Choices We All Make Them
Author: Byron Pulsifer, © 2009
Choices. We all make them every day. Some are good, and some are not so good. You can surrender your destiny to the desires of others, or you can make your own. The point is that we can make choices that help us to move forward through adversity, or we may make choices that assist others to move beyond or through some of life’s issues.
“Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.”
William Jennings Bryan
Everyone Has A Choice
Choices are within everyone’s command. No one has to do, or is obligated to live their lives as others live. On the other hand, inevitably at some point in our lives, we witness, first-hand, choices that other people, friends, family members or colleagues make that we can clearly see are leading them down a slippery slope to either immediate devastating consequences, or a future that can be potentially harmful.
But, here’s the point about other people’s choices. You cannot make another person choose a different option or path nor can you change them. Each person is responsible for their own behaviors and actions. And, as much as we would like to change them it is only possible if they want to change.
You Cannot Do It For Them
As caring people, we probably have all made efforts to try and assist other individuals to change or alter a choice so they won’t experience what we feel will be negative reactions, rejection, or, worse still, criminal prosecutions. While there is nothing inherently wrong or misguided about our good intentions, the ultimate choice people make is entirely up to them. We can’t live other people’s lives for them; we don’t want to put ourselves in any position that appears or demonstrates that we own their problems or own their choices. These people own their own lives; they make the choices, good or bad.
One important thing I learned as a counsellor is that people often try and get you to own their problem; that is, they want you to manage their life and be the one to blame if attempted changes don’t work out. However, the ultimate responsibility and accountability for any attitude, behavior or belief rests firmly with the person.
Excuses do not make up for failures. The person committing the action or demonstrating the behavior is the one who must bear the brunt of those actions and no one else.
“Hold yourself responsible for a higher standard than anyone else expects of you. Never excuse yourself.”
Henry Ward Beecher
Only If Asked
Choices. We make hundreds of choices in our lives. Other people make hundreds of choices. We might wish and hope that we can change other peoples’ choices so they can avoid potential problems be that drug abuse, alcohol, relationships, parenting and on and on. But, we cannot make choices for others – what we can strive to do is offer constructive opinions or suggestions, when asked, or referrals to professionals who can assist in one’s decision-making. Be inspired by the words of W. Clement Stone, they may help you, or may help others keep moving forward through the never-ending maze of choices: “You always do what you want to do. This is true with every act. You may say that you had to do something, or that you were forced to, but actually, whatever you do, you do by choice. Only you have the power to choose for yourself.”
Every person has a choice to make about whether or not they will use their spare time to help or assist others. It is a simple choice but not everyone sees helping another person in need as their responsibility.
If you have several spare hours a day, you can use this time to your own ends or you could offer part of this time in the service of others. Is it a selfish choice to use your spare time only to satisfy your own desires? To answer this question, one must first ask the question whether the spare time you have is directed to satisfy a need or a want. To make this point understandable is to ask whether what you are using your spare time to do of necessity. If it is a task or chore that must be completed, for example, studying for a test or exam, than it is something categorized as a need.
On the other hand, if your spare time is used to flop down in front of a television with the only purpose to put in time than you are wasting or squandering time. In essence, there is no need to watch television but, instead, a want. Let me be clear, however, that there is nothing inherently wrong with watching television. On the one hand, you may choose to watch television as a method of relaxation after a stressful day. The act of watching television takes the mind away from issues of the day.
But, if you simply watch television every evening after supper and you do this until bedtime, and you repeat this same behavior throughout the weekend, you may be satisfying a want and not a need. The fact that you decide to watch television, in fact, is a choice. Now, let me use this example to the extreme. If you watch television and do not help with chores around the house, this may be a selfish choice. If you are in a relationship, there are always chores to do. If you have made the decision to never help with these chores like doing the dishes, or cleaning the house, or taking out the garbage or shovelling the snow, you have made a selfish choice.
The Busy Choices
On the other extreme are those people who are always active doing what needs to be done, or volunteering for a host of charitable activities and never take any time to relax or to recharge their physical and mental batteries. For these types of people, they have also made a choice but it can be a choice that sees them wear down physically and mentally until they become extremely sick.
So, what am I saying?
I am saying that every person in every walk of life no matter whom they are or what they do all make choices. Some of these choices lead nowhere; there is a void in their life that has not been satisfied nor will be satisfied by the choices they make. Part of this void cannot be satisfied no matter what choices they make. For other people, the choices they make fill the void but only when that void is filled with belief and trust in Jesus Christ. Nothing on this earth can satisfy a person’s void or emptiness without this faith and trust.
The person who always tries to fill their inner emptiness with worldly endeavours or pleasures is one who is never satisfied. The person who constantly fills their life with choices that help others will also never be satisfied. Both of these types of people can only be truly satisfied when their life is filled with Jesus as their hope and faith.
And, even the person who believes in Jesus and desires to serve others needs to recognize that balance in life is important. Every person has physical and mental limitations. It is wise to understand that constant giving of oneself needs to be balanced with time to recuperate, to recharge their batteries of life.
The balance I speak of is not a want, in this case, but a need. It is a prudent choice and not a selfish choice. It is a choice that allows a person to continue to serve.
Choices. We all make them. Choose wisely.
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
“You are the person who has to decide. Whether you’ll do it or toss it aside; You are the person who makes up your mind. Whether you’ll lead or will linger behind. Whether you’ll try for the goal that’s afar. Or just be contented to stay where you are.” Edgar A. Guest
“All who trust in Jesus need never fear the possibility of experiencing the wrath of God. It was exhausted on His Son as He stood in our place, bearing the guilt of our sin.” Josh Hunt
“The Lord is faithful to those who are faithful and earnestly seek Him.” Ben Lance
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