I’m standing on the edge of a new threshold right now; the kind of place that knits fear and possibility together and smudges expectations. My future direction, the one I had so clearly laid out in my mind, has warped once again. I’m in a messy place full of decisions and I spend so much time wondering if I will do the right thing.
My sense of adventure and my sense of fear is split right down the middle right now. I’m taking a crazy step forward. I’m taking a calculated risk that could return great reward, but the road to that place looks tangled and ambiguous from this point of view.
I’m reminded again that I fear what I don’t know, or what I think I can’t do, and I wonder how often I’ve allowed this fear to govern me and cinch me into a place that was comfortable, but not necessarily right, or vice versa. There are many places that might not necessarily be noticeably damaging for us to live in, but it may not be the best place: the one we thrive in, the one where we are challenged and stretched and embraced and alive in.
In this place, I’m realizing that deviation and sketching out a new, and perhaps unconventional, path for myself is daunting.
Am I making the right choice?
Will I regret this?
Regret. The more I think about it, the more I realize that I don’t often deviate from the norm because I’m ducking away from potential regret. I cringe away from mistakes. They are uncomfortable. They uncover weakness and often force me to admit I was wrong. Past mistakes have a way of sneaking into everyday thoughts like a constant hum in the background, and sometimes they rise up and pinch.
What I’m learning here in the process of making decisions is this: everything leading up to the decision is often the most exhausting part. Flopping between “should I?” and “shouldn’t I?” is mentally exhausting. I catch myself in the tension of whether to listen to my head or my heart. I run in circles with my thoughts, trying to uncover the “magic” solution.
Sometimes all of that back and forth confusion is a sign that you just need to make a decision. You might need to go to a quiet place and and get really honest, or sleep on it overnight, and then ask yourself “what do I really want on a deep, real level, even if I know it is hard or crazy or unpopular?” or “is all of this back and forth just fear?” You might actually know what the “right” decision is, but you may not be admitting it to yourself because finality is weighty and commitment is just scary sometimes.
What if you regret it?
Sometimes it seems easier to stay in that place of back and forth because you’re afraid of making the decision. You’re afraid that going ahead and taking the step might be the wrong thing to do when, really, the restlessness you are choosing to live in is the very signal you’ve been praying for. It is the sign that is telling you that this is the wrong spot. You’ve grown out of it. You’re restless because you aren’t content here.
Maybe it is a sign that you need to make the very decision you thought you would never seriously consider.
Maybe it is a sign that you just need to make a decision and stick with it.
I often find that when I brush up against uncomfortable situations or issues or choices in my life (especially if they come up repeatedly) it is almost as if God points and says “ok- we’re going there. I didn’t make you to shrink away in fear.”
That could mean staying where you are or diving into a completely new space. That could mean taking responsibility or handing responsibility over to someone else. That could mean dusting off an old dream or saying no to a new one. That could mean sticking it out or it could mean letting it rest. That could mean saying yes or it could mean saying no.
Sometimes the road to the decision is the most difficult part but the actual decision, even if it seems like the hardest way, might surprise you with freedom and beauty and possibility. It might offer blessing in the last place you expect to find it. Yes, it might be hard. You might wake up with huge questions and a wave of fear might roll over you from time to time. It might even seem like the “wrong” decision sometimes. However, there is a long, scenic road ahead and someday the knots will be kneaded out. Someday you’ll look over your shoulder and notice the difference between here and there and, perhaps, you may even feel grateful for the journey.