A Note to my Incredibly Indecisive Self.
Someone recently handed me an ultimatum. They asked me to choose. In fact, they stated I had to choose, and they were right...
I've always thought of myself as fortunate because I've never experienced true heartbreak. I always try to play it safe because it makes life easier. Marriage? I keep my options open. Possible Career Path? Options open. I despise making decisions, yet growing entails accepting that we must choose sometimes, if not most of the time. You can’t have your cake and eat it…
I used to think that the best way to approach marriage (or any other thing in life) is to keep as many options open as possible. In some situations, I knew exactly who and what I wanted deep down, but I would make excuses. I would give reasons why I shouldn't be fixated on just one person. I would justify having numerous people around and sometimes even tampering with their feelings. It may have been the most convenient option for me seeing as it would (ideally) protect me from getting hurt, but was it right? Is it right? Is it really?
The dangers of playing it safe aren’t sudden, obvious, and dramatic. They develop slowly over time and are almost impossible to pinpoint. This fact often makes them more dangerous than the high-profile missteps we see and hear about often because, like a slow leak in a tire, you don’t see or feel these dangers on a daily basis. You become aware of them only when you realize that you’re stuck and you’re not really sure how it happened.
The truth is, as with everything else in life, we must actively choose. We can never completely trust any mortal to spare us from heart-break. Allah is the only One worthy of our complete and utter reliance. Choosing someone or something in the worldly sense does not imply that you are entirely fixated on them. It doesn't mean it'll be the end of the world if it does not work out. It has no negative connotation since you have Allah. It only means you’re brave and wise to a certain extent. Wise enough to realize that in order to move forward, a decision has to be made. Wise enough to realize that you can’t always remain in the safety of your bubble. Wise enough to realize that in order to live, (necessary) risks have to be taken. This is you demonstrating what it really means to tie your camel and leave everything else the hands of your Creator. Isn’t that the whole concept of having tawakkul? Isn’t that what it truly means to live, as a Muslim?
Who best to reference than the best of mankind? The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) consulted the Companions before the battles of Uhud & Badr:
(…and consult them in the affairs) (Quran 3: 159)
(…and who [conduct] their affairs by mutual consultation….)
(Qur'an 42: 38)
They voiced their opinions, a firm decision was made, and they then went forth to battle. Once a decision was made, the matter needed no more deliberation. Instead, determination, action, leadership, and bravery were required.
Always being hesitant is a defect in one's character and often leads to failure and confusion. Look at me, thinking I had mastered the concept of tawakkul when, in fact, I'd primarily been playing it safe. There are people like me who for years have been oscillating between decisions that should have been routine and easy.
We should study the practicability of our plans and ideas. Give ourselves time to think things through, seek counsel with experienced and wise people, and pray to Allah to guide us to the best between two or more choices. But in the end, we have to take action and we must not tarry or linger in making our decision.
We must also avoid what ifs and maybes since they are of the characteristics of the hypocrites.
Their favorite words are 'what if' or, 'would that we had done such and such' or, 'maybe' they are always wavering on unstable ground.
([They are] swaying between this and that, belonging neither to these nor to those…..) (Quran 4: 143)
As I like to phrase it, say and do (permissible) things with your chest. Last last, you will not die.
Conformity is safe, but it often comes at a high cost with suppressed creativity, lack of movement in life, and even missing out on incredible opportunities. Is that the best choice when it comes to creating a plan for your life? Ask yourself this, would you rather live or barely even exist?
High risk. High reward. They said.
O Allah, We seek Your guidance [in making a choice] by virtue of Your knowledge, and We seek ability by virtue of Your power, and We ask You of Your great bounty. You have power, We have none. And You know, We know not. You are the Knower of hidden things.