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  • Katie Smith

Fear of making the wrong choice

Perfection. Obviously not attainable. No matter how much you think something is exactly the way it should be, suddenly the other proverbial shoe drops or those same dirty shoes come traipsing onto the perfectly vacuumed floors.

People assume that my overly organized, type-A nature means I possess a perfectionism in my personality. On the contrary, I am far from a perfectionist because I don't like details. I like things cleaned up, but I almost never move anything around to clean under it. Painting is only fun for me when impressionistic or free-style. Please do not ask me to paint a wall or I'll exclude that blue tape altogether. Alternatively, I do struggle with efficientism. It is not a real word, but it is a real problem.

I want to get things right the first time. I hate starting over or beginning from scratch because if I already started, I want to keep the momentum moving (I'll just keep applying coats of paint rather than using paint thinner). Otherwise, I feel time is wasted on the rewind of the overlooked details. Clearly this M.O. produces many flawed finales or sloppy projects, but for some reason I want to utilize every second of the day in the direction of correctness rather than corrections. Not perfectly, but purposefully without stopping.

Perhaps the restart feels particularly tiring. Like when mom sits down for too long, she falls asleep, so she just keeps moving. When it comes to marriage choices, parental choices, job choices, education choices, etc. we all make thousands of tiny choices a day, and most of us walk through life hating correction. Getting the answer right fuels our systemic and societal upbringing. However, it has been the wrong choices I've made that have actually become the crux of my freedom from fear.

When the question of marriage was first asked of me, something in my gut knew it wasn't quite right, but I said yes anyway. When I said yes to an ideal job offer years ago, I didn't realize it was horrific timing. Likewise, when I was advised not to have more children for an extended period of time, I was certain I'd run into a wrong response along the way.

All of my "incorrect" choices were far from bad decisions. In actuality, they were the side roads of glory. Like those rarely traveled side-streets in Europe, detours and wrong turns give way to a deeper connection with the culture. When we move through the main, tourist streets, we get pulled along by the traffic flow. Whereas the random "wrong" turns lead us to learning.

If you fall into a pattern of sameness year after year, too scared to step of the trail, or if you are fearful of making an important decision in the wrong direction, know that there is no such thing as an "incorrect" choice. Unless there's a deliberate detour toward that which pure innocence would call "bad," the fork in the road has two "right" ways.

The Book of Genesis provides a perfect example of a young boy whose life looked like one long wasted detour to the throne. However, without the servitude and jail time, Joseph may not have developed such a heart of forgiveness let alone saved many people from starvation. Freedom exists not in being "wrong" but that there is no wrong if we are seeking God's glory above our own. All of His roads lead to perfection.

A new season, new choices, and new life... no matter what I choose, carefully or carelessly,

life keeps growing. That's freeing!

~Carefully Careless

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