You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.
― Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo
Most people think that if they were asked to make a monumental decision they would rise to the occasion. If the Prophet asked us to forsake our homes and cross the plains, we envision ourselves unwaveringly saying yes. If we were asked to give everything we own to the church and follow the law of consecration we are sure that we would sign over everything we own without hesitation. For most people, life is not about the monumental decisions. Life is a series of small decisions were we incrementally become more like the Savior.
The Decision not to Click
We may be faced with the decision on whether to click the link on a website that we know we should not click. We may be faced with wearing a shirt we know is immodest because our friends are telling us how great we would look in it. We may be faced with the answers from another person’s test being in clear sight and the teacher being out of the room. Most of life is made up of these small decisions and how we face these decisions can prepare us to make the infrequent monumental decisions in life.
When making these small decisions about whether to follow the Savior or give into temptation, if we can muster 20 seconds of courage we are able to face down any temptation. When we see a popup to a website we know will damage our relationship with our spouse, when we are pressured to were immodest clothing that attracts the wrong type of attention, or when we are faced with copying someone else’s answers to a test that could ruin our academic career, the difference can be just 20 seconds of courage. In those 20 seconds, with the help of the spirit, we can face down our demons and choose the right. By mustering up 20 seconds of courage, we can go from sinner to saint.
In the 2004 April General Conference, President Monson shared the story from one of Charles Dickens's famous books, Great Expectations. In his classic volume entitled Great Expectations, Dickens described a boy by the name of Philip Pirrip, more commonly known as Pip. Pip was born in unusual circumstances. He was an orphan. He wished with all his heart that he were a scholar and a gentleman. Yet all of his ambitions and all of his hopes seemed doomed to failure. Do you young men sometimes feel that way? Do those of us who are older entertain these same thoughts?
Then one day a London lawyer by the name of Jaggers approached little Pip and told him that an unknown benefactor had bequeathed to him a fortune. The lawyer put his arm around the shoulder of Pip and said to him, “My boy, you have great expectations.”
The Call for Courage
President Monson then shared that “decisions are constantly before us. To make them wisely, courage is needed: the courage to say, ‘No,’ the courage to say, ‘Yes.’ Decisions do determine destiny. The call for courage comes constantly to each of us. It has ever been so, and so shall it ever be.”
As we each face down our demons, our trials, and our fears, if we can muster up 20 seconds of courage we will set the course of our destiny towards our Heavenly Father and have the courage to return to him one day.