Choice and Decisions.

Lately I realized how much I struggle with decisions and choices. Until a certain person came along in my life, I had not realized how indecisive I was in deciding what I wanted to do, what I wanted to eat, and even what I wanted to wear for the day. In the last few weeks, making good choices has been a struggle, specifically choices regarding what I watch and how I act.

Tonight while driving home from work, I realized why beginning college students have such a hard time making even the simplest of choices and decisions and how we are expected to be able to make those right decisions and good choices.

Let me explain with a story. I have always been one to take people's opinions very seriously, almost as gospel and I would consider this my fatal flaw or hamartia as the the Greeks put it. I remember when I was younger, and still now, I would ask my Mum how an outfit looked, and based on what she said, I would decide for myself whether or not that outfit was good or bad. The problem was when she would tell me an outfit wasn't great, whereas I thought it was lovely. In these times of decision/crisis-should I trust my Mum who is much older, wiser, and smart than me, or should I trust me who hasn't even been on the earth two decades!?- I often told myself that my opinion wasn't right and that I needed to listen to what she was telling me.

After much searching through decisions I have made in my life, whether they be big or small, I have realized that when I have to make a decision, I won't decide myself. No, I will consult my parents, my friends, my boyfriend, the internet, etc and then make my decision. Because I value people's opinions so much, I put what they say about what I should do, above what I think I should do and sometimes what I want to do. There have been many times that I am on the brink of making a decision, but I ask someone what to do, and they tell me the opposite of what I was going to do, and then I reconsider and do what they said because I must be wrong since they said something different from me. What has happened that has changed a bold, decisive person that knew what they wanted out of life, to a more timid person in need of human acceptance through changing what they believe!?

I then began to search through my childhood to find places where I could investigate. When you are a child, you get told what to do most of the time because your parents know better than you. As you get older, they tell you to do less and less things in order to have you start making decisions on your own. Some kids relish this freedom and run with it. However, I was on the other side of the fence. I relished the freedom to begin with, but then I became timid, and afraid that I would make the wrong decision and bring fire and brimstone onto my head and ruin everything. This, I think, is when I began to seek the opinions from those around me. It was subtle at first, like asking my Mum how an outfit looked. But then it grew and grew until I was asking people what I should say to someone when I'm in an argument with them, or if I should go and hang out with this person, or lounge on the couch, or even should I buy this or do I not need it.

I'm not saying that asking people's opinions is wrong. I just think that for me personally, and many others as well I'm sure, asking people's opinions for making decisions causes me to 1) not listen to what God may be telling me or trying to show me in making me seek Him for a decision that no one else can help with 2) put myself down in thinking that my opinion doesn't matter and 3) seek other's approval by deciding what they think I should decide.

As I was pondering decisions, I also had an epiphany about choices. I hear all the time people talking about kids in college and how they make bad "choices" and that they were taught not to make those choices. Now I just want to respond to them and say the following:

Coming to college is hard. Not initially, but gradually, as I am just now realizing some things that are hard about college. When freshmen come to college, they have just graduated high school, have just moved out and are just starting to make their own choices about school, life, and friends. Many of them get into trouble, as they are not used to making choices. I don't mean decisions, but choices, like should I go smoke weed or stay in the dorm and study. For many of them, they choose the former and people judge them for it. However, there is more to it than just that.

When kids live with their parents, their parents tell them what not to do. Don't stay out past 12, don't smoke, don't drink alcohol, etc. There is a list of no's and that is what the kid follows. If they stray past those lines, another don't is added to the list and they are grounded. When this happens though, the kid is not developing their own moral compass and what they believe about what is right and good and pure. They are just blindly following what their parents say because their parents have the ability to ground them.

Lately, I have struggled with making decisions about movies. Sometimes I might be in the middle of a movie and not think it is bad, until my parents tell me not to watch it. In these kind of cases I ask myself: Why did I not think/see that? Even though I have been raised in a Christian home and I have been a Christian since age 4, I figured out that I had not spent the time developing my moral compass. Instead of feeling bad over watching an inappropriate movie, I would just listen to my parents just to listen to them and obey them and be legalistic and not feel any remorse, or even want to change my thoughts about such movies. Many times I wondered, why I didn't believe the same thing they did about certain things like movies, but now I know. I've been trying to think more about what I will tolerate watching/listening/reading in this world. I want to develop my own moral compass in accordance with God's commands and really believe it, not just not watching a movie because my parents said not to.

I know this was deep. I understand my thoughts by writing them out, and this is what this blog is for. It is an outpouring of my heart and thoughts and sometimes it may be deep, like today, but in years to come, I can look back on this and see what I have been struggling with and strive to understand myself better.


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