All we wanted was some dinner.

 

Jenna’s parents, Jenna, and myself were in the middle of a crowded bus terminal in Bangkok and there weren’t many options for us, even for me, someone who had started to take on the position of food dump truck previously occupied by my dad. So we hailed a taxi using an American “come here” gesture except with the fingers pointed downward.

I did my best to tell the driver we wanted food and something close to the terminal. The cabbie had other thoughts, at least on the close aspect. Our driver decided to bring us across town 20 minutes away to receive triple the fare than what he might have earned in order to bring us to his recommended place for us to eat.  

When we were finally able to get out, all of us knew without a doubt that the recommended restaurant was not the right place for us to eat. The surroundings did not seem safe and who knows if there was some sort of hidden motive for why the taxi brought us there. I certainly think Thailand is a safe and welcoming place, and there could have been nothing wrong with that particular restaurant or the neighborhood, but for us in that moment, it didn’t seem right.  

 

So what did we do?

 

We found another restaurant. It was an easy decision for us to make. When I started thinking about it, though, I wondered what makes a decision seem simple in the first place.  

For me, any decision can be challenging, but when faced with decisions that aren’t moral rights and wrongs, it can be downright hard to decide what to do. There just isn’t one seemingly right answer. Consider the adventure that Jenna and I are taking. There are so many amazing opportunities and possibilities.  

On the surface, most options seem to fall in categories between “that could work” and “that would be awesome” with some exceptions such as touring a North Korean missile launch. How about exploring Myanmar and the temples in Bagan? That sounds amazing. How about trekking in Nepal across the Himalayan mountains? That could be incredible. What about serving the poor in Kolkata? That could be life changing! Who’s to say which experience is absolutely better for a particular person.  

 

Life is full of those small and big decisions without being definitely wrong or right;

 

yet, there is a definite journey that we are supposed to be on. There is something specific just to you that you are supposed to accomplish. There is a best path for you.  So again, how do you know this mysterious path?

joesquoteI certainly don’t know my path nor do I know how to tell you yours, but this morning I woke up and I just knew things were right. I knew Jenna and I were where we needed to be as we held hands journeying to church. I have no idea what is next for us after our immediate adventure or what the future holds in all its years.  

There are so many aspects to my life which seem uncertain. In spite of that uncertainty, when I took the time to listen, I could at least figure out whether what I was doing at this moment was right or wrong for me.  

Unfortunately, there are lots of reasons why you and I might not be able get to that place of decisiveness. We can get overwhelmed and tangled with all the options, variables, and “what ifs.”

 

 

We let others’ opinions sway us from what we know is right. We let doubt in, allowing it to accumulate and fog our minds. We might be so worried about what did or didn’t happen to us or what will or won’t happen to us that we completely forget about what IS happening to us in the very moment. Whatever the reasons, if we are ever going to make a decision, we first need to clear all that away so that we can listen.

 

I believe God is all over the place in people’s actions and words, in nature, and in so much more.

 

He speaks to us all in our lives in so many ways, helping us at every turn. Clues are all around us to help us make our decisions. Sometimes all we need to do is clear away all that junk, and we might find the answer has been right in front of us.

What an amazing gift that is, to know or feel that we are where we are supposed to be. That could come as an overwhelming joy such as when you know you want to be with your partner for the rest of your life or it may be a subtle peace or calm like I had this morning. You also might have a realization that you are doing something that needs to be corrected or changed. No matter what you realize, though, it’s a blessing because it gets you closer to your calling. It’s something you can use when piecing together your next steps on your journey in life.  

We have to listen to what is around us and listen to what is inside each of ourselves. We just have to make sure we take time to listen, otherwise how the heck are we ever going to know? I am clearly still learning that skill and certainly haven’t always made the right decisions, but for this moment, I am supposed to be with my wife in Chiang Mai, in Thailand.  

What is your innermost self telling you? Are you right where you need to be today or is some course correction due?

Thank you for reading!

We’d love to hear your comments on Joe’s first article.

 

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