Saturday, March 19, 2016

Diced Tomatoes and Indecision

It was summertime, and I was driving with my family to our holiday destination south of the border. Near the end of a long day of miles and flicker-by scenery and cramped legs, we stopped at Quizno's for a bite to eat. I ordered my chicken breast and honey mustard sub, and the server started asking which condiments and veggies I wanted.

"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?


  1. I'm an ISFJ...but I used to be and INFJ. I understand - oh so much! I will be graduating next year, so I'm TRYING to think ahead. That's another thing about my personality..I tend to only think about now. Or at these where decisions are concerned lol!

    I also got a laugh out of your story. ;) You see, I'm the 2nd oldest of 9 - I so get the leftover thing! LOL

    1. Graduation... That time when decisions come hurtling at you from all sides. XD But you've got this! It helps to remember that life is an adventure, and that knowing everything would spoil the fun.

      Thinking ahead can be hard! Especially when right NOW is so pressing.

      Haha, so it's not just me! Eight siblings--girl, you must have patience in truckloads. XD

    2. yes.....It's terrifying!! I guess I just feel like I don't want to make the WRONG choice. :P Thanks...that means a lot to me! Wow, so true. And, I honestly love a good adventure. I'll keep that in mind...thanks!

      oh no, I seriously do not! That is totally one of the things that I constantly have to ask God to supply me with. :P It's a learning process. I guess I am learning a lot more than I think I do! haha!

    3. No one wants to make a wrong choice! But don't let fear of failure hold you back--trust that God will direct your steps. <3

      LOL! Siblings make for lots of good lessons in patience, among other things. ;)

  2. Decisions are the worst best thing ever! I totally feel your pain of not knowing which of several good options to choose. It's something that pretty much every young adult faces at some point, which doesn't do much in the actually making decisions department, but it is nice to know that I'm not alone in this.
    I'm excited to hear more about how these grand new decisions pan out. Go Tracey go! :D

    1. Worst/best indeed. I feel like young adults have it the worst when it comes to decisions, just because of the sheer volume of them. (But then again, I have yet to be middle aged or older, and who knows how they feel about life's crossroads?) You are DEFINITELY not alone!

      *hugs* You'll for sure hear more!

  3. Good post!
    That's the thing about becoming an adult, I suppose. We are expected to make our own decisions now, but we don't have a lot of experience dealing with such important choices. Couple that with sudden and significant expectations- it's kinda terrifying.
    The thought of making the wrong move is terrifying.

    I like what you had to say about just taking action, and letting God take care of it all.
    We're bound to make a mistake now and then, but God won't.

    1. Your comments are always articulated so well. ^_^ Because that's just it: we're faced with big decisions, but haven't really dealt with such before now. And then the world expects us to have it all together. I guess this is where things like trust, prayer, and mentors come into play. :)

      Exactly, and what surprises us in life never surprises Him!

  4. Decisions are so hard especially ones that have a big impact. I like what you said about God being a GPS, I think that's fairly accurate. He makes all things work together for good. I will pray you have lots of guidance in making those tough decisions.

    1. That's one of my favorite verses. Thanks for the great reminder, Skye! I definitely appreciate it. <3

  5. Oh my gosh, I really needed this post. I can totally relate to it. (Okay, I don't have any decisions pressing me into making a choice at this instant, but being a junior in high school and having that eventual growing-up-and-leaving-home time looming over me gets me overwhelmed sometimes.)
    I'm horrible at making decisions. I'm literally terrified of them. And when it comes to what my vocation in life is going to be, I'm ready to curl up into a ball and cry. But you're right - fear is crippling. We can't sit there and worry about what God wants us to do; whatever He wants of us, it isn't doing nothing. So we have to learn to let go of our fear and just trust him - and GO. :)
    Thanks so much for this timely and inspiring post, Tracey!

    1. I think most of us can relate to the pressure of decision-making whether we're in high school or graduated or whatever. :) (Speaking of which, a junior is someone in eleventh grade, right...? We don't use those terms much in Canada, and I often mix up juniors and sophomores. XD)

      Oh, I know, the future can be such a scary thought! *hugs* But God's plans for you are utterly amazing. Sometimes all we can do is take one step at a time and trust. I'm glad this was a timely topic for you! You've got this! :D

  6. Yes. Oh man, YES. Making decisions is my arch-nemesis. Not even kidding. Having to decide things is my least favorite thing on this earth. Even just deciding where to go out to eat or something! So ginormous, life changing decisions? O_O Someone save me now!

    I absolutely get where you're coming from saying it'd be great to have a personalized page in the Bible. XD But then I guess we wouldn't have faith or learn to rely on God.

    I loved, loved, LOVED how you said God is like a GPS. That illustration is perfect! My family actually always talks about that, how God can turn a bad decision around and make it a blessing, even if it wasn't His ultimate will. He's amazing like that.

    I struggle with fear of the future basically every day. "Am I doing what I supposed to?" "Am I wasting me life?" "Should I do this or this or this?" The constant questions rolling through my brain. But God is there, being my GPS. But the GPS is no good if I don't actually move the car and follow it.

    I needed this encouragement and reminder that God is always here. We just have to listen and DO.

    I'm praying for you! Whatever these decisions you're making are, I know you're seeking God and He's going to bless you. *HUGS*

    1. Oh, I know... Problem is, a number of my friends are the same way, so when we're deciding what to do, we have to get past the whole cycle of "What do you want to do?" "I don't know, what do you want to do?" XD

      *nods* There's a good reason we don't have it all written out for us!

      It truly is amazing, how He redeems our wayward paths like that! It's comforting. Freeing. Because then we can live our lives the best we can, and know that He'll be working things to become even better. ^_^

      And it's so good to know we're all dealing with this together! We can spur each other onward. <3

      Thank you so much, dear! *HUGS RIGHT BACK* I'm so, SO grateful for all the amazing people God's put in my life. I'm praying for you too.

  7. I have always struggled with making a decision. I think that's why I tend to wait and over-analyze far too much. I'm trying to work past that. I know God can move around the faults I make, because He's bigger than my mistakes. It's still paralyzing though, because you want to get it right the first time.

    I hope everything goes well for you! Especially with the decision you just made. That happened to me recently too. Spur of the moment decision that just feels right.

    1. Ugh, overanalyzing is the worst! I feel like Hamlet sometimes... XD But you're right, our God most certainly can use us, faults and all. (I love those lists of Bible heroes' flaws. You know, Moses was a murderer, David committed adultery, Rahab lied, etc.)

      Thank you so much1 ^_^ It feels good, doesn't it? To make those sorts of quick, right decisions? I hope yours goes well too.

  8. Being an INFJ too I so sympathize this. I'm so worried about making wrong decisions. I'm really nervous right now, because I need to get a secondary job to support myself during my pursuit of being a writer and it's scaring me a lot. I already feel like I'm having trouble managing life without a "real job." It's going to be tough having that in the mix, so it's honestly been causing me a lot of anxiety. *sighs* I'm praying and trying to trust that God will provide, but it's difficult sometimes.

    1. You're an INFJ as well? Cool! Well, minus the second guessing when it comes to decisions. XD (Though I can't blame it on personality type--how I deal with that is totally up to me.)

      Oh man, I hear you! Getting a "real job" is a scary venture. Especially because it means leaving our comfy hobbit holes... I don't know about you, but I'm a homebody just like Bilbo. And then it takes time away from writing... Not an easy thing. I'll pray that goes for well for you, Tori! May you be filled with peace as this transition happens. <3

    2. Haha yeah. XD

      I like going out on adventures but only on occasions. I'm a homebody as well. XD Thank you!

  9. Wow! I really needed to read this. I am in a massive decision rut at the moment. (And I too am an INFJ, I didn't know that about us but much now makes sense!) So, my whole life I've thought that I'd go to uni straight after school. I always kinda dreamt of going to Oxford, but I knew it wasn't very likely because it's so hard to get in. I always said I'd never "put my life on hold" to do a gap year and reapply. But when I didn't get in I was gutted, and now suddenly gap year is looking possible? But it's SO HARD TO TELL. And I don't know if I'm over-romanticising the idea of the "perfect uni", because I have offers from four great places and maybe I should just pick one of them? Or should I have another go at achieving my dream? Is a gap year the right choice?


    But then I remind myself that my eternal salvation is secure and God will not let me go to the wrong place, that he's planned my life and foreknown everything.

    Then I feel better.

    1. I'm so glad it came at a good time. (Wow, my fellow INFJs are cropping up all over!) Aww, you didn't get into Oxford? That sucks. I know how much you were hoping to. *hugs* Figuring out whether to take a gap year (I recently heard a new term for it: bridge year. I think I like that better) or go to university is huge! Never mind choosing WHICH school. D: I'll pray you have much wisdom.

      It's such a comfort to know that God knew in advance what's taking us by surprise right now. Oh! A song just came to mind: "The Unknown" by Anthem Lights. I played it over and over before and after high school grad. Here's a link if you're interested: I find songs like that one so encouraging.

      Just you watch and see, Emily--God's plans for your life are going to unfold beautifully! <3

  10. First off, this post's title = gold. And that story!!! Oh my gosh, it had me in STITCHES. I originally read it in a hotel in Virginia...late at night. I'm sure my parents were wondering how they ever had such a crazy daughter when I started sniggering at my screen. XD

    I TOTALLY get you! (And that's so me with the whole leftovers scenario! Are you sure we aren't twins? :P) I'm an INFJ as well (funny how many there are in the blogoverse), and making decisions is just so haaard. I have such a difficult time deciding even the most mundane things, such as when my mom asks me what we should have for dinner.

    And you're exactly right. It's because we're scared of making the wrong decision.

    I know I am. I'm entering the age when life-changing decisions are drawn to me like dangerously-accurate homing pigeons. What college should I attend? What career should I pursue? Combine all that with the stress and expectations of high school and you have a recipe for impending disaster.

    But I don't have to make it into a disaster. God's got it all under control, and I can trust Him. Whatever college I attend or job I take, I know God will still use me--and my decision--to accomplish His good and perfect plan for my life.

    Thank you ever so much for this post, Tracey! Your words continually give me comfort and encouragement--and remind me Who really is my GPS. <333

    1. Haha, glad to bring you some giggles! I can just imagine you making your parents wonder like that. XD

      We must be twins. Separated at birth. And...a year or two apart in age. XD (I think?) True. INFJs are supposedly the rarest personality type, but I've found a number of them across the blogoverse.
      Dinner decisions. Yep. So fun. :P

      Love your homing pigeon analogy! It does feel like a flock of birds coming at you sometimes. (Which brings to mind that scene with the crows in Divergent. Have you seen it?) There's so many decisions to make in this season of life, but you're absolutely right--God is going to direct you and use you. He works ALL things together for our good!

      I'm so glad! I often feel like these posts are more about God reminding ME of something, rather than me reminding others. And goodness knows I need those reminders. <333

    2. If they didn't know I was crazy before, they do now. XDDD

      We're actually further apart than you think. I'm not giving my age out for personal reasons, but we're much further apart than a year or two. XD (Incidentally, everyone always assumes I'm older than I actually am. It's rather funny, but I imagine I won't enjoy that later in life. >.>)

      LOL, thanks! Nope, I haven't seen Divergent before. It seems I'm not in the loop most of the time because I haven't seen Doctor Who, Sherlock, the Hunger Games, or Harry Potter. But I'm quite satisfied with my hobbits and centaurs and Elves for now. *smiles*

    3. Oh, I completely understand keeping personal info private online. That's wise. But really? There's more than a couple years between us? You do conduct yourself maturely, then. ^_^ (Maybe things will swing back the other way, and when you're old, people will think you're younger than you are. XD)

      Join the club! I haven't seen Dr. Who, Sherlock, or Harry Potter either! (Though I have watched the two Divergent movies and the first three Hunger Games.) At any rate, hobbits and centaurs and elves beat them all.