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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Truth Quest

"We're better off the sooner that we find
that life is mostly what we choose to see."
Ben Rector
I know we all think about our decisions before we actually make them. We do the whole back and forth on whether or not we should do/say/buy/etc. something. "I really love this dress but I should save my money. But I also don't have a dress in this color. It is 15% off...."

Sound familiar? I figured it would. I'm definitely guilt of it. So. Guilty.

"I don't have enough time to work out."

"I know our [values/goals/etc.] are different but [insert justification here] so I'll keep dating them."

"I'll splurge eating out just this once." x83

We make these decisions seeking instant gratification. Then, we work so hard to justify our behaviors and actions so we don't have to feel guilty about it. As time passes, we get stuck in not so great and sometimes awful situations because we weren't thinking about the long run. Then we blame others, become angry, and question God. How could He do this to us?! Right? 


Wrong.

In reading The Principle of the Path, Andy Stanley says,
"Our problem stems from the fact that we are not on a truth quest. That is, we don't wake up every morning with a burning desire to know what's true, what's right, what's honorable. We are on a happiness quest. We want to be - as in feel - happy. And our quest for happiness often trumps our appreciation for and pursuit of what's true."
So why is this so hard? I started reading Chapter 5 of this book and am thinking, "Ya, this is a no brainer! We tell our students this all the time. They need to think about their decisions since they all have an impact on their lives." But when I really thought about it, taking the right path is much easier said than done. We "don't have the time to work out" but then we're mad when the repercussions come and the clothes don't fit anymore. But those 20-60 minutes could've saved us a lot of trouble later, right? And I'll be honest, I feel GREAT after every work out! So why opt out? We get frustrated when we're short on money but did we really need to by that new shirt/dress/shoes/etc. when we have a closet of perfectly good clothing? We just had to have the latest trends...

"The problem with the happiness quest is that happy today does not necessarily equal happy tomorrow."

Now, I'm not saying that every decision that gives us happiness now or instant gratification is a bad one. I also don't think that EVERY tough situation we find ourselves in is a direct result of our decisions. Sometimes bad things really do just happen. But let's be honest, most of those not so great situations we find ourselves in, are results of this happiness quest. I look back on a decision I made six months ago. At the time, I thought about all the possible outcomes (analytical is another strength, of course.) and mulled over them. Even though I knew where my decision was going to take me, I wanted to be happy then and there, so I made it. Now, here I am, six months later, EXACTLY WHERE I KNEW I WOULD BE!! Yes, that deserved all caps. When this all played out, I wasn't even mad. I was a little frustrated, how could I not be. But mostly, I'm kind of disappointed with myself. I knew what the possible destinations of this path I chose were and I chose it anyway. Do I regret the decision? Not entirely. I'm learning from it. Do I wish I could've learned another way and saved my self a lot of time, trouble, and headaches? Kind of.

But it is what it is. I chose my path and now I am owning that decision so I can move forward. Let me tell you, owning your responsibility in the destinations you reach makes All. The. Difference. Seriously. 

"We deceive ourselves about why we choose the things we choose. And then we spin a web of excuses to protect ourselves, excuses, that over time we come to believe. [...] As long as you hide behind reasons that aren't the real reasons for your behavior, you will never have the clarity or strength you need to turn around and move in a new direction."

Reading this chapter when I did was perfect timing, as always. What struck me the most in the chapter though was this. "The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure." (Jer. 17:9). Um, excuse me, what? I thought people had been telling me this whole time to trust my heart when I make decisions, now you're telling me it's been lying to me this whole time? Well, this is how I've interpreted it thanks to the paraphrased wise words of my Buddy: We know what's right and wrong and truly best for us.

It's written in our hearts. -Buddy

I think what we struggle with is differentiating what we want from what we need. So from here on out, I'm going try to live out this truth quest. To have the clarity and courage to make the right decisions and follow the best path for me.



Then you will know the truth,
and the truth shall set you free.


Quotes and Blog Inspiration from Andy Stanley's The Principle of the Path
Photo courtesy of yours truly
Lyrics from Ben Rector's Life Keeps Moving On

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