…
“Not now Kaya…I’m sort of busy,” I reply distracted.
“Can you take your face off of that little screen please,” Kaya pleads.
“Huh….yeah…why don’t you go get ready for bed,” I reply as I finish reading a friend’s Instagram post.
Kaya slumps her shoulders and sighs, “Ok I guess I’ll go brush my teeth.”
Obviously feeling a little defeated she walks slowly down the hall to the bathroom to get ready for bed…yet I hardly notice.
“Kaya it’s a beautiful day outside lets go for a bike ride!” I quip “We can take Mick over to the field and throw the ball for him.”
“Yay!” Kaya cheers “Let me grab my shoes and my purse.”
“What do you need a purse for,” I ask confused.
“To put my teddy in of course,” she states with a matter of fact tone.
“Oh yes, that makes complete sense,” I agree with a giggle.
We open the door to the garage and Micks greets us with slobbery kisses.
“It’s so nice to have you here tonight Sister Chambers,” the Stake President smiles, as he shakes my hand.
“It’s good to see you too President,” I respond.
“Why don’t you come into my office and we’ll get your interview started,” he offers.
I walk into the brightly lit office and sit down in one of the cushy arm chairs in front of his desk. We make small talk for several minutes and then he begins asking me questions.
“Sister Chambers I want you to know the importance of making good decisions and choices,” he urges.
“If you were in the middle of a desert and you came to a stop sign, but no one is in sight…what should you do?” he asks, “Do you stop?”
Without really thinking I reply, “No cop…no stop”
President Wood looks at me for a brief moment, then in a serious tone responds, “No…you stop.”
“Did I really just say, ‘no cop, no stop,’ to the Stake President?” I think to myself mortified, “What was I thinking!?”
President Wood goes on, “When you stop at that stop sign even when no one is looking, you are practicing virtue.”
“You will have moments in your life when you will have to choose whether or not to stop…. even when you think no one is watching. And believe me…someone always will be.”
I’ve been thinking about choices lately. We are faced with all kinds of decisions in a day. And sometimes those decisions are between two goods or something good and something better. Not all of our choices will be life or death or have monumental consequences. However, when we seek to choose not just the good choice…but the best choice…we will find true joy.
Do we wake up to study or do we sleep in? (not that sleeping in every now and then is bad) Do we choose to eat that delicious piece of chocolate or the ordinary looking apple? (usually I go for the delicious looking piece of chocolate) Do we take time to play and interact with our children or do we find ourselves absorbed in our electronic devices.
Each time I reflect back on my interview with my old stake president I have to grin…not just because of my ridiculous response to his question…but because of his wise counsel.
Often times we make choices that we think no one notices or sees. Yet there will always be someone watching. God…our children…our neighbors…and in retrospect…ourselves.
It is so important now, more than ever, to make the decision to do what’s best. We need to be firm in our beliefs and use our agency to change the world…we need to be that ‘light on the hill that cannot be hid’.
President Thomas S. Monson said this in his address during the 2016 Spring LDS General Conference…
“It has been said that the door of history turns on small hinges, and so do people’s lives. The choices we make determine our destiny. When we left our pre-mortal existence and entered mortality, we brought with us the gift of agency. Our goal is to obtain celestial glory, and the choices we make will, in large part, determine whether or not we reach our goal.”
He goes on to say…
“May we maintain the courage to defy the consensus. May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong. As we contemplate the decisions we make in our lives each day—whether to make this choice or that choice—if we choose Christ, we will have made the correct choice.”
I know I have lots of improvements to make…I’m sure we all do. But the glory of this mortal life is the opportunity we all have to progress…to improve. Some of us may just need to make small continuous changes… and some of us may need to take larger steps to make bigger changes…and that ok. When we desire to do good…to do our best…when we use our agency to seek after light…and are continuously striving…that is all God wants. He wants our hearts…he wants our faith…and when we choose Him…He will help ‘make us mighty even unto the power of deliverance’ (1Nephi 1:20).