What a gift we were given at Creation! It follows us to the present day in each one of our lives. Each day each of us makes dozens and dozens of choices – many without thinking about them.
We love the freedom that choice brings and can be tenacious about anyone or anything that would try to take that freedom away from us. Too often we fail to consider the responsibility for the choices we make and that is truer when the choices seem small or inconsequential to us, but that is a blind spot if we take that route.
You see, our choices add up, even when they seem small or automatic.
“Life is about making good choices, Matt. One after another. They pile up day after day. It’s only when you look back that you can see what the choices led to. What you’re able to stand on.”From The Promises of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry
Think for a moment about the choices you have made so far today. Even when you thought you didn’t have a choice about a responsibility or something you were urged to do, you still did choose to either submit, obey, or reject or rebel.
As I write this and consider my own day today and how I am feeling, Chris Fabry’s wise words echo into my thoughts. I woke up today without a heavy agenda for the day and felt well rested for which I am grateful, but that relates to the choice I made last night about what time I went to bed, where my thoughts were focused when I went to bed, the temperature I set for the room I slept in, and on and on. Dozens of small choices set me up for a greater likelihood of a good night’s sleep. No, it wasn’t guaranteed, but those choices last night laid down the foundation for my day today.
And it didn’t stop there. I made a choice about how quickly I got out of bed (not something I do very well if I don’t have to), what I would wear for the day, what I would choose to do first, what I would eat and drink, whether or not I would get caught up in the headlines or let my mind, heart, and spirit not be distracted by things that could mire down my attitude for the day.
It’s all these little things that add up to whether I am and will be healthier physically, emotionally, relationally, mentally, and spiritually. It will impact if I recognize the warfare for its source and how I respond to it. It will affect whether I look more like Christ to those around me or more like everyone else out there.
The older we are, the more likely we are to recognize we wish we had made different/better choices long ago. Now we are reaping the results of the choices we made back then. We wish we had grown to like and choose better dietary things so we wouldn’t struggle with weight or various health problems that are catching up to us. We wish we had not just exercised when we were playing sports or doing fun things, but also when we weren’t so that our bodies were not weakening as fast or as much. Most of those choices seem to be little things. We may recognize something isn’t a good choice at the time, but so easily brush it aside.
Even looking at these things which don’t fall into the usual “sin realm” (things we could add), we have a choice again now. God knows the measure of our times and seasons, and I love the words J.R.R. Tolkien wrote for Gandalf in The Fellowship of the Ring – “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” That’s the key, isn’t it? What will we each decide to do with the time that is given to us? Each day we make choices/decisions propelling us to the tomorrow we don’t yet see.
“Will I dig in, making the most of what I have been given for however long I have been given it, or will I pull back, afraid to make promises that I simply can’t keep.”From The Sacred Echo by Margaret Feinberg
When I was working as a teacher I had a poster in my classroom that read: “We all make mistakes. That’s why God created erasers.”
Prayer is one of the keys to making better choices even though those little choices are not often specifically prayer targets. We can still submit our day to the Lord and ask Him to awaken us to the path He would choose for us and to empower us to make his best choice. He would not have us give up, give in, or choose to sit on the bench. He always wants us in the game, on the field, trusting and relying on Him, and beating back fear.
“For if we are going to live in God’s image, alive to all that is God, open to all he is doing, we must trust in his word, trust what we do not see. And if we are going to live in the world, attentive to each particularity, loving it through all the bad times without being repelled by it or afraid of it or conformed to it, we are going to have to face its immense evil, but know at the same time that it is a limited and controlled evil.”From Run With the Horses by Eugene Peterson
To do what Eugene Peterson lays out requires us to choose that path. We may list a great many things as reasons why we cannot trust and live as he writes, but that would also point to our failure to depend on Him to do in us what only He can do and allow Him to redeem the past as He did on the cross when we chose Him as a result of Him choosing us.
And Jeremiah would remind us what makes those choices each day possible:
“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)