The choices that we make in life alter the course of our lives. Sure, there are the mundane little choices we make every day. They don’t seem to cause much of a ripple overall, but it’s important to be aware of all the choices that we’re making and to consider the consequences that these actions or inactions make. Some decisions are hard to make. Other choices are made without even thinking twice.
One of the authors that I’ve liked for many years is John Maxwell, he makes a simple statement – “Life is a matter of choices,” he said, “and every choice you make makes you”.
Now think about that for a moment. The research shows that the more options we’re given, the more difficult it becomes to make a choice, like shopping at the supermarket. Simple example. What brand do I buy? There are so many brands to choose from. Years ago, we didn’t have so many varieties of products. The highly respected psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler Ross said, “I believe that we are solely responsible for our choices, and we have to accept the consequences of every deed, thought, word throughout our lifetime.”
So I guess we need to stop this blame game, blaming others. It’s so easy. Your life really is about you, and you need to take full responsibility for your life, not blame your family or other people. Maybe you grew up with your mother giving you a three-word piece of advice. ‘Make good choices.’ So let’s just think about this for a moment. How do I make good choices in and for my life?
When you make good choices, you reap rewards that last far beyond the present moment. You feel empowered and content when you make choices that are aligned with the type of person you desire to become. And I guess you want to be a good and worthwhile person. Making a bad decision can have unfortunate results, like marrying the wrong person or leaving school too early. Any time the word bad is in front of the word decision, you can anticipate that you’re going to end up feeling bad. No one enjoys going through life with a sense of regret and guilt, but it’s interesting, I think, to note that many of us do who have trouble making choices. Why? Because we demand options. And even then, it’s difficult to make a decision because of the choices. Don’t become like Robert De Niro’s character. He was in the 1995 movie Heat, a man who vows never to get involved in anything that he can’t walk away from in 30 seconds.
Life’s a bit more complex than that. Making decisions can be difficult. For example, during World War two, Winston Churchill was forced to make a painful choice. The British Secret Service had broken the Nazi code and informed Churchill the Germans were going to bomb Coventry, so he had two alternatives. One, evacuate the citizens and save hundreds of lives at the expense of indicating to the Germans that the code was broken or to take no action, which would kill hundreds but keep the information flowing and possibly save many more lives. Churchill had to choose, and he chose the second course. Was that a good choice? Maybe we’ll never know.
The author Jennifer Winquist says. We make choices based on what feels best, what’s easiest and fastest, what makes our kids happy, what stops our problem for the moment. We buy instead of saving, we eat a bag of chips instead of a bag of carrots. We don’t plan to fail, but unless we plan to win by making wise choices, we can end up getting the short end of the stick. Wise choices are not usually quick fixes, selfish or short term. They involve planning, hard work, resilience and sacrifice. But she says the rewards are huge.
Yes, the world spends billions of dollars seeking wisdom. But as God’s Children, we have the wisdom of the Creator of the universe at our disposal, because we can ask Him for wisdom, seek His guidance and wait for the answer. When you develop the patience and maturity to make the wise choice instead of an easy one, you never have to live in fear of the outcome. You’ve done all that you can possibly do by seeking God’s answer. The Bible gives us some excellent advice in making decisions.
Proverbs 3:6 says “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” Ask God for guidance in understanding His word and how you can glorify God in that decision.
Heavenly Father, your word tells me that if I lack wisdom, you will give it to me if I ask. Today I am asking for wisdom to make good choices and decisions. Clarify my thinking to be guided and sharp. Amen.