I was raised to worry. From my earliest days, there was pressure to “get it right.” To be perfect. Never to make a mistake.
Failure wasn’t an opportunity to learn and grow. Failure meant you had made the wrong choice. You had let down those around you and disappointed God. Pretty serious stuff for a seven-year-old.
After a lot of anxiety, not to mention medication for stomach acid, I’ve come to the realization that there are very few choices in my life that are right or wrong, black or white. There is only the opportunity to do my best with what I presently know and what I have to work with.
The choices I have made in life have often resulted in detours and paths that wandered down unexpected and sometimes unwelcomed roads. They weren’t always the most direct route. They resulted in a lot of experiences and relationships that didn’t seem relevant or even helpful at the time.
Were they the wrong choices?
I’m not so sure.
I married, and ultimately divorced, a man who resulted in a lot of emotional damage and years of therapy. But I got the most beautiful, caring, bright daughter as a result. And entering therapy has helped me grow in ways I might never have experienced. I have become braver than I thought possible and discovered I am more competent and capable on my own than I ever imagined I could be.
The choices I make in life rarely come with a clear-cut right or wrong label. I do the best I can with what I have at the time. And I pray. And I trust that somehow, God will both guide and use my choices to help me “fail a little better” each day.
I still worry. But I worry less about making the “right” choices in life. These days, I focus more on the choices that allow me to journey, at least for a time, on roads less traveled. I want my choices to create the opportunity to explore the byways that I might have overlooked or ignored by making the “right” choice.
It’s messy. It’s unconventional. It’s a philosophy that is counter to my upbringing. But it’s how I choose to live. And it’s a choice that offers more life than I would have imagined.