The world teaches us we are victims of others' choices and victims of circumstances, but agency means we can choose how we think about and therefore how we respond to those things. It's easy to get caught up in resentment, jealousy, anger, and plenty of other unpleasant emotions and thought patterns when we don't access the power of our agency. We are truly free to choose in every instance! It seems like a very basic concept, but it is truly profound and can make all the difference!
Without a doubt, I have learned that the way I choose to think about things is what makes the biggest difference in my emotional well being. I first learned about this from authors Victor Frankl and Byron Katie. It was so interesting to find gospel principles in their books. Once I truly embraced this truth, I seemed to find it on every page in the scriptures. Probably the best and most inclusive gospel resource about this is the BYU Speech 100 Percent Responsible by Lynn G. Robbins. Please read or listen to this! It's a life changer, I'm telling you! Another tremendous resource I recently found is Jody Moore (previously Bold New Mom).. If you don't know her and her podcast, you should! I recommend listening to her podcast and her ideas build on each other so start from the beginning!
You were a warrior for agency in the premortal sphere. You voted for it and you fought for it! Fight for it now! Choose to be an agent who acts rather than being acted upon. That is where your power is and, most importantly, your access to Christ and His power is in choosing Him!
When I was in the process of seeking to find answers for emotional wellness by applying gospel principles, we sang 'Israel, Israel God is Calling' at church. These two lines stood out to me.. calling from lands of WOE to Zion where we will REJOICE! The contrast is stark..
The spirit seemed to speak to me that in the world we will have sadness and despair, but Heavenly Father is always inviting us to come to Zion, where within Her walls we will have joy and happiness! Jesus Christ has overcome the world and with Him and through His power we can let go of the world and expand into our pure, eternal, and divine natures.
Coming to Zion today is not about a trek west, but I’m suggesting it will include a trek inward, to see what impurities we can purge from our hearts. A very big part of becoming a Zion people is letting go of emotions and emotional behaviors which will not serve our highest good and replacing them with emotions and behaviors that will lead us to eternal life and help us build the kingdom before Christ’s return upon the earth.
This is why, like Alma 27:18 teaches, true JOY is reserved for the penitent and humble seekers of happiness.. because mighty change and humility are required to come to Zion and those who make that journey will find happiness.