Our choices, an opportunity for growth or regret

Sitting in Church it is often surprising (although it should not be any more..) that I come with questions and thoughts in my mind, and there are topics discussed that reach to me in aid.  We had a teenage boy and then a couple speak during the main Sacrament meeting in church today about Patriotism and Sacrifice. My mind connected the messages they were delivering with the concept of agency, or our ability to choose.

We are saddled with the burden of making many decisions on a daily basis.  Some are of little consequence, and some ore very impactful to not only our own lives, but those within our sphere of influence.  My first notes in my journal were something to the effect that our choices can make us uncomfortable.  The result of that choice either leads to a growth opportunity or regret (which then leads to a growth opportunity, if we choose to then course correct).  In the last month or so I have found myself in the middle of a number of choices that have changed my course.  

Having in-depth conversations about diapers with my wife has definitely been one of those choices, and I am seizing it as an opportunity for growth.  I have felt small moments of regret, but on the whole I have embraced the decision as a positive one for me and my life. I am now working to understand it and continue to grow because of it.  There will be many more decisions that come from this one decision that will continue to shape my life and the relationships I have with my wife and children because my acceptance and understanding of myself will help me to be a better husband and father.

Another decision has been my lack of ambition to be physically fit and eat healthy.  I have entered a slump and have let small excuses become the reasons that I am not sticking to the habits that I have been living by for the last four to five years.  The regret of those decisions has come in a few different forms. I do not feel good, and the cycle repeats itself as my body wants to have more of the unhealthy food that I have been eating.  Because of that I do not want to work out. Each day and week that passes, it has been easier to let these things slip. I have worked out, but not with consistency. These two decisions that I am making on a daily basis have now created the outcome that my pants are not fitting the way that I want to.  Where does that take me? I continue to be sadder about my situation and the urge to return to bad food comes right back. (because ice cream fixes EVERYTHING, right?!)

Now, I must take the choices and decisions of regret and turn it around.  I have to get back to the basics. I must be stronger in the individual decisions that make up larger outcomes like physical health and happiness.

Often, we lean back on bad habits and addictions when we don’t believe in ourselves (or have a poor view of our own self worth).  We seek the approval of a “thing” or action to augment our level in which we value ourselves and our ability to contribute anything to our fellow man, our society, or humanity.  It is often a daunting task that appears impossible to believe in something or work for something larger than ourselves when we can’t see the worth of our own soul.

It can be hard to make the first step, (like when we try to tell our spouse or loved one about our little side) and sometimes we may not take the right first step because we are not stepping on the right foundation.  A foundation that we have not yet established. The 2nd half of Church today we were talking about safeguarding our homes and our children from the constant bombardment of things that are attacking the family. During this discussion a point was made about a few steps that I drew into a foundation of things to have in place before we are ready to make better choices.  It looks something like this:

  • Better choices through personal accountability.
  • Why I should do something.
  • Who I am.

Who I am – At our foundation and core we must know who we are.  Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are taught early and often that they are sons and daughters of a loving Heavenly Father.  Their worth is great, and so is their potential.  Truly knowing where you came from, why you are here, and where you can go builds a foundation of better decision making.

For ABDLs this can mean coming to grips with who they are inside.  Being able to finally learn that you are not the only one that has felt this way, and coming to grips with your little side.  I know I made decisions and acted a certain way for my entire life until last month. I have found a new view, a better understanding of myself, and coupled with my religious background I am now better prepared to make decisions differently.

Why I should do something – Once we know who we are, and our purpose, we are empowered to comprehend the reasoning for the “why” behind so many things that we do.  Often people consider commandments and laws to be restrictions that keep us from doing what we want and being who we want to be. We need to look at them in the lens that commandments from God, governmental laws, and even rules from our parents are there to safeguard us.  They provide us with bumpers (like the ones at the bowling alley when you first were learning how to play) so we can begin to safely navigate this scary thing called life. I know that if I have context behind why a regulation or rule is in place I am much more willing to abide by that law because I can see there is purpose behind it.  I am not just blindly following something that I do not understand.

Better choices through personal accountabilityClothed in the armor of God, and empowered with the knowledge to make decisions that are best for us and our family we employ personal accountability.  We must be able to hold ourselves accountable for the choices that we are making. The next time I want ice cream I must be ready to stop myself and not succumb to the temptation.  While it is lovely in the short-term, I am tired of the result that follows.  

We are often alone in these decisions, fighting the internal battle to pick which version of ourselves we will decide to be.  Again these are small decisions like ice cream, and large decisions like choosing diapers over my family. I am not saying that it is cut and dry like that for me with diapers.  What I’m saying is that when the opportunity to do something with my family arises and I have the choice to do that thing, or have some little time to myself I will choose my family.  There are rare occasions when I will need that time to help balance myself, but I will never be able to get back that moment with my family.  

Everyone’s situations are different, and everyone is going to make different choices.  My goal and plan is to never let diapers get between my family and myself. I feel they can coincide, and I am working daily to figure that out.  Until that balance occurs and is sustainable, I will caution to the side of my family EVERY time.

A great resource: There is a wealth of knowledge on a site that was discussed today for those looking for help in a myriad of ways (abuse, addiction, pornography) for themselves, as a parent, or for their family. I encourage you to check it out. Hope and Help

My goal is Eternal Life with them, no matter the cost.

We must have the goal not just in our minds but in our hearts. What we want is eternal life in families. We don’t just want it if that is what works out, nor do we want something approaching eternal life. We want eternal life, whatever its cost in effort, pain, and sacrifice.

Henry B. Eyring, November 5th, 1995

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