Photo by Charity Banks.

By Kristen Banks

Decisions, decisions, so many decisions… Should I use a solid white background or one with a small floral print? What if I do the applique by machine instead of by hand? Would it be better to use pins or spray adhesive to baste my quilt? Do I want to quilt this quilt with swirls or a star pattern?

For every quilt I make, there are dozens of decisions that must be made as well. And whether quilting or otherwise, there isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t have to contemplate hundreds of different choices.

Sometimes I know exactly what I want to do, and have no problem choosing a direction. And other times it’s a little bit harder to decide. Either way I am always keenly aware that every choice I make has a consequence that I must be prepared to live with.

One of the best things my parents ever taught me was how to make good decisions. And one of the best ways they taught me how to do that was by teaching me to take responsibility for the bad one’s that I made.

When I was in school my parents told me I could do whatever I wanted to do as far as sports or electives were concerned under one condition: I was not allowed to quit. For instance, if I committed to play a sport, I would play that sport the entire year, and not let my teammates down. If I decided I no longer wanted to play after the year was over, that was fine. I didn’t have to sign up again the next year, but I was not allowed to give up mid-season.

I put my parents to the test on this rule my sophomore year when I wanted to quit the basketball team. I had played basketball for years and had planned to play my entire high school career, but I had recently moved to a new school and after several weeks of being scared, intimidated, and way behind the other girls in learning new plays that were unfamiliar to me, one day I begged my dad in tears not to make me go to practice. He quite lovingly but firmly said, “No,” and drove me to practice himself anyway. He later said it was one of the hardest things he ever had to do.

I stayed and participated, to the best of my abilities, that whole practice and my entire sophomore year on the basketball team, and it was a total misery to me every day. I didn’t sign up the next year, and that was the end of my high school basketball career. Now it may sound like I totally failed, didn’t take anything good from that experience, or that my parents were too harsh by making me stick with it that year. But I actually came away with something way more important than a high school basketball career. Because of that experience I gained character, and I learned some really valuable lessons that year that would benefit me for my entire life.

For one, I learned to be a lot more careful and responsible when making a commitment to begin with. And two, I learned that some decisions can’t be reversed just because you have second thoughts. Some choices you may just have to endure and live with. Third, and most importantly, I learned that your life isn’t over just because you made a bad choice. The next year I went on to join the DECA chapter, had a blast, made a lot of new friends, and learned a lot of things about business that I still use to this day.

So, the next time you’re agonizing over whether to pick yellow polka dots or pink checks for your quilt border just realize, it’s going to be ok whatever you decide. True, you may pick the checks and about five minutes after its finished and quilted wished that you had chosen the dots instead. But hey, you know what? The worst thing that is going to happen is that you’re going to have a beautiful pink check quilt instead of a pretty yellow dot quilt, and you can pick dots for the next quilt or something else entirely for that matter if you want to. It isn’t the end of the world, and while you can’t change that one quilt, at least now you know you’re just not a “check kinda gal”, and you will be more equipped to make a better choice that fits your style the next time.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that when you fail at plan A, all you’re left with is plan B. But, I once heard a pastor say that when you fail at plan A, God doesn’t give you a plan B, he gives you another plan A. And I believe that’s true. Just because things don’t turn out the way you hoped for or expected them to, doesn’t mean that they won’t turn out great in the end. When things get hard you can choose to get discouraged and quit, or you can endure the hardship, and benefit from your perseverance and the character that it builds in your life.

True, where you’re headed now might not be where you end up. And who you are today may be different than who you become tomorrow, but if you trust an unknown future to a known God, and make a commitment to follow where He leads no matter what, you will never make the wrong choice, and a change for Him will always be a change for the better.

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