Rick, you are not dumb for asking such questions at all.
Yes, it is a most precious truth that our God has elected his own unto salvation from before the foundations of the world; and this truth brings great comfort to those who believe and cling to Christ. But God's choosing is an internal act of his which is hidden from us: we do not know God's hidden decree, and we cannot know it. And so, so long as we are outside of Christ, we cannot speculate, "Am I elect or not?" But while we cannot know God's hidden decree, we *can* know what he has revealed: and that is that he has sent his Son into the world for our salvation, and that all who hear the gospel are commanded to repent and believe. *This* is what we base our lives and actions on; not on something hidden in God which we cannot know. We know that God is faithful and will not turn away any who come to Christ by him; and when we cling to Christ by faith and see our salvation and interest in him, then we, too, can rest assured of our eternal election. So if you want to be confident of your election, follow after Christ and be assured of your interest in him, and then you will see in him the image of your election, so to speak, and will take great comfort therein and be strengthened thereby.
God works out his decrees, such as his election, through means. When you feel these burning questions within you, and when you feel such a strong desire to make sure that you belong to Christ, recognize the motions of the Holy Spirit working within you, and endeavor to be sure that this "smoking flax" will not be quenched, but fanned into flame. Thank God for his goodness in the work which he has done in you and implore him to increase it; attend the public preaching of Christ and his ordinances of worship; endeavor to follow after God in private prayer and praise, in mediation on his word. Follow after God in these things wherein he has promised his presence, desiring to come to an assurance of your interest in Christ. Knowing that God's Spirit works life and grace in his people, take comfort when you see signs of spiritual life in yourself: do not rest in these as the ground of your salvation, for that is Christ's work alone -- but part of what he is working in you is this life, so take comfort when you see these signs and let them spur you on. This is how you can be assured of your election.
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