No Situation Is Void
Freedom is a hot button issue. History would be a very boring, and a short topic if it weren’t for all the skirmishes over personal freedom.
It’s universal. We all want freedom. When we have it we feel independent, unencumbered and unobstructed.
But is that really true?
Closely related to Freedom is Choice. If a person is free, the assumption is they make their own choices.
And that makes sense. Is a person really free if they don’t have choice and isn’t choice one evidence of freedom?
Freedom is the issue but choice is the mechanism.
Neither of these ideas comes without restrictions, though. Rules, conditions and limitations apply.
Choice Is Not Absolute
Making a choice isn’t like waving a magic wand. Wishing is very different to choosing.
You may wish to immediately remove all the bad in your life but you’ll need a very powerful genie to make that happen.
The changes that occur when we make choices are in us, not around us.
That means that your physical reality isn’t directly effected by choice, you are. Some aspects of reality can’t be changed (the law of gravity, the need for food) and those that can be will only be modified after you’ve made the right choice – you can’t choose a better job but you can choose to qualify.
Choice Is Always An Option
People always have choices. Always.
When people complain about not having choices it is usually because the choice they prefer is not an option. But choice is always possible even when options are few.
If I want more financial security I have three choices:
- I can reduce my standard of living in order to save more money. This choice involves money management not money making.
- If I’m unqualified, I can apply for a better paying or more suitable job for which no qualifications are required.
- I can work toward achieving professional status which will qualify me for a better paying job. This is a long term approach, one that requires a series of other considerations and choices.
Money management is necessary in all three cases and that requires a clear vision and strong will.
Choice may be limited but there are always options.
Choice Is Not Always Appropriate
The good thing about choice is we always have it. The bad thing is some options are helpful and some are hurtful. Unfortunately, the more immature don’t always see the difference.
Experience helps. Tripping and falling teaches us that the law of gravity is unflinching and caution is needed when navigating tricky terrain.
That’s why parents must limit the number of choices children are allowed until they are wise enough to make them constructively. Some bad choices leave scars for life.
Disclaimer: Everyone makes bad choices but some bad choices are worse than others. Some are recoverable, others not. Parents don’t limit their children to making only the right choices – the equivalent of making choices for them. Wise parents allow children to experience bad choices but only of the less damaging kind, like spending instead of saving their allowance.
Choice Can Reduce Freedom
You can choose to rob the local convenient shop but once you do, you’re freedom is restricted.
Getting caught means jail time. A big loss of freedom.
If you’re not caught you live in fear, a different kind of limitation.
Choice Can Be Paralyzing
The problem today is too many choices, not too few, but this phenomenon is more limiting than liberating.
Barry Schwartz, the author of The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less, shows that when employee retirement plans are increased to fifty, fewer participate than when only ten options were offered. Congestion of choice is paralyzing.
Choice Must Be Ratified By Action
Personal achievement is a choice and there are many areas of personal achievement to chose from. You may chose medicine, law, athletics, engineering or anything else your hear desires.
But the effect of choice is not immediate. Choosing to become a doctor is the same as choosing a course of action that extends over many years of hard work and study.
The one option you don’t have is effortless choice.
Choice Is Personally Limiting
Making one choice eliminates other possible choices from the list.
Choosing one course of action is choosing to avoid all others. Choosing to marry one person is choosing not to marry the others.
Choosing to become a lawyer means eliminating all other professional endeavors until you have qualified. It is the rare person who can qualify professionally in two academic fields simultaneously.
Choice Is Unavoidable
Choice is like breathing. It happens automatically when you close your eyes.
Not making a choice is a choice. It is choosing not to choose, which in turn is choosing to allow the circumstance or some other person to make the choice for you.
That will likely produce an unhappy outcome. Circumstance is an uncaring dictator.
It is better to deliberately choose the best of several options than allow someone else to choose for you.
Choice Is Never Made In Isolation
Every choice you make will effect many people.
Money management choices effect the material security of every family member. Time management choices effect their emotional security.
Getting married isn’t really a choice. People do this almost automatically.
But who you marry, when you marry and how prepared you are for marriage are issues that effect the state of every member in the family for years.
That doesn’t mean you must allow others to make choices for you. It does mean you should consider others when making your choices.
Only One Choice Is Self Executing
Believing in Jesus is final. Nothing needs follow. It’s a choice to trust, not be or do better.
Please do good things. Being a better person is a legitimate aim but understand that being better has no part in belief.