by BCBP Editor

By Nancy R. Catan, BCBP Manila

We are faced with innumerable choices every moment of every day, aren’t we? Merienda in Jollibee or McDo: at least seven questions are asked before your order is finalized. Coffee at Starbucks or any other coffee shop: with or without cream, with or without sugar, choose from 6 to 10 different coffee blends, with or without whipped cream, etc. etc. etc.

Even just waking up in the morning: shall I exercise this morning or this afternoon, what shall I wear, what kind of shoes go with my outfit, what shall I prepare for breakfast, what do the kids want for baon, etc. etc. etc. And the choices continue throughout the day … throughout our life.

Sometimes I get so sick of making choices. I long for the simpler life I had when growing up with my parents making the major decisions for me. But they also trained me to make decisions on my own, too, so that I would be able to cope with my later life and to make the right decisions.

We all have the God-given freedom to choose. But this freedom is not the right to do what we want, when we want, how we want. It is not the right to say and do anything we want. God has given us an authentic freedom that asks us to choose to do the good and to share this good with others. It is a shared freedom. It is the freedom to grow in a love that brings us closer to Goodness, the goodness of God.
Our fundamental freedom is to be either for God or away from God. The second level of freedom is the freedom of choosing whether to be good or not good, to choose do to what is right or to do what is wrong … in the eyes of God, not in our own eyes, nor in the eyes of the world.

Life can be quite simple. We are the ones who complicate it by allowing ourselves to be distracted by so many daily choices, wants, and unattainable desires, by allowing ourselves to become attached to things that shift our focus from God Who should be the Center and Reason for our lives. Our lives can be complicated by surrounding ourselves with things we don’t really want or need.

I have found that the simple act of cleaning up some of the clutter in my closets at home, throwing away the old things, and boxing up other usable items to give to those who need them more than I do makes me feel better and my heart becomes lighter. Early mornings I enjoy sitting quietly for a few moments on our upstairs balcony and watching the birds joyfully singing and I remember Jesus’ teachings in Matthew 6 about the birds of the air, how God cares for their every need. At the office I always work better if the top of my desk is clear of the endless papers and file folders that seem to multiply themselves throughout the day.
choice happiness
Simplifying our choices always results in simplifying our life. The simpler I live, the happier and more contented I am. And … the more free I am to enjoy being me!

In my notebook I keep a quotation from Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of one of the USA presidents. She said, “One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words, it is expressed in the choices one makes. In the long run, we shape our lives and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”

This profound statement serves to remind me that I am responsible for the choices I make, that I should never blame another person when the choice I have made results in something bad. I have decided many years ago to be more aware of the choices I make and, as much as possible, to choose the good.

Will my choice produce good results or not? Will my choice help me simplify my life or lead to more attachments and complications? Will my choice not only make me happier but will others be happier, too?

I pray daily that the choices I will make during the day will please God, lighten my heart, and help others lighten their hearts, too.

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