Today, I thought it would be fun to contemplate the best decisions I have ever made. Like everyone else, I have made plenty of bad decisions, but I’m already really great at remembering them, dwelling on them, and eviscerating myself about them. You know, “worst critic” and all that.
I don’t need to be always doing that.
Neither do you.
Especially because on the whole, I would say that I’m happy how I’ve grown up and turned out. When you look across the landscape of your life, I think you’re able to say the same, right? Personally, I’d like to start a healthier habit of reflecting on the best choices I’ve made to get me here, and just be grateful about them. That way, I can just be glad, and hopeful, and less hard on myself. And simply enjoy the season I am in. Okay, here we go:
- Accepting Jesus Christ as my leader, forgiver, and friend. As a teen, I learned that it was pointless living for myself even if I achieved the absolute best that this world has to offer. It still would always fall short in fully satisfying me, and I honestly didn’t want everything to be on my shoulders anyway – as that is an exhausting and often miserable way to live.I wanted to be part of a bigger story – something epic, something transcendent, something that called me forth to be noble and strong while taking the narrow road, the road less traveled. Plus, I didn’t want to do life alone, and I was quick to see that the people around me – even the closest of friends or family or lovers – would fail me in time. Jesus wouldn’t, and He provided the way for me (mistake-prone, selfish, conditionally loving, and compromising) to have access to and connect with God (perfect, selfless, purehearted, unconditionally loving, and uncompromising).We’ve been BFFs for over twenty years now. He has carried me through life by providing His presence, peace, perspective, perennial hope, and promises to me (of which He has honestly never let me down). And I’m not embarrassed to be dependent on Him – I want to be dependent on Him. His plans for me are good (perfectly good, even when I don’t understand it). Plus, I can’t control much of anything anyway, and so it’s so much better for Him to be in charge, with me following in His footsteps.
I’m not embarrassed to be dependent on Him – I want to be dependent on Him.
- Waiting a really long time for love. Dang, I wanted a relationship so bad for so many years. And it was so hard and so lonely and so painful for decades. Seriously, decades. I’ve written about this season of solitude before. Deep down, I just wanted the one He had for me, the best one – where we’d fit together beautifully in passion and purpose, we’d build the most amazing family, we’d inspire other couples to continually pursue one another, we’d be able to influence lives and impact the world multiplicatively rather than additively. And there were girls in my life before Rachel, and I cared about them deeply and they had a purpose in my life, but I eventually discovered they weren’t the one. Rachel was, and it was clear early on. And He helped me wait, kept my heart safe, healed it from past wounds, and enabled me to present it to her healthy and whole. I am convinced all of the alone time during singleness allowed Him to work on me and make me into the person I needed to become.
I am convinced all of the alone time during singleness allowed Him to work on me and make me into the person I needed to become.
- Giving up soda on my 16th birthday. This was the first time I drew a line in the sand and made a commitment to myself to stop doing something that may be fine and normal to do, but may not be the best for me to do. And having done that, it has given me the fortitude to stop doing other things that may be fine and normal, but may not be the best. This includes killing trains of negative thought such as pining over a girl who very obviously wasn’t the one (which I did way too often) or believing for the worst each day (a hallmark of my years of teenage angst) or hating how I appeared to others (God helped me overcome that over time). It also helps me to keep other commitments I make (for example, sticking with the boundaries I set to protect my heart, or doing what I say I will do for others no matter what). Commitments have made me who I am today.
Commitments have made me who I am today.
- Stopping doing things out of obligation. When I turned 30, I told myself I was done doing things to please those around me. Previous to that, I had this rigid image of what “Sameer” should be: someone who always poured out himself on behalf of others. That was my identity, and people validated me for it – which gave me the affirmation, attention, and affection I desperately sought. But slowly God taught me that friendships and relationships are meant to be bidirectional, not one-sided. That should have been intuitive, but it wasn’t, perhaps because of a dysfunctional way in which I viewed myself. Since that birthday, “I’m sorry, I can’t” is a regularly-used phrase in my vocabulary. And it’s been so good for me. This doesn’t mean that I don’t pour myself out; it just means that I’m prompted by the Lord instead of the unending needs and wants of others. I don’t want to be loved and appreciated because what I can do, but rather for who I am.
Slowly God taught me that friendships and relationships are meant to be bi-directional, not one-sided.
- Making childlike faith my life’s theme. I don’t want to be suspicious about God’s intentions, or pessimistic about how things typically won’t work out my way. I don’t want to doubt whether my words or actions will bear fruit, or question whether my prayers will be answered. I just want to approach every interaction and every experience with the fullest of hope that things are going to work out, and it’s going to be good. Tons of crappy things have happened to me in my yesterdays, but I cannot allow that to affect how I view my tomorrows. I just can’t. And it’s a choice we all get to make.
Tons of crappy things have happened to me in my yesterdays, but I cannot allow that to affect how I view my tomorrows. I just can’t. And it’s a choice we all get to make.
What are the five best decisions you’ve ever made? I’d really love to hear them and be inspired by them, and I’m sure others may find some encouragement and motivation in them as well!