My fear and loathing of that phrase, “so, what are you going to do about it?” began early in my childhood. We used it as siblings to try and keep the others from telling on us when we had done something wrong and wanted to make sure we didn’t get in trouble. Bullies on the playground used it to make sure that I knew that there would be worse trouble coming if I spoke up. The fear and loathing of that question even followed me into my first marriage as my ex-husband used it to keep me from talking to church leaders and local authorities about his behavior (and I gave away pieces of my soul as I convinced myself that this was just how life and marriage worked).
In recent years, the Lord has taught me that He uses this question to empower. One of the most freeing things I have learned as a Latter-day Saint was summed up by the Prophet Joseph Smith: “I teach them correct principles, and they govern themselves.” We have intelligence, we have moral agency (the ability to chose how we will act and react to situations in life), and we have the ability to seek answers from Heavenly Father and to receive those answers through the power of the Holy Ghost. I now chuckle to myself when the answer is “Well, what are you going to do about it?”
- “Heavenly Father, there is a woman I know who is struggling with self-esteem.” “So, what are you going to do about it?”
- “People in my church seem to be really disconnected from each other.” “Well, what are you going to do about it?”
- “A friend is overwhelmed with her responsibilities and could really use some help.” “O.k. What are you going to do about it?”
As I have been walked through this process, I have learned to trust my good instincts. I have learned that when I get into something that is beyond my knowledge and capacity, I will receive help and guidance through the power of the Holy Spirit. I have learned that it’s o.k. to kneel in prayer and express when I think I’m at the end of what I have to give.
Most importantly, I have learned that God can take someone as weak, imperfect, and broken as me and use them as a powerful force for good in the lives of those around me.
Now it’s your turn. “So, what are YOU going to do about it?”