There is a popular phrase I have heard my teenagers using lately, perhaps you have heard it too? The acronym is YOLO, and it stands for You Only Live Once. At first, I thought of this as a positive motto to have. As I heard it used more and more though, I realized it really isn't. It was used to encourage people to just do what ever they felt like, when ever they felt like it, without thinking about any consequences. I can see how this concept would be appealing to a teenager, indeed it is even appealing to many adults! The more I thought about this, it became apparent that this concept is opposite of that of our loving Heavenly Father. He has a plan for us that began before the earth was even formed, and continues throughout eternity. This plan is known as God's Plan of Happiness.
I like to think that God has a plan for our happiness because it is His way to help us learn and grow in life. God wants us each to become as happy as we possibly can be while here on this earth. To best understand this, I must remember that I am a child of God. As a mother, I think of my own children and how I would do anything for their happiness! The best way to ensure they achieve this happiness is to realize how children develop. Everything they learn is through some sort of engagement or experience. Some are bad, others are good, but all experiences help them grow.
Is a child expected to be perfect at all times? No, they aren't. A child must actually make some mistakes or they will not grow to their full potential.
How can we be truly happy if we make mistakes throughout life? The atonement is central to His plan. Through the atonement, everyone can be forgiven of the mistakes they make because Jesus Christ, our savior, has already suffered for them allowing us to be made whole again. Knowing this definitely brings happiness to my soul. Almost as important as the forgiveness we can receive, the atonement is the vehicle by which we may drive down our often times bumpy road of growth.
I have decided to join my teenagers in their YOLO quest, however, I am coming at it from a different angle. I know that we only live once here in mortality. Instead of considering that a license to throw consequences to the wind, I will use that to encourage myself to take advantage of God's plan of happiness and strive to learn and grow through my experiences. I plan to shift my teenagers concept too and am excited to help them see that God does have a plan for our eternal happiness.