Don’t let “FOMO” — the fear of missing out — delay the choice to commit to the Savior and His gospel path, Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles told young adults during a worldwide devotional on Sunday, Jan. 12.
“Don’t hesitate or hold back any longer but get on with your purpose and mission in life,” he said. “Mortality is so short. Make this time count so that your eternity will be one of joy, not regret.”
Speaking of choice and commitment, Elder Christofferson addressed three types of fears young adults might have in committing to the Savior and invited them to “be all in, giving and receiving freely.”
His wife, Sister Kathy Christofferson, also spoke during the devotional broadcast from the UCCU Center on the campus of Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah. She testified that the Lord provides a way to keep His commandments, “especially when we are trying to do all we can.”
Fear of missing out
Several years ago during an assignment in New York City, Elder Christofferson visited a historic synagogue in Brooklyn with Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. The rabbi of the Jewish Reform congregation noted something about the Jewish young adults in the area.
While the young adults were generally committed to their Jewish heritage, the rabbi observed they were reluctant to become members of the synagogue. Why? Religion wasn’t a high priority for many, she said. Others simply didn’t want to commit.
Elder Perry wondered if it was the fear of missing out — that they might miss out on something else by committing to the synagogue.
Sharing this story with the young adults, Elder Christofferson said up to a point, the fear of missing out is a rational feeling. “We all want to experience the best things and reach for the best options in any aspect of life.”
What is not rational is delaying “seemingly forever” to make a choice or commitment because it might mean missing out on something else, possibly better.
With every decision, other options are put aside. For example, choosing to go to work or school means not choosing to stream Netflix at the same time. Choosing to travel to Africa means not traveling anywhere else at the same moment. And choosing to serve a mission means giving up social activities for a time.
“But unless you make a choice and commit to a certain direction, your life will be pretty erratic, and in the end, you will in fact miss out on most of the very best things,” he said. In a mortal life where it’s impossible to have everything and do everything, “we must commit to particular choices, knowing that by so doing, we necessarily forego others, good though they may be.”
“We should also bear in mind that unduly delaying a choice can itself constitute a choice,” Elder Christofferson continued.
For example, marriage. “Because of the finality of the choice, some resist a commitment to someone they are very fond of, someone they love and with whom they could progress happily and eternally, worried that there may be an even more perfect soulmate somewhere that they wouldn’t want to miss.”
In contrast with young adults of the world who wish to delay adulthood and pursue the “perpetual party,” true adults are loyal to the two great commandments to love God and love one’s neighbor — this is what defines “a life well-lived,” he said quoting from author and scholar Charles Murray.
“In the end, there is no neutral, uncommitted path to follow, at least when it comes to things of eternal consequence,” he said, drawing on teachings from Alma 5:38-39. “So, unless you follow the Savior, you are rejecting Him.”
Fear of failure
For those young adults who might worry about their ability to keep “such a far-reaching commitment” to follow the Savior, Elder Christofferson reminded them of the “premortal commitment” they made when accepting the plan of salvation. “You chose Christ. Your physical birth is testament to the fact that you already committed,” he said.
“We need not live in fear of failure. We are not alone. We are not without help. Anyone who truly does commit to Christ, to full discipleship, cannot fail. If we are bound to Him who descended below all things, who overcame all things, and who now has all power, we cannot fail.”
Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ are not looking down from heaven as “disinterested observers curious to see if things will work out for us or not. … They are actively involved on our side, providing constant help, guidance and resources, and would probably give us more if we would accept it.”
“Anyone who truly does commit to Christ, to full discipleship, cannot fail.”
Life is full of struggles and being a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ is much easier said than done, Elder Christofferson said. Failures happen, but the Savior “knows how to help us successfully walk the path of discipleship. … He will stay with us with as much help as we need and as long as it takes.”
Fear of sacrifice
Recounting the story of the rich young man (Matthew 19:20) who asked, “What lack I yet?” Elder Christofferson said some might be hesitant to follow the Savior in fear of the sacrifice that may be entailed.
“As much a sacrifice as it may have seemed to him at the time, did he have a better option than accepting the Master’s invitation? Could anything he had or might have acquired with his riches compare with what the Lord was ultimately offering him?
“We know that anything the Savior asks of us, including our very lives, is trivial in comparison to exaltation,” he said.
Early in the Christoffersons’ marriage when finances were especially tight, they were asked to contribute to a building fund plan to renovate their aging chapel (Church members today are no longer asked to do this). They had two small children and Elder Christofferson was months away from finishing graduate school.
“We decided to pay the donation to the building fund, even though we didn’t know how we would make it to the end of the school year,” Sister Christofferson recalled.
A few weeks later, they were in a minor car accident. The man who rear-ended them asked if they could settle it privately. So, Elder Christofferson got an estimate for the repair, the man wrote a check for the amount, and to Sister Christofferson’s surprise, the check didn’t bounce.
“That check was almost the same amount as the building fund assessment we had paid,” she said. “This was a witness to us that the Lord does, as Nephi said, ‘provide means whereby we can accomplish the thing which He has commanded’” (1 Nephi 17:3).
Rather than fear the sacrifices of discipleship, “we should welcome the opportunity to grow in spiritual power, to experience deeper joy, and to find, each of us, real meaning in our life,” Elder Christofferson said. Sacrificing in the cause of Christ denotes seriousness in keeping the two great commandments to love God and others.
Loving Heavenly Father and His Son with heart, might, mind and strength “confirms to our souls what and who we are,” which brings a sense of security that allows for focus on others — to truly see their needs with a desire to help.
Just as the Good Samaritan “truly saw” the wounded traveler and had compassion on him (Luke 10:33-34), “surely our sacrifices can make a difference,” Elder Christofferson said.
“Truly see those around you. Be seen so that yours will be a life well-lived, a life of ministering and satisfaction, a life blessed and sanctified by the Savior who has overcome all things and by whose grace you will also overcome.”
Commit to the Lord
Elder Christofferson concluded his message by showing a video recording of Sissel singing “Slow Down” with the Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square during last summer’s Pioneer Day concert. He asked young adults to ponder the message of trusting in and committing to God.
“Slow down. Make up your mind and settle it in your heart that you choose God,” Elder Christofferson said following the video. “Find the quiet time when you can kneel down in a private place and say to your Heavenly Father, in the name of Jesus Christ, that you are His, that you are committed, body and soul, to Him, His Son, and the gospel path. Then follow where He leads, now and for the rest of your life.”
He continued, “I promise you that the Lord’s reward for your giving all will be all that He has to give, ‘good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over’” (Luke 6:38).
Prior to Elder and Sister Christofferson’s messages, the Utah Valley Institute Choir performed “Our Prayer to Thee,” with lyrics written by President Russell M. Nelson.