the act of choosing; picking or deciding between two or more possibilities That is how Merriam Webster defines choice. It doesn’t define it as waiting for someone to tell me what to do or worse yet, demanding that I follow a certain path. It is something that is between me, my heart, my soul and my brain. But choices didn’t come about just so I could chew my bottom lip and wonder what to do. Everyone must choose between one thing or another, several times a day. Do I have a pack of crackers or an egg McMuffin? Do I stop for gas on the way to work or on the way home? Do I go the regular way or take a shortcut? Do I speed and hope I don’t caught or simply speed and not care either way? These are mundane, daily choices that I make without any real thought or care. They are the simplest of decisions to make. But, and didn’t you just know there was going to be a “but”? But, these choices are not the ones that define me and they are not the ones that define others that make them. The life altering, time-stopping, mind-blowing, direction changing choices are a lot more complicated. I’m not much of one to take a lot of time deciding about things, at least not anymore. If the mood strikes, I just go and do, do and go and let the chips fall where they may. The downside of not taking the time to ruminate is that I often find myself picking up many chips but it beats being led along by the nose because I didn’t have the courage to follow my own heart. Not everything is black and white and every choice is not as easy as deciding what to have for breakfast. Wanting something doesn’t always make doing or having it the right choice.
That being said, it is important to know where the boundaries lie; how far I am willing to go and how much of myself I am prepared to give to the choices I make? How much of myself am I willing to sacrifice just to be able to hold onto or let go of something that just doesn’t fit? That is a question that everyone has to ask themselves from time to time. As I look around during my day to day life, I see many people who have fallen into the same trap of feeling like having a choice isn’t an option. It isn’t always a case of being weak-minded or careless; often, instead, it is the result of of being vulnerable, naive and impressionable. Had I the courage many years ago to follow my heart and listen to the sense my mind was trying to make, the path my life could have taken would likely have drastically different than it was. That is not to say I haven’t had a good life, but because I didn’t have the confidence in myself nor the courage to possibly cause a confrontation, it hasn’t been an easy one.
I used to spend time wondering and dwelling on what would have happened if way back then, when I was caving at every turn because I just couldn’t bear the thought of having someone not like me, I had been more self aware and confident. Not that I don’t still have moments of regression and doubt, but I have them with a louder voice and an assurance that the choices I make, for the most part, are my own.
There are things that have come from my poor choices that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, but that doesn’t make knowing that I did it all the hard way any easier. Confidence and courage are two things that I learned once my daughter was born. I no longer had the freedom to be indecisive and stand in the background waiting for someone to tell me what to do, not if I wanted her to have a different life than mine. Being complacent, unsure and wavering were not a traits that I wanted to pass along to this beautiful, brilliant child.
Of all the people I have met, cared for, loved, passed on the street or simply seen from a distance, I feel like I can say with assurance that each and every one of them has made poor choices at some time in their lives. With some, it is obvious that they are paying for them even now while with others, it is more difficult to visualize the toll that a life of indecisiveness and passivity has taken on them. In earlier times, before I grew up, so to speak, they would have seen the same in me. I am at a place now where I am comfortable in my own skin and not afraid to stand up for myself, for what I believe and for the people I love and care about. I’m not afraid to speak my mind and go my own way. At some point, though not before I had missed out on so many wonderful things, I stopped being that shy, timid girl and became a woman who is more sure of herself and ready and willing to take a risk or two just to see what happens.
Having that confidence and willingness to separate from the pack is what I wish for everyone. To be bold, confident and able to stand for what they believe in and strive for; able to lay down their fear of walking alone and go down the path that they were chosen for. Confidence is a powerful thing and while I wish I had known it sooner, it is enough that I know it now and I am thankful that God saw fit to lead me out of valleys I led myself into and. I am blessed and pray that my life will be a testimony to my God who has been with me even during the worst of it all.
2 Timothy 1:7 ~ For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind