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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

When I was a kid, I loved "choose your own adventure" books, I think this is also why I like role playing games. I like the fact that I am in control of what happens next. Unfortunately we don't usually get to choose the consequences of our choices. This wasn't a problem as kid, I could just keep my finger in the page of the previous choice, and if something bad happened I could flip back and start over. You can do the same thing in video games and reload from a previous saved game. It would be interesting if real life had that option.

This past weekend was the LDS General Conference weekend. I always seem to get a little more introspective during conference. That coupled with a new baby due in a week or two, it really makes you sit back and take a look at life. Thinking about my life and the broad expanse of "stuff" in front of me, I have come to the conclusion that life is just a string decisions. Some decisions move you forward, some backward, some laterally, some open you up to more decisions, and some restrict you. We all make lateral decisions, "Do I want vanilla or chocolate ice cream for dessert?" Those are the daily decisions of little consequence. The decisions I am interested in are the ones that move you forward, or backward.

Since forward and backward are relative terms, it is important to think about your destination. Making decisions is meaningless if you don't have an endpoint, or goal in mind. You could choose "whatever", if you don't care where you end up. A lot of people do this nowadays. They let their government, spouse, or whoever tell them what to do. When they could listen to their advice, and then make their own informed decisions. Some people even go as far as losing the right to make decisions by committing crimes, and going to prison, or becoming addicted to any number of things.

My faith gives me my endpoint. I want to go to "Heaven" I want to be with my family. These are the goals I have chosen for myself. Now that I have goals, I can examine my choices to see if they take me in the direction I want to go. Unfortunately not all decision have outcomes, or long term effects that are easy to see. It can be scary to make decisions with unknown consequences (should I take this job, should I marry this person). Fortunately spiritual guidance is an option. God may not spell it out as clearly as we would like sometimes, but there is something to be said for reassurance you are doing the right thing. When we do mess things up, depending on the severity of the mess, there is always Jesus Christ, and the Atonement. Our decisions can get us far off the path we want to be on, or sometimes just a little turned around. Repentance and the Savior can reopen options that were previously closed by poor choices, or get us turned around and moving forward again..... I guess real life does have a reset button. =0)

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