For Day 3 of Writing 101, we were asked to choose from a list of one-word prompts, and I chose the word, choice.
I remember an exchange with a colleague, sometime in 2006. We were talking about my “lack” of a boyfriend, to which I flippantly replied, “I don’t have any time for that!” His reply was something that stuck with me ever since:
“You make time.”
As time went on, I realized how much of a bearing that statement had — and is still having — in my life. I realized that I had a greater amount of control and power over my circumstances than I thought I had. Those three words had me realize that I am not just a passive participant in life, that I am not a victim of whatever life throws at me.
I have a choice, a God-given free will; and what I make of my time, is of my own choosing.
Today, a friend expressed her envy over my having time for writing. All I would like to say is that I make time for it; how can I not, if it brings me joy, if I can benefit from personal growth out of it? But I would like to elaborate further. After all, every one has 24 hours in a day — so how do I actually choose what to do with my time, how to determine a routine in a certain season? Here are a few guidelines I live by:
- Know yourself. I do not like using “follow your heart” because the heart is just an organ that serves to pump blood. What I mean here is to be aware of what you like, what you personally find beneficial, what you deem to be important and non-negotiable in your life. This means setting standards for yourself so you will not ever settle for less!
- Study. Spend time doing your research regarding the choices you are faced with. This deals with hard facts, and looking towards knowledgeable experts. For instance, if I need help choosing between two brands or two models of notebooks, I will consult with the product website and look for reliable reviews.
- Seek counsel. While there is a premium on the advice of elders (for good reason!), I have also found it worthwhile to consult with peers and those younger than I am. I benefit from a wide range of experience, and unique perspectives. I personally value the opinion of my family, and of my close and trusted friends.
- Pray. This is actually the first thing I do when faced with a decision to make, and anyone who is a person of faith can relate. If otherwise, this is the time when you meditate and just relax and not let the decision-making process get you down. On a personal level, and as a Christian woman, I seek the heart of God through studying scripture, and root my principles on His commandments.
The last bit may not be considered part of the choosing process, but I feel the need to add this, as it was something I used to struggle with, and that I am currently working on:
- Commit. While there are times in which our choices allow us to change our minds, we know that this is not always the case. Often, there are choices that require resilience, as they become a test of character. There will be times when you feel like giving up, or that you regret your decision, but we should recall as to why we made that choice in the first place (see item number 1).
What you do with your time is your choice. There is little room to question and to regret our decisions, but I would like to give you an encouragement: the final outcome of your choice does not matter as much as the process, in which you find yourself changed, and your character and heart strengthened.
So go make your own choices, make the best of your time, and move forward into your personal journey!