But…We Can ‘Fashion Our Own Destiny!’


I have heard people of “accomplishment” make a familiar statement while rejoicing in attainment of their dreams. There is some variation in the statement but the essence is the same. The statement goes something like this, “My father taught me that you can accomplish anything in this life if you put your mind to it!” Or it is framed, “You can be anything you want to be, if you work hard enough”. I never believed the hyperbole of those kinds of statements because they are not true! To believe so would leave me a badly broken and depressed man! In a moment of euphoric joy, someone illogically makes those proclamations. But anyone who analyses those types of statements can easily debunk them. I might only point to a goal of some to play professional basketball as an example. Most could practice the sport 24/7 and still not make a high school team, let alone the professionals. Many people have limited intellect, physical presence or talents to accomplish their goals. Subsequently, the statements I am referring to make many feel like losers, defeated and worthless. Thankfully however, most of the “you can accomplish anything” type statements are directed towards worldly pursuits and recognition.

I am more receptive to statements like those made by Nationwide Insurance founder Murray D. Lincoln. He said, “People have within their own hands the tools to fashion their own destiny”. Thomas Monson years ago said, “It has been said by one, years ago, that history is influenced by seemingly small decisions, and so are people’s lives. Our lives will depend upon the decisions which we make-for decisions determine destiny”. (“Decisions Determine Destiny,” Tambuli, Jul 1980). In a similar statement he said, “We have been provided divine attributes to guide our destiny. We entered mortality not to float with the moving currents of life, but with the power to think, to reason, and to achieve…Our Heavenly Father did not launch us on our eternal journey without providing the means whereby we could receive from Him God-given guidance to ensure our safe return…Yes I speak of prayer. I speak, too of the whisperings from that still, small voice within each of us: and I do not overlook the holy scriptures…” (“Which Road Will You Travel?,” Ensign, Mar 1991).

So many inspiring stories have been told of those who have had their physical “freedom” taken, but refused to give up their “spiritual” freedom. Men and women over the centuries who have, while captive in body, still been the master over their thoughts and actions. They learned, often under great adversity, that you truly can have “within your own hands, the tools to fashion your own eternal destiny”. It can be discouraging when we see those about us accomplish worldly pursuits, knowing that some of those things are out of our reach. But don’t let our “perceived” earthly failures dampen our resolve or conviction that we are in control of our heavenly destiny. We have been given all the tools needed to succeed in the one thing that is lasting. That is exciting!

Since our birth we have been fashioning our own destiny by the daily decisions that we make. Every correct decision is a stitch in the royal garments we are sewing for our eternal coronation. You and I can control that! What a great blessing it is to be assured that nothing can stop us from accomplishing that most high goal. It’s in our hands! In the eternal sense then, all of us “can reach our dreams.” I like knowing that. That I can live and die with!

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