Elder Uchtdof's Ensign message speaks to my present condition to some degree—While I feel like I'm living righteously, I feel like my use of time lacks direction. I desire goals, or landmarks, to help me guide my choices. I have some big decisions coming up and simply don't have time to dilly-dally. I know that by following Elder Utchdorf's counsel, I will be able to identify those markers I am seeking.
"Spiritual landmarks are indispensable for keeping us on the straight and narrow path. They give clear direction as to the way we should travel—but only if we recognize them and walk toward them. If we refuse to be guided by these landmarks, they become meaningless, decorative masses that have no purpose but to break up the flatness of the horizon. Even when we think we are following a straight spiritual path, without true landmarks to guide us—without the guidance of the Spirit—we will tend to wander.
- It’s not enough to go solely by our instincts.
- It’s not enough to have the best of intentions.
- It won’t do to rely only on our natural senses.
Bonus Counsel from President Monson"Your [patriarchal] blessing is not to be folded neatly and tucked away. It is not to be framed or published. Rather, it is to be read. It is to be loved. It is to be followed. Your patriarchal blessing will see you through the darkest night. It will guide you through life’s dangers." — "Your Patriarchal Blessing: A Liahona of Light," Ensign, Nov. 1986, 66.
"Our Heavenly Father did not launch us on our eternal voyage without providing the means whereby we could receive from Him guidance to ensure our safe return. I speak of prayer. I speak too of the whisperings from that still, small voice." — "The Race of Life," Liahona and Ensign, May 2012, 92.
My WitnessThere is a way we can know the best course of action to take in our lives. As we humbly seek the Lord's counsel through a sacred study of his words, and by praying/listening intently to know His will, our paths will be illuminated. I testify that God will never force a decision upon us. Rather, as we tap into His wisdom through study and prayer, God can enable us to clearly see the eternal consequences of the possibilities in our mind. I'm not saying that God will leave us without options [directionless] in our times of darkness. I'm just saying that, in most cases, God will not say, "This is your one and only option to get to your next landmark." Instead, He might say, "You could take this dune, which is a bit steeper, but faster; or you might choose to take this dune which is more round about, but it allows for a more gradual ascent."
I know that Heavenly Father has an infinite love for each one of His children. Agency is our keystone to spiritual growth, and what makes the development of the divine characteristics (such as wisdom, charity, faith, integrity, hope, etc) possible. As we exercise our agency in the way that God would have us do so, great things will happen in our lives: we will find peace and understanding, the weight of our earthly burdens will be likened, we will bless the lives of those around us, and we will ultimately become more like Him and prepare ourselves to live again with Him, forever with our own families.