Choose to Climb: Higher Still

Choose to Climb: Higher Still February 22, 2023

Agency, the privilege to make our own choices and determine our own paths, is the gift that God will not take away from us, regardless of what we may do with it. He doesn’t force us to choose anything—not even His love and His way. He invites and guides us to climb higher and higher towards what He wants us to experience and knows we may become. But we must choose to climb—often overcoming fears, struggling past obstacles, and strengthening our faith as we pass each point moving ahead.

Climb Past Uncertainty or Fear

In our premortal state as spirit beings, Heavenly Father’s divine plan provided for us to be freeborn in the flesh, with the right to make choices and act for ourselves in mortality.

We make hundreds of choices every day. We may not even recognize some of them as choices: which cereal to eat for breakfast, which shoes to wear, whether or not to exercise, what time to go to bed.

But some decisions take more effort and thought, as some of the responses we choose may shape the course of our lives. President Dallin H. Oaks advised, “We make better choices and decisions if we look at the alternatives and ponder where they will lead.”1

My husband and I faced such a decision when, at age 27, I experienced a molar pregnancy. A molar pregnancy occurs when a slow-growing tumor develops from cells necessary for developing an embryo and placenta. Cysts form, and the embryo does not survive. Usually the cysts are benign, but in my case the cells threatened to become cancerous and spread to nearby tissues. My husband and I had to decide if I should undergo chemotherapy for several months.

If we didn’t take measures through medication, cancer might develop. We had to climb past anxiety and fear. The decision for chemotherapy resulted in  a very difficult year, but as we were able to climb past our hardships, the outcome was a clear bill of health.

Climb Around Obstacles

The prophet Lehi taught, “For it must needs be, that there is an opposition in all things. If not so . . . righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad” (2 Ne. 2:11).

Obstacles are necessary for the human experience.

In his book The Problem of Pain, well-loved Christian author C. S. Lewis wrote that in Christ we have our happiness, but “whether we like it or not, God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want” (see pp. 46-47). What we need involves obstacles, struggles, and pain.2

Determination and tenacity enable us to overcome obstacles. We don’t develop strength by walking only on smooth, even ground. At times people or circumstances in our lives may seem  determined to block our efforts to climb to our full potential.

 But the Lord supports and guides us in using our agency to climb over, around, or though obstacles. Some things in life we cannot control, but we can control our own attitudes and actions.

We can choose to focus on our own abilities and potential rather than on obstacles and limitations in our way.

Continue to Climb Upward With The Savior

Sometimes we may feel that we have no more strength to climb. Our obstacles and our needs differ. President Henry B. Eyring gave us this perspective.

The combination of trials and their duration are as varied as are the children of our Heavenly Father. No two are alike. But what is being tested is the same, at all times in our lives and for every person: will we do whatsoever the Lord our God will command us?3

Our Savior is aware of each individual’s challenges and obstacles. He knows where and how we are to climb. President Eyring continued,

Knowing why we are tested and what the test is tells us how to get help. We have to go to God. He gives us the commandments. And we will need more than our own strength to keep them.

He will help us with the strength we need. As the song “Past the Point” (linked at the beginning of this blog) declares, we can always choose to keep running and climbing, pushing through even when we feel like we are passing the point where we must give up. With God’s grace, we all have the capacity to climb high and achieve great things if we remain determined and focused on our goals.

Jeffrey R. Holland expressed this with such enthusiasm and joy.

A rewarding, abundant, and eternal life is the very object of His merciful plan for His children! It is a plan predicated on the truth “that all things work together for good to them that love God.” So keep loving. Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow, and forever.4

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