So, I was once told, “no matter what anyone says or does, you have the ultimate power”. Implying, I had the power of choice, either right or wrong, I was the captain of my ship. Sometimes, no matter how carefully we choose, the results we are faced with are nothing we could have imagined and presents us with new paradigms every day. Though, this is what I would call outlier theory, and one which shouldn’t be presented as a mainstream ideology of thought. Instead, for the vast majority of people, we make good decisions and we are greeted with good results. Thus, the opposite is true for any poor decisions we happen to embark on. I personally see good and bad decisions made by people on a person level extending all the way to an international level. I know I can never be the voice of reason to many of the people I see as they are on their journey of decision making (i.e. life), but objectively I can rightly anticipate their result based on their decisions. In our current global climate, I think we are bombarded with people who make decisions, ranging from bad to worse, and we are foolishly led to believe this is the way of the world now. However, if we all sit back and think about our lives and the people who touch our lives, I think we can envision many people who consistently make good decisions and by their own actions will us to make good decisions as well.
Perception of personal choice is one of tremendous power, but as is quoted often, “with great power comes great responsibility” (Voltaire), and this power is sometimes obvious to each and every one of us. Though, for most of us, responsibility is made aware by exposition of choice. When our choices become clear to us, in a causative based relationship, we can see the benefit or lack thereof presented to us. We can see how our personal choices affect us and the people around us. However, when we make choices, and we are not aware or are not permitted to know the effects, we perceive a lack of power within our own choice ability. We don’t perceive our choices to have any effect whatsoever, and we behave accordingly. For instance, if buying gas for one’s vehicle were a matter of life or death, and we were aware of this fact, is it possible we would be more sparing about how we used it or at least why we used it. This is more to the point of my topic in this essay; our perception of responsibility within choice, is as important as anything we could possibly do. To consider anything less would be letting ourselves down and those who are directly related to us through contact and familial relation.
The phrase, “the devil is in the details” has never been truer than in my life and the decisions I’ve made. I’ve looked past events which I should have made my focus, and I focused on decisions which had no more profound implication in my life than to acknowledge a necessity for moving forward as a matter of course. My wife, for sure, is brilliant with the details, she pours over decisions. Focusing on the details and covering ever angle to make sure she is covered in her process of choice, and the result is a woman who, short in stature, is as powerful a woman as I have ever met. She knows she will not always make the right decision, but because of her ability to size up a situation, I rely on her opinion daily as it relates to me. I can dress myself, and even though my kids think I dress like a dad, I can mix and match properly and blend in with the crowd. Though, I ask my wife her opinion and I’ve never been disappointed by her choice. I know the use of this example seems perfunctory towards the larger goal of my topic, but run with me for a second and you will see my point.
As dressing seems like something we do always, and a matter of dressing is up to the person, their body style, and the budget, we can’t be too critical of how people dress. Though, if we imagine a person as a capable individual, we see a power of perception in the details of their lives on display for each and every one of us. When we see someone disheveled as a matter of daily habit, we may intuit their inability to make good choices, and we are affected by this. My wife’s ability to focus, with appropriate measure, gives an understanding to some that although I didn’t make the choice to wear what I have on, I was at least smart enough to trust the person who would make the choice. Ok, now, we are getting to the meat of the matter. Choice matters, either by our own hand or by another, and in this ability to choice we are faced with understand perception of power or eventual realized power. In any context, and ability for choice constitutes power, and any country which resolutely puts the choice in the hands of the people, gains immeasurable power.
Today, I was reading a good deal of op-ed pieces focused on two sides of immigration debates, and some articles were focused on the ever-increasing push for a secular world view. All of these articles create a landscape of dotted morals and ever-changing rules as we understand them. From the diminishment of life either in abortions or euthanasia, to the bravado exclaimed by a society which is bent on shooting as a means to an end, and finally cultural view of materialism the likes of which the world has never seen. Nothing about what I read or was subject to was indicative of a society which bows in reverence to the Almighty God, nothing about what I was exposed to lovingly attached itself to where I was at to indicate there is something beautiful upon the horizon of our lives. Instead, I was introduced to hate, lies, skepticism, posturing, and rampant desire. I will admit, I was a little put back and could only shake my head for a second, before I realized none of what I was looking at was the truth. None of what I was reading encapsulated what I know to be a real labor of perception in choice and power. Instead, I was exposed to maligned theories of those who have yet to realize their own powers of choice. The truth was, and has always been, we possess the ultimate power of choice. We can never truly say any one person made us do anything we didn’t want to do. If we did or do anything which carries a negative impact in our lives it was always our choice, we weighed the options and in doing so created a culpability of conscience and consequence. We have the ultimate power, either do or don’t do, but at any rate we must accept the responsibility of so much power.
I’m sure I could jump on the band wagon of cultural criticism, and I probably have at one point or another, but in this specific instance of responsibility, I would encourage everyone to create an atmosphere within their own control of proper choice. Don’t blame the person next to you, men don’t blame your wives, if she is doing something you don’t like, you have a choice to communicate with her your disdain. Now, I know that may be a loaded statement for some out there, but it must be done if there is ever to be an expectation of an equal yoking between spouses. She must be able to hear and appropriate a proper response to you and likewise, we men should be accepting of the reciprocal action. There must a desire to affect a proper change through proper distribution of behavior and perceptions. This tends to break down, as I’ve seen in the past, when one or the other party in a relationship (either marriage or dating) doesn’t pull their weight. It creates frustration and an anguished feeling of despair for the other leading to regret and poor decisions. Then the blame game begins, and the spiral downward to an inevitable crash seemingly occurs. Though, this can and should be prevented by both parties in the relationship. The popular or contextually unpopular Bible verse (Eph 5:21-29) indicates when read fully, a subordinate attitude or choice, out of our reverence to Christ. Most modern day feminists or even an atheist attempting to make their point, will illuminate only certain points of this passage to assuage a fear in those who fail to recognize the potential in their choices, and at the same time bolstering the dominance some seek to over-wield a perceived power. Neither is acceptable without the balance God brings to our lives.
Men, this is where we are at in our lives in a culture which seeks to rip apart those natural abilities we all possess as outdated idioms relegated to a time and place which no longer will accept wisdom from the past. A culture which takes the stance, presumably from those portions of the societies we live in, which desires equality of outcome based on a subjective reality. So, what is your personal choice? Where do you go when everyone blames you for the failure which will inevitably befall everyone who fails to recognize the power they possess in every decision they make? God! God is your answer to all things. This may seem simple to some and complex for others, but I assure you, God is the focal point for our decisions. Let me give you an example. The other morning, while driving in what seemed to be more traffic than normal for this particular time of the day, I was cut off by a driver who was obviously in a hurry. Perhaps they were late to work, or maybe worse, they enjoy driving fast and don’t care too much of anyone else on the road. They know if they cut off another vehicle, the vehicle my honk their horn, but will eventually slow down and allow a right-of-way to be accessed. This indeed was the case with me, I yelled a vitriolic rant of disapproval, honked and in a matter of minutes the car was nowhere to be seen. I made a choice to denigrate the very decision capability I possess to allay a need for anger. My perception of this driver was poorly crafted and in my lack of concern for this person, I was willing to stain my own soul in a sinful diatribe only to regret my decision later. I would imagine many of us are like this, in a split second, anger takes over and creates regrettable moments as if we never learned from our previous mistakes. Our ability to make good choices, has become reflexive as a matter of course, we just exude anger because we can. However, the reverse also creates in us a measure of squeamish subordination, especially when it relates to others as they view our actions. If I were to repeat the situation, but now with an audience, I most assuredly would never have said what I did. I would have received looks of disapproval and even words of discouragement of my behavior. We are two different people, one of truthful maligned anger when no one sees us at our worst, and acceptable members of a relationship when on display.
This is where my choices derided me in the past, my duplicity was never in check, except by my perception of the situation I found myself in. I was unable to make competent choices as a matter of principle because I was always trying to control the situation and out think whatever was going to occur. Well, I’m not that smart, and many things blew up in my face, most importantly my marriage became uneven, and it was all my decision. This has taken me years to acknowledge, my decisions were ruining my marriage, my relationships in my family, and they were taking their toll on me. I was drowning in a complex web of lies and manipulations, all the while creating a perception of control which never existed. The inexplicable answer to the whole situation was to tear everything down, and build it properly this time. Everything began with an understanding of how my decisions impacted my life, and how much control or power was to be realized.
I am part introvert and part extrovert, if this is even possible. I can talk to everyone and for as long as they can handle my conversation, but at other times, I can’t stand being in large crowds, it feels like the walls are closing in. Likewise, I can be a leader and control any situation I see fit, though I find most of my comfort in situations where I’m happy to take direction and seek to please whomever I am in contact with. I find joy in the subordinate quality of principled behavior to glorify God. Nothing else comes close, nothing I’ve ever attained in my life creates a situation where I can almost smile in the face of defeat as does the joy of knowing God. This is where my decision patterns have developed over the last few decades. Everything I do, is for the greater glory, I don’t always achieve what I want to do, and like my example with the impatient driver, I am brought to repentance as a matter of course in my decision to seek God. This is where we are at, our personal choices must start from a foundational understanding of who we are and where we desire to be. There is only one decision which will create a fulfilling effect in our lives though, and this fulfillment creates an understanding of the true power we possess. This power is the strength to withstand those storms, as we see them enter our lives, it allows us to recognize the vitriol and fear mongering our culture is addicted to and desires. Our responsibility is one of humility and recognition, we must understand how the foundation of choice and responsibility is set in our lives if we are ever to build upon it. I can’t imagine a world which doesn’t have some strife, there are always people who want to pursue choice abilities in order to control the perceived weak. However, perception is the most powerful tool we can possess. Jesus, was perceived as being little more than being a common man, poor, unworthy of exaltation by any authority. When the fruition of His earthly life came to actuality, he was nailed to a tree after being beaten and scourged. Nowhere, and at no time, was there a reminiscent or abject stance of dominance to be seen. Instead, with more love than we can possibly imagine, he stood there, not in a stance of cowering, but one of resistant love, and accepted what was to come. His choice, to love those who condemned him became a symbol to each and every one of us. Our choice first and foremost, must be a choice of love.
As husbands, we must be willing to openly let God into our lives through our choices, especially those choices we make as we are yoked evenly with our spouses. As fathers, we lift up our children, not by giving them what they want in order to appease them, but by deciding what we know to be the best decisions for them, until the day and time they must make their own. Our example of a loving decision maker is paramount to reflecting the light of Christ in their lives. This is our power in choice and responsibility, the long game as it were, we may never see the benefits of our choices reflected back to us. It is in this we must always look to God and trust the path he carries us down. May God bless you and your family!!!
God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!