Don’t we always know the “right thing” to do? Then what is all fuss about? All the anxiety in making the tough decisions that guide our life. After all, there are really only two choices: the Right Thing and the Wrong Thing, ... RIGHT?
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King
If you are like me, my anxiety seems to come from my stubbornness to do things my way. Hours, days, months, and even years of disagreeing with that voice inside me that tells me the Right Thing to do. Once I know the Right Thing to do, the “yea but’s” start. …
… “Yea but, if I do that, it will hurt.”, “Yea but, if I do that, they won’t like me.” Yea but, I don’t have the ability to do that.”, and so on.
In my recovery from alcohol and opioids I learned a life lesson that has cleared most of my anxiety out of my life. I say most, because I am human, and anxiety seems to come with the job.
In my case, dependency on alcohol and drugs was a way to numb the anxiety of not knowing what to do. Like all addictions, my dependencies on substances became the fuel for my anxiety. Of course, if anyone asked, I had no worries and I wasn’t addicted to anything. Still, the more I worried, the more I used. Eventually, the addictions took over and I was powerless to stop.
Once I gave my worries (and addictions) to Christ Jesus, He pulled me out of my anxiety and dependencies, and He filled me with the hope that only comes from God, the hope that things didn’t need to be as they were but could be better. The day I began to turn to God instead my thoughts, admitting my helplessness, was the beginning of sanity for me.
In the beginning of my recovery, someone explained that it is our choices that define us. It’s not what we know, how much money we have or what car we drive. When others see us, they see our choices, our life is a painting of the choices that we make.
Thinking about choices always makes me remember those cartoons with an Angel on one shoulder and the Devil on the other; both whispering in the person’s ears trying to sway them to do right or wrong.
Do they whisper in your ears?
It was in my recovery that I learned that the voices weren’t on my shoulders, but that they were inside me. A friend of mine called it the “eighteen-inch war”, or the battle between my head and my heart.
Once I realized that it was my brain causing the worry and not some outside force, it changed my battle strategy. Instead of the never-ending cycles of agonizing about what to do and all the potential consequences, I began to ask myself that simple question, “What’s the Right Thing to do?” Surprisingly, I usually knew the Right Thing in my heart. So much comfort comes from that quick choice to do what I know is right, instead of all the misery that comes from my brain working to talk me out of doing what I know is best.
Sure, doing the Right Thing can cause pain. God never told us there wouldn’t be pain, but He does promise to carry us through the darkness, and He will give us what we need to persevere.
In my experience, when I give in and do what I know is wrong, it never turns out well. Talk about pain. Still, even in our selfish desires to do what we want to do, instead of doing the Right Thing we are covered in the grace of God. So many people have asked me, “Doesn’t God punish us for choosing the Wrong Thing”? No, God loves us like a father loves His child and He wants only what’s best for us. My wife Kayleen has always said, “God doesn’t punish us for our sins, our sins are our punishment.” For me, the toughest times of my life were the result of my bad decisions.
The good news is, … God was always there, holding me and giving me strength to persevere!
“Character is the decisions a person makes
when the choice is not obvious.”
It’s Your Choice!
When you turn to the right or turn to the left,
you will hear his voice behind you to guide you, saying,
“This is the right path; follow it.”
- Isaiah 30:21 TPT
Above All else …