≡ Menu

Decisions Decisions Decisions

We all have decisions to make every day. Big ones. Little ones. Which career path to follow. What style to cut your hair. Ice cream or no ice cream, and if yes to ice cream, what flavor? Some decisions come with little or no apparant consequence, some come with huge consequences.

A lot of times the consequences seem hidden, like choosing door Number 1, 2 or 3 on a game show, and you have no clue what you’re going to get. Those are tough, but even those can be made better if you’ve logically thought through the choices before push come to shove.

Which brings me to my point. The best decisions I’ve made in life are the ones I’ve made in advance. Long before it was imperative that a ruling had to be made, long before the ticking clock had wound down and it was time to say yea or nay.

A friend of mine recently reminded me of this. She is an excellent decision maker and she wastes no time. I don’t do so badly, but sometimes I waste time making the same decision over and over again when I could just do it once and be done with it.

Let me explain.

I remember a particular lesson in Mutual, eons ago. The lesson was on chastity and our advisor was explaining that if we made the decision right then and there, sitting in class, at church, to be morally straight, the decision would be easy and we could be sure of the outcome. But if we waited to make the decision on whether or not to be chaste until we were in the back seat of a car, at a drive-in, with a really hot boy, whom we were absolutely crazy about, the outcome might also be predictable. But all the baggage that came with that outcome, might not be what we really wanted.

I distinctly remember making a conscious decision that day, that come what may, I would remain morally straight and find someone of like mind, whom I was crazy about, and marry in the temple. My resolve was tested with someone (not my future hubby) whom I was also crazy about, and I was very glad that the ‘decision’ had already been made when the pressure was on and I was able to do and say the right things at the right time.

This morning my friend (the good decision maker), called to chat. I told her I was debating about whether or not to go running that day. I needed to—my daughter has entered me in a marathon in October—but I didn’t really want to.

“Of course, you don’t want to,” she said, “You haven’t gone yet. But who ever came back from running or working out and said, ‘gee, I wish I hadn’t worked out today.'”

And I realized she was totally right. I’ve never regretted working out. I’ve only ever regretted not working out. I realized I’m waking up each day and leaving the decision of whether or not to do some really important things in my life up to chance. Up to whether or not ‘I feel like it’ that day or not. I realized I rarely make plans for my days off. I give it the ole, “If I feel like it, I’ll go to the temple this Saturday.” And sometimes, I go. And sometimes, I don’t.

My friend, the great decision maker? She’s gone to the Orlando temple and done initiatory work every Wednesday morning for about fifteen years, since they opened. She made the decision once. She doesn’t have to waste time deciding ever again.

Somehow I think she was getting the real lesson in mutual all those years ago. So I’m wondering this morning (post run, by the way, 9 miles!), how much time and agonizing I could save, and how many things I could eliminate having to decide each day, by making the decision once. Just once. And I’m done.

{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Heidi June 11, 2011, 1:31 pm

    But, but….you made one of the most vital important decisions regarding chastity. How many of us wish we could say the same? Pat yourself on the back, girl.

  • jks June 11, 2011, 9:26 pm

    Wow, I’m going to figure out how I can do this in my life.

  • Pattyann June 12, 2011, 10:16 am

    I couldn’t agree with this one more! I have found the same thing. Those decisions that I make, I keep. Those ones that I am wishy washy about, I don’t. It is amazing what the power of a decision can do for us.
    Pattyann recently posted…Five Minute Friday – BackwardsMy Profile

  • Michelle DeGraw June 12, 2011, 3:12 pm

    I am reminded of a comment made by my sister. She and another sister visited us 2 months ago. The first sister has worked out on a regular basis for 15 years; the other sister has just recently started a consistent exercise schedule. They both wanted to keep up their routines while they visited and convinced me to join them. (I have not ever been an avid exerciser. Thanks, genetics!)

    I have continued what they started, and have rarely missed a day of working out since their visit. On the days I am tempted not to exercise, I hear my sister’s voice in my head: “The key is not asking ‘Am I going to work out today?’ but rather ‘Which work out am I going to use today?’ ” Thus it becomes a choice between dance, tae bo, or walking instead of whether to work out or not. It has really helped me stay motivated with the decision, made once, to continue what I started when my sisters visited.

    Great post, Darcee, about making the important decisions once and being consistent with the choices we make.
    Michelle DeGraw recently posted…Great BlessingsMy Profile

  • Tracy Keeney June 13, 2011, 4:16 pm

    Great post! And you obviously have a great FRIEND too! I love what she said ” “Of course, you don’t want to–you haven’t gone yet. But who ever came back from running or working out and said, ‘gee, I wish I hadn’t worked out today.’” It’s SO true. And that would go with the chastity thing too, only in the negative. “Of course you want to– but who ever came home from a date and said “gee, I wish I didn’t have the moral integrity to live my standards.”
    I have to admit though, I have an “issue” with the premise. I remember hearing the same thing in YW about chastity– and I’ve continued to hear it as I’ve served in YW over the years– “decide now, so you don’t have to decide later.”
    But while I agree it’s a good practice to make decisions ahead of time (similar to making a new year’s resolution), and it’s certainly nothing I would discourage, it’s SO much more than making a one time decision as though that’s the only time you’ll ever have to make it. So I always cringe a little when I hear leaders saying “decide now, so you won’t have to decide later”– it makes it sound too easy, and frankly, it doesn’t work that way. Just like you pointed out with the exercising example– you decided that you wanted to exercise everyday–whether that was a couple months ago, 2 years ago, or ten years ago, I don’t know– but this morning you STILL had to make a decision about whether to go, and you were considering NOT going. Thankfully, you had a good friend with wise counsel to encourage you.
    It’s EASY to decide to do or not do something way ahead of time. The HARD part is sticking with that decision in the heat of the moment, when the pressure is on, or when a million other things get in the way. So I always get a little uneasy when I hear leaders using that philosophy.
    The real power isn’t in making a decision ahead of time– it’s what you do *between* the time you make the decision and the time when you might have to put your convictions to the test and then again *in the very moment* IN THE VERY MOMENT of impact. .
    How many kids go through the DARE program and vow they’re never going to do drugs or smoke cigarettes? They might even mean it very sincerely at the time. But it’s easy to say smoking and doing drugs is stupid when you’re 10 and none of your friends are doing either one. It’s another thing when you’re 17 and so many around you ARE smoking and they put the pressure on.
    Similarly, it’s EASY on New Year’s Eve to say you want to lose weight and you write out an exercise program. You might be very serious and feel very committed to doing it. You might even do really well for a few weeks. But then, there are several things that could creep up and get in the way. A really hectic schedule, an injury– even just an unexplainable loss of motivation. Of course, someone who is completely immovable about their decision would get up at 3 in the morning to exercise if their crazy schedule made that the only time they could do it. (I have a cousin whose wife does this) A foot injury could prevent someone from jogging everyday, but someone who won’t let anything get in their way would substitute some other form of exercise– swimming, weight training, etc. But in all these cases, the person STILL has to decide each morning to follow through with the decision they made earlier.
    In regards to issues of chastity, making a decision to remain pure and to avoid any inappropriate sexual contact is really easy when you’re 12 and haven’t even had a serious crush yet, muchless held hands. It’s another thing entirely to LIVE UP to that decision when you’re 18 and have very strong feelings for someone, and those feelings and temptations come a knockin’ while you’re dancing, kissing each other goodnight, sitting in a darkened theatre, or even in the FRONT of a car on your way home from a date. Living up to that previous decision requires a million OTHER decisions that have to happen everytime a possible “threat” to that decision appears.

  • Darcee Yates June 14, 2011, 11:40 am

    Tracey- I really do think, at least for me, that I’m capable of making a decision once and never have to decide again, as long as I take into account all the future possiblilities that I can imagine. With chastiy– “But what if we are really in love? But what if we are already engaged? What if I’ll lose him otherwise? What if he’s going away and I’d never see him again? What if…? —– No matter what, this is my decision.” My decision stuck for me in that instance because that was the level of committment I had to the outcome I wanted.

    Now exercise, on the other hand– I want to be healthy, I want to be fit, I want those- ‘ten-twenty pounds’ to melt away. I want to do well in the marathon in October. But I haven’t made the same level of committment to those ends yet. I keep hoping I can have all of those things that ‘I want’ while putting in minimal effort. Which rationally I know is impossible. It may be human nature to try to get the most while paying the least.

    I read a book on training for a marathon once that dealt with that issue. The advice was to decide to run ‘NO MATTER WHAT’. If it was raining-run anyway. If it was windy, if it was too hot, if it was too cold, if you were tired, if your were busy, if you had a head cold, if your finger hurt, if it was inconvenient, if you were on vacation. Whatever your excuse, run anyway, no matter what. It’s that level of committment and power of decision I’m trying to get to, where I don’t have to make the decision of whether or not to run a particular day- it’s already decided- I will run anyway.

    And I think we can do that with anything that that we want to be sure of the outcome. I may not be able to assure myself of a winning spot in the marathon, but I can assure myself of a finish in which I know I gave it all I had. That there wasn’t a day that I was slacking in my effort.

    That said, there are alot of things that vie for attention in our lives and need to be prioritized. For this summer, pushing for optimum health and training for this marathon are in my top 5 list. And I’m striving to make the committment I need to that end. Going along with that is how I will feed my body to preform it’s best.

    Whether I should choose a chicken/mayo salad sandwich with cookie for lunch or a salad and lean meat and fruit, has becomes a no brainer. It’s not about calories anymore, it’s what fuels my body best. If I make the decision ‘once’ to make every choice, fresh fruits and veggies, and lean meats, in other words the best fuel to run and repair muscle on it makes every meal decision easier. Without agonizing over treats, I can look at the list of can-haves and eat from that.

    I’ve made the committment to the food list. Life is easier in that respect.

    I haven’t quite made that same level of committment to the running. I’m still waffleing, on tired, cold, inconvenient. I’m hoping to make the decision soon, to run no matter what.

    The same could be said for going to the temple. Every saturday- no matter what.

    Or- saving for a mission- $50 in in the bank every pay day- no matter what.

    Or- learning something new- practice 30 minutes every day no matter what.

    or- you get the idea.
    Darcee Yates recently posted…Name that Space Age AirportMy Profile

  • Tracy Keeney June 14, 2011, 3:35 pm

    I agree Darcey– you essentially said what I said. It’s the depth of the commitment and how we MAINTAIN the commitment or “endure to the end”. My cousin’s wife gets up at 3 to exercise. I want to lose weight, but admit right up front that I miss days often because I get so busy, but am NOT getting up at 3 to exercise. Her commitment is greater than mine.
    My issue though, is the WAY leaders present the “choose now” idea to youth. It really isn’t a one time decision. You have to decide on every date, to keep the first commitment. You can decide at twleve to live the law of chastity and MEAN it, then succumb to temptation later. It’s the “Enduring to the end” part of the equation. The decisions someone makes in between “the” decision and the moment it counts matter too. Often, youth overestimate their strength– thinking they can push limits and still come out squeaky clean in the end. So they can sincerely commit to chastity, but then make poor decisions in the meantime that lead them to go back on the first, because they overestimate their personal strength– going steady with one person rather than dating several people — (how many of our youth do this? I’ll bet at LEAST half, but probably more), one on one dating instead of double dating, staying out too late, etc.
    So if a kid makes a sincere commitment to chastity, there are other decisions they ALSO have to make that will help them keep the first. And in the heat of the moment, when feelings are stirring, they have to decide whether or not they’re going to ingore the feelings, maintain the standard and walk away or succumb. While I agree that “a decision” could have been made years before, I think another decision has to be made when something could encroach on the first. It may be just a flash of an instant, but it’s still there.
    The “once saved always saved” philosophy of some of the evangelical sects assumes that all someone has to do is decide ONCE in their life to “accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior” and that’s all. But we know that’s not true. It’s the decisions that come AFTER that, which determine whether or not a person will be saved. Similarly, we can decide ONCE when we’re 12 to remain chaste– but we’re going to have to make MANY decisions afterwards in order to be able to accomplish the first.

  • jennycherie June 15, 2011, 12:09 pm

    quote I saw this morning that made me think of this:

    “There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.” ~ Kenneth Blanchard (author, business dude)

    This applies to the discussion on decision making, I believe. However, there ARE reasons that get in the way of us keeping our commitments/enduring to the end with our decisions. Thinking of the exercise issue, my cousin is sincerely committed to exercise and an active lifestyle – no question. I’m pretty sure she has exercised in some way almost every day of her adult life. But when she tore her achilles tendon? Yeah, no more. Now she has one little chicken bone of a leg, next to her one nicely muscled leg.

    I can’t think of any way for that to apply to the modesty/chastity decision, but I think there can be reasons why one makes a decision that she expects to be lifelong, only to change course later. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing (not that anyone suggested otherwise, just that those are the examples that most readily come to mind).
    jennycherie recently posted…The Aftermath of Hollys Most Magnificent WreckMy Profile

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge