For When I Wonder: Finding Peace in the "What If" Moments of Life
Did I make the right choice? Should I have gone the other way?
What would have happened if I chose differently?
Being the indecisive person that I am, I have struggled with making big decisions like which college to go to, what to major in, what career path to pursue, where to live, and what to strive for.
Sometimes I wonder if I should have chosen differently.
THE THINGS THAT KEEP US UP AT NIGHT
Should I have gone to graduate school? Many of my friends did, and it seems like they have more guidance for a career path after having gone to school longer for a more specific degree.
Or should I have chosen a more defined major and minor in undergrad? Would I have found a job that allows me to really help people?
What if I had taken a different job after college? Or not moved home, but stayed in La Crosse or moved somewhere else entirely?
Should I have waited to start my own business? Was the timing right?
I don't know the answers to any of those questions, but I do know one thing. I can't go back and change any of those things. I can't call a mulligan.
I can only move forward.
THE ONLY REAL WAY TO DEAL AND HEAL
I can only make the best decision I know how with the information I have in the moment. I can't waste my time and energy worrying about what might or might not happen. God will work it all out for good in the end, and experience is the greatest teacher!
The only real way to deal with the decisions of the past and heal from any mistakes or missteps is to keep moving forward, trusting that it will all work out for good in the end. Every challenge is an opportunity for growth and character development. Every obstacle provides chance to gain strength. Every hard-fought battle teaches us something. None of it is worthless, even if it's not easy.
All the choices I've made were based on what I truly wanted at the time or what I thought was best. There's no reason I should regret those decisions. I did the best with what I had-- the information, the perspective, the experience. The choices I have made are the choices that have made me, for better or for worse.
When it comes to facing the "what if" moments of life, I find it helpful to remind myself of what I know to be true.
I'm not in control at the end of the day. God is. And how grateful I am for that! The weight of the world doesn't rest upon my shoulders. The weight of my own fate doesn't even rest upon my shoulders! That's not my burden to bear. I merely have to follow God, one step at a time, trusting that He knows the way and will work out all the details that don't seem to fit together from my perspective.
I'm doing the best I can, and that's all I can ask of myself. As long as I'm looking for ways to serve others and love and honor God, as long as I'm choosing things that could contribute to His Kingdom, I'm succeeding.
Of course, obstacles and challenges will come. Of course I'll still wonder if I maybe should have gone right instead of left, but if I make the best decisions I can based on the information I have in the moment I'm making them, then I'm doing my part in being faithful. If I'm serving and loving, then I'm doing it right, no matter how much I might question (or how much others might question) if I'm doing it wrong.
If I had made different decisions, I wouldn't be where I am now. There's no telling where I would be or even who I would be. And there's no point in spending all my time wondering what would have happened if I had chosen differently because I can't choose differently. I made my decisions. I can only learn from my experiences, letting them inform my future choices. I can only make an informed, prayerfully considered decision and go forward boldly.
So what if I it turns out the road to the right might have been smoother than the one to the left? At least I didn't stay frozen in indecision, refusing to move forward for fear of making the wrong call. If I make an informed decision to do something good ("right" or "wrong" labels aside), then I can rest knowing it was a good choice.
And next time, when I have to make a decision, I'll have more personal experience to help me make an even better choice. And I can continue moving forward boldly, trusting God to guide my footsteps and use every decision I make-- whether to the right or to the left-- for my good and His glory.
And I give you permission today to do the same! Make your decisions. Look forward. Stop playing the "what-if" game. Go forward boldly, my friend! It's the only way to really live.
Have you let the "what if" game carry you away into worry and wonder about whether you've made the right choices? What choices are you currently wondering about? How can I help you gain clarity in your decisions? Let's chat about it!