How to Decide Which Way to Go

by Ashley on May 20, 2012

I am approaching a fork in the road.

Because I tend to be a control freak, I like to consider where each path will lead me before making a decision. And because my deliberation can border on obsession at times, I debated pros and cons with a friend.

My friend’s advice: “You need to think about what you really want. What makes you happy? Do that. It might take time. It might take sacrifice. But you’ll get there.”

I have smart friends.

My problem (one of oh so many) is that I get distracted and forget to pursue what’s really important. I focus on escaping short-term irritations or chasing short-lived pleasures and forget about what I really want to achieve.

My friend is right. It takes courage, but my patience and endurance will pay off if I’m able to reach my long-term goals.

This isn’t just about “sticking it out,” though. This is about deciding – in advance – what I really want and chasing that with every ounce of energy I possess.

In my Christian walk, I frequently lose sight of the goal. I try to focus, but I get distracted. By greed. By desires. By pride. By things that make me happy in the moment.

Whatever satisfaction I receive by chasing or achieving these things is gone almost instantly. Then I have to chase them again. And again the satisfaction is lost. So I chase again. It’s a nasty cycle.

And if you’ve ever studied economics, you’ll know about this pesky thing called the Law of Diminishing Returns.

Without boring you with my limited knowledge of economics (I did get an A in college though!   /brag), here’s a quick review: Say you’re eating a Hershey Kiss. It is deliciously delicious as it melts on your tongue. (I never chew them – it’s a waste of chocolatey-flavored heaven.)

So you eat your Hershey Kiss and it was so tasty that you eat another one.

And another. And another.

You eat until most of the bag is gone, everything is smeared with chocolate and your pile of balled-up silver wrappers could possibly be mistaken for a miniature Egyptian pyramid. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

Here we understand the Law of Diminishing Returns. The first Kiss was awesome. The second was awesome minus 1. The third was awesome minus 2, and so forth. At some point, the decline is so steep that it’s just easier to reverse it – gross plus 1, gross plus 2 – until we get to the point where you’re (I’m) sick to your (my) stomach and you (I) don’t want to see another Kiss for at least 24 hours. Maybe even 36.

I’m sure there’s an algebraic equation to determine when the Kisses start to be gross rather than awesome – must be what our teachers meant when they said math was relevant in real life.


Like those Kisses that grow increasingly unpleasant as you make your way through the bag, short-term pleasures work much the same way. When you satisfy an urge, you want more of that satisfaction. But the next time, it’s not quite as good, so it takes more of whatever it is to satisfy the craving. Eventually you’re so engulfed in whatever it is, you forget that there was something else you meant to pursue. The thing you chased was just a lot easier to attain in the short term.

So instead of chasing what is easy or running from what is not, I want to work on being courageous enough to pursue what will make me truly happy and completely, eternally satisfied.

Let’s not give up our dreams for a minute of fleeting happiness – or worse, only a second of relief. Enduring just a moment longer could mean the difference between basking in a dream come true and spending a life chasing nothing at all.

“I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:14

What joys have you missed because you focused on the short term?



Hi Ashley,

I love the part about algebra formulas to calculate when you’ve had enough. I am sure that is what my 7th grade Algebra teacher had in mind.

Unfortunately, I can so relate to eating another and another yummy little chocolate. I’ll bet there are some readers who read that and thought, “why would you keep eating them?” Cuz they are so little and creamy and… yeah, too much.


by Terri on May 21, 2012 at 11:11 am. Reply #

I used to make myself sick on them. When I was younger, I could actually eat the whole bag, no problem. Now, I can have only a handful before they start getting gross. I don’t know why I keep eating them though. No logical explanation there 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

by Ashley on May 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm. Reply #

‘food for thought’ …heehee …
Seriously, you are wise and this blog was what I needed to read just now! <3

by Sandy on June 5, 2012 at 12:59 pm. Reply #

Wise, well, I don’t know about that, but God does inspire me 🙂 I’m glad this was meaningful for you! Love you!!

by Ashley on June 6, 2012 at 9:33 pm. Reply #

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