"Tomatoes?" he asked.
"Yep," I said.
"Sliced or diced?"
I froze. "Um, it doesn't matter. You decide." My brain shrieked, You decide?! You're ordering a meal, Tracey! YOU decide.
The guy behind the counter looked at me funny, then threw in a handful of diced tomatoes.
Later, I told the story to my family and had a good laugh. I realized the silly answer produced by my travel-weary mind was my default response at home. When miscellaneous leftovers are being divied up for Saturday lunch, or we have two kinds of dessert to split among the six of us, I don't have an opinion on what I would like. Or I do, but I don't vocalize it. It's only food. Let my younger siblings have what they want, and I'll take whatever is left. It's no big deal to me, but maybe Miss K prefers brownie or my mom would rather not have that leftover lasagna.
It's such a trivial matter, but maybe it reveals something deeper.
When I graduated high school and realized that full time authoring was not a practical career path to take right away, and that I needed a fallback career, I was faced with the decision of what else to pursue. (Still working on that one . . .) And as I've contemplated that choice over the last several months, an ugly realization has dawned on me.
I'm scared of making the wrong decision.
That branches off into all sorts of other thorny vines. With some decisions, I don't want to make one displeasing to someone else. Mostly, though, with the big stuff, I'm afraid of choosing anything less than best. I'm pretty confident I won't do something drastically terrible to my life, but what if I pick something mediocre or just okay? Something good but not BEST?
For whatever it's worth, my INFJ personality type is supposedly most terrified of his or her life not meaning anything.
Sometimes I wish God's specific will would be written down, that we could all have a personalized page of the Bible saying where to go to school or who to marry or what to do. (Not really. That would probably be a catastrophic idea.) But you know what I mean? When you're following God's principles for life, that makes a lot of things clear, but not nearly everything. Because there are plenty of situations when you have lots of good choices in front of you, none of them wrong, and it's up to you. Situations where God says, "Any one of these things could be amazing. So go ahead. Pick."
Which is freeing . . . unless you're frozen by indecision.
But maybe God is a bit like a GPS. Make a wrong turn, and that thing recalculates. It doesn't matter how many wrong turns you take, if you keep trying to follow the GPS's directions, it'll get you there eventually. God is a God of second chances. And third and fourth and three hundredth chances. And He's a master at making beauty out of brokenness, at putting purpose into a meandering road.
So I can use the brain He gave me, evaluate each situation (knowing I can't possibly gauge all the pros and cons), ask Him for direction, surround myself with wise counsel, and go from there.
That GO is an important verb. Not sitting still, forever analyzing and agonizing. Do what you can, then decide. Just decide.
And if you find out further down the road that you made a wrong turn, just know it didn't surprise God. He loves you too much to let you wander aimlessly. He'll redirect you. Truly.
The wrong turns are never, ever a waste either. He uses all things for our good.
I don't want to be crippled by fear anymore. I've seen what indecisive people look like in their old age--I don't want to be them. I want to keep moving forward. It's a lot easier to steer a moving vehicle than it is to steer one in park.
I drafted this post a few weeks ago, and recently felt there was something to add, but as I brush it up right now, I can't find a good spot to insert it. So here's my little afterword:
I have some major decisions right in front of me. Right now. I've had some time to chew on them, to wrestle with them. To, yes, agonize. And to work a few stones out of the soil of my heart in the process. I can feel myself coming to grips with things, making up my mind.
And the old skin I'm shedding likes to latch back on exactly at those moments, whispering doubtful second guesses in my ear.
But tonight I'm making one of those choices, one that sits right. It makes me gulp because of the investment it requires on my part, but it also makes me excited because of what may come of this. This is a decision that sprang up suddenly, leaving me very little time for contemplation. But surprisingly, I have been impatient to make a move, rather than wishing uselessly for more time. Anyway, the choice is made, and all that remains is for me to act on it this evening. I feel satisfied because I decided. And I didn't procrastinate (much). I just said yes.
That being said, there is another big decision rapidly approaching, regarding school. I've had almost two years to think on this one, so it's definitely high time to move forward. Old fears still grasp for a hold. I choose to shrug them off and walk on. (I shall most likely share how this particular choice goes, once things are settled. So stay tuned.)
Well. I feel like this postscript kind of stole the neat, conclusive ending the original post had! But it was important to tell you how this whole battle with indecision is going in my own life.
What decisions have you faced? What choices are you facing now? Do you struggle to pick a path too, or does it come easily for you?