“Hard choices are better than no choices at all.”
That’s the takeaway I had from a recent discussion with my business and all-around-life coach Mark Sturgell. We’d been discussing some opportunities that lie ahead of me, and Mark had re-informed me that I have a tendancy (a.k.a. bad habit) to philosophize and overuse phraseology when I’m avoiding the reality of a situation or ignoring the depth of a decision.
It’s true. All too often I’ll revert to using a phrase that someone else has given me to describe my situation or back away from the nuts and bolts of reality and go to this vague place where decisions become shadowey and vague. As I look within myself, I think I do much of that out of a habit to avoid the decision, to avoid conflict within myself and with others I care about, when in reality, all I’m doing is causing more problems. I am not letting “my yes be yes and my no be no,” as Jesus was recorded as saying in Matthew 5:37. Jesus went on to say (which I just realized upon looking up that verse), that “anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
I hadn’t noticed that last part before, but how true. So many decisions are put off, relationships are left half-damaged, and choices are left un-made because we want to avoid conflict (or becausee we want to stir it up). Just be direct. Be brief. Be concise. Know both what you want and what really doesn’t matter to you, and share that when given the opportunity. Listen, but don’t let someone’s opinion become your own simply because the thought entered your brain and sounded nice. Those are words of advice I need to hear often, until they become ways of doing life… and then I’ll need to hear them some more.
Hard choices are better than no choices. There are days I’d very much like it if someone else would make the hard decisions for me. As I consider that statement, though, it lacks something. What is really mean when I say that is that there are days I’d like it if someone else would make the hard decisions for me, in the way that I’d like the decision made. That last little bit there makes it all the more obvious that only I can make those decisions. Not just for selfish or prideful reasons, but that no one else can do that; I need to accept authority for my decisions and responsibility for their outcome… I can’t get one without the other.
There’s a proverb I like that says “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed.” I have several sources of great advice and wisdom in my life. I’m using it more than ever right now. What I’m realizing, though, is that just because you have people pouring wisdom and knowledge into you doesn’t mean they will necessarily give you the “right decision” or a nice neat “confirmation” that makes what is hard, easy. Choices still need to be made, and sometimes they are hard. Decisions still need to be made, and sometimes it really does rest on my shoulders. But I’m not alone, and that’s what I get from this… I have God, my wife, advisors, friends, coaches, and even opposition all around me who will help and guide me towards right decisions.
In the end, though… when the choice needs to be made, I must choose.
I’ve been given the dignity of causality, as I’ve heard my friend Brian Hardin say time and time again. My choices matter.
I choose to recognize that and act within realm today.