Our Choices Create Our Life
I’ve been talking about today’s topic all week long on Facebook. To live a life of excellence, to strive to live out what only we can be and do, requires us to make choices.
Everything in our life is a reflection of the choices we’ve made and people too often forget that this life we have, we get to choose how we want to live it.
This whole thought journey started a few weekends ago when I was hanging with my dogs, relaxing at home after a busy week and looking for a good movie to watch. I’m not much of a love story, girly movie watcher, but the only thing I could find that looked worth watching was a moving called, “The Choice.” It was film adapted from a book by Nicolas Sparks, which most people know from the movie and book, “The Notebook.”
It definitely had a very similar theme as you would expect from Nicolas Sparks. But, I actually enjoyed the movie. It really makes you think about how what may seem as the smallest, nothing choice can have a profound ripple effect in our life. That sentiment ran throughout the movie with both good and bad consequences, but don’t worry, it had a Hollywood ending.
I love movies, plays and the field of drama as a whole – I have my whole life. I’m sure that has a great deal to do with the fact that my father is still to this day as much in love with the same as I am. I grew up being in plays and traveling with my father’s youth groups to different cities to put on the plays he directed. It was such fun!!
I think it also has so much to do with the fact that it reminds me of being a child and pretending – something that all of us need to do a bit more of. And of course, it also has to do with how it’s such a great way of transporting yourself to another place and time. For someone like me, who can sometimes not only be a bit too much in my head, I put a great deal of pressure on myself at times, so movies, plays, etc. are a fantastic way for me to step back into a lighter, more creative space.
Here’s what I’m starting to wrap my brain around – that’s a disclaimer to let you know that I don’t have this all figured out. My earliest memory of making a “bad decision” was when I around 5 years old and yes, I was in the 1st grade (they let us start earlier back in the day), and I forgot to wear my glasses to school. My teacher, Mrs. Beatley, saw that I didn’t have my glasses on and in front of the entire classroom, called me to the front of the room, asked me where my glasses were, I told her I left them at home. She said, with everyone watching, that I wasn’t allowed to sit in class without my glasses, so I needed to go to the principal’s office and have someone bring me my glasses. I can still remember standing at the front door waiting for someone to bring me my glasses. I was humiliated – who knew a child at 5 years old could understand what humiliation was. Well, I sure did and that memory was ingrained in my mind as not only a forgetful choice that didn’t make again, but also in looking back as an adult now, how awful that choice was by my teacher.
As the saying goes, you are free to make your choices, but you are not free to choose your consequences. So, that brings me back to what I’m wrapping my brain around – all choices have both good AND bad outcomes – no matter what. You simply have to weigh the consequences before-hand and attempt to minimize the ripple effect of the bad outcomes.
I spent a good portion of my life being very harsh on myself. My bar of expectation for performing at my best was set very high. Now, the good outcome of that for me is that I have lived a life full of adventure and no regrets and while I still have things I want to do, I’ve not lived a “bucket-list” life. I’ve pursued my passions because when I didn’t I felt dead. But the bad outcome of that is, that not only did I suffer some physically at times, financially at others and a few times impacting not only myself but those I care about also felt the repercussions of my choices.
But, again, the way I see it, there is no wrong. Well, of course the socially known wrongs like murder or anything horrific like that doesn’t come into play when I referencing wrong.
As a 5 year old, standing at the front door of Tamarack Elementary School, in Owensboro, KY, that teacher could have easily handled that situation with me with much more care. But as an adult, I can heal that hurt now and realize it was a part of my journey. I can empathize with children who wear glasses now and see their beauty. I know what it feels like to be isolated and disparaged; therefore my compassion runs deep for others who have experienced those emotions.
Our choices define our journey. Our journey isn’t right or wrong, good or bad. They are our lessons to learn. Those lessons that we learn are ones that can impact others for good. This journey through the choices we make is our road to excellence.
You see, that’s why I love excellence so much. We are learning and growing and striving for our best self until we die. There is no destination; there is only this moment. You get to decide how you will choose to live in this moment. Keeping in mind that both good and bad consequences come with every choice. So free yourself from the “what if” and go with what your excellence calls you to do.
I will say that after watching the movie, “The Choice” the only “what if” that applies to any choice involving someone we love is, what if today was my last day or their last day? Life can change on a dime and when you get caught up in the business of life, texting, social media, working too much, etc., it’s in those “now” moments, that we may not choose what is our most excellent choice.
Those moments are definitely ones that I’d like to avoid, but I’m certain I’m not in control of most things that happen in life and I’m grateful that I serve a God of grace and forgiveness. His angels have done some mighty work in my life and in my families in spite of the choices that we’ve made.
So, make your choices with the freedom that pursuing your excellence, which is meant for you and only you, will reveal itself. Your job is to be awake and present enough to follow that nudge.
I do hope you’ve enjoyed our journey today!! The road to excellence is paved with many stories and it would make my heart sing to know that you spending time with me today has in some way, helped you see the gift that you are to this world.
Thank you for joining me today and until next time, Live Excellence.