Agency – Eternal and Inherent
God did not create us from nothing. We are co-eternal beings with God.
I can’t remember when I first became aware of this most inviting and compelling aspect of the Restored Gospel. I was quite young, not yet a teenager.
I found this to be one of the “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy…” things that we were to seek after, to believe and hope for…and even endure.
Often, when I was discussing questions with others about our existence, or progression, or purpose, this understanding shaped my inquiries. This understanding led much of my seeking.
If we have existed forever, as God has, what was it that made us Their children? When did that happen? And how much of what is me, is something They created? Did They determine my gender, or my thoughts, or shape what kind of spirit I have?
Did They give me agency? Could They?
What aspects of me are co-eternal, and have been a part of me for as long as I, or God, or any of us have existed?
Is any of me static? Unchanging and unchangeable?
The more I sought greater understanding, the more I saw that there is nothing concerning eternity that is static. Not God. Not me.
Heavenly Parents became my parents by inviting and inspiring me to greater life and existence. I could not have recognized, wrestled with, or chosen that possibility if I did not have agency. Inherent, eternal agency. This was not bestowed on me by God. I personally think God invited me to recognize, exercise and practice my agency – this being an essential part of encouraging me toward Godhood.
I accepted the invitation, and was born into a new level of existence, following divine beings who had created possibilities I had not seen before.
Agency is an inherent part of my being. It was not bestowed, and cannot be taken away.
Sometimes, I am indescribably moved at how completely God honors this inherent agency.
Sometimes, I am horrified at how completely God honors this inherent agency.
This article is not about when bad things happen to good people. I discuss that in many other places. And will continue to wrestle and weep and bleed over that.
Right now, I struggle with agency, and creation, and progression, and letting go.
I don’t know where to turn, except to the God that inspired me to this existence. And even then, I don’t know how I will ever find enough answers.
This intelligence that is me has no beginning or end. My awareness, and my ability to choose is essential to this. The circumstances of this life can potentially confront, challenge, and require constant practice in me owning, strengthening, and honoring agency in myself and others.
And sometimes, I just don’t feel like it.
I want someone else to decide how to make things work out.
I want someone else to keep bad things from happening.
I want someone else to be in charge. To be responsible.
I want someone else to blame.
And the other option looks pretty good.
The option where everyone will have to do what is needed, and all will be saved. There would be no choice for us to do otherwise.
But if we have inherent agency, we won’t function without it.
Beings that co-exist eternally cannot remove what is essential in each other.
No matter how attractive that might be, it won’t work.
I tried for years, as a parent, to get my children to allow my agency to overrule their agency. Even though I helped in the creation of their bodies, that did not give me power over their agency. The only life-giving impact I had on them that survived their early years was how I conveyed unconditional love to them. Nothing has caused me to need to repent more, than in all the ways I tried to insist they conform their will to mine.
In the repenting, I finally listened to the God who would never force me to conform to Their will.
All I hear from Them is love. They let me thrash through all this. They let my parents, my children, all of us – stumble through all of this. They are there each time I am quiet enough to get it. Still enough to get Them.
I hear so many voices telling people who they are. Telling people what they need to be, think, do. Telling people how they should look, dress, feel, believe. Telling people where they belong, and where they don’t belong.
These voices can be powerful, in families, schools, churches, governments. When people use their voices to tell people who they should be, they are trying to create them in their image. They are using their own words to create people from their own rhetoric, or traditions. Then, by creating them with their voices, they think they can own their agency, their choices.
I thought the same thing as a parent. I helped create the bodies of my children. I must be responsible to make sure they turn out the way I think they should. I need to bend their will to mine, and make sure their lives go as I think they should so we can all be happy.
I can practically hear the same reasoning as people in positions of power create laws and policies that claim agency over another person because of their gender, or ethnicity, or health, or belief, or something that is essential to their being.
I hear parents claim the responsibility and power to declare who their children must be, think, and believe. I cringe to recall my own similar actions.
Regardless of position, or relationship – none of us has the power to create another being, especially not from the nothingness of our own ideology.
We were not created from nothingness.
We have existed forever, co-eternal beings with God and with each other.
The only life we have the power to create is our own.
We cannot bestow or deny agency in each other.
It is inherent.
Trying to impede or deny the power of that essential quality will fail.
I am trying to practice Godhood. To seek greater light and knowledge, to learn wisdom in complexity, to invite and inspire new life, to profoundly honor agency. To weep, as God does, when I see the suffering we cause each other. And to learn unconditional love, even and especially for those I consider my enemy.
How many lifetimes must I live, how many must I create for myself, what must I choose to endure, to learn this?
I lie awake, and wonder.