How To Make Better Choices
“Many of our troubles occur because we base our choices on unreliable authorities; culture ("everyone is doing it"), tradition ("we've always done it"), reason ("it seems logical"), or emotion ("it just felt right").”
Rick Warren –
Throughout life’s journey, we have the privilege to make choices. Adults make choices, and children make choices. The ability to choose is part of the freedom that exists within man’s will. God expects mankind to be responsible beings who have been given free will to make decisions.
Sometimes, we make poor choices that lead to consequences we must deal with for the rest of our lives. In fact, some of my personal decisions fall into this category. One of the giant misguided choices made by humans is found at the beginning of the Bible. The first man and woman opted to do exactly what they were told not to do. This reckless disobedience forever changed life for them. Only Divine intervention could cover this disastrous act.
And then there’s Abram’s decision to please Sarai and stop her complaining about being barren. This is one of the trademarks of poor choices. She foolishly gave her maid, Hagar, to Abram. He foolishly accepted. Hagar became pregnant and had a son. Sarah, at ninety-years-old, later became pregnant and gave birth to Isaac. He was the son proclaimed by God as the “heir of promise.” (Genesis 16:1-5,15;17:15) Today, the nation of Israel continues to deal with the consequences of the interference of Abraham and Sarah. Thankfully, we can rest assured, the Divine plan will prevail.
With choices come the words yes and no. It is not always easy to say no. Saying yes may feel more comfortable when either facing or avoiding certain sensitive situations or circumstances. We can choose freedom and say no to avoid or resist a negative situation, or we can dive headlong into it and crash and burn.
One of the key choices is how to maintain our physical, spiritual, and emotional health in handling sadness or depression. They often have the potential to show up after certain situations, e.g., broken relationships (including divorce), loss of a friend, relative or spouse, business failures, etc.; the list is endless.
Depression can be like a giant boulder standing in the way of our healing and ability to move forward. In some cases, it may even feel good to wallow in the misery of depression and give ourselves permission to be irritated about what happened to us and what particles of darkness are around us. We express our opinions, murmur, and complain. There is also the tendency to step on an emotional landmine when we compare ourselves to others and focus on what they have. Choosing to think of muddy circumstances as chocolate, reminiscent of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, is bound to make us laugh.
Key point: Each one of us is a “work in progress.” Unlike a construction project with a firm completion date, the work in us continues throughout our lifetime. Each day is new, and who we were yesterday is not necessarily who we are today. Every choice we make, whether correct or incorrect, equals the opportunity to learn and grow into who God intended us to be. The temptation to resist Divine will and push fast forward because we think He’s not moving quickly enough makes our will the primary goal, depriving us of completeness.
Religious acts or good works are considered worthwhile, but they will not make us complete. The need for money is a reality, but neither will it make us complete. Success, cosmetic enhancements, other people or things, may leave us with a “feel-good moment,” but they won’t make us whole. Focus on making better choices.
The road to making correct choices and leading us to our appointed task and who we truly are is a Divine choice. But this leading means deciding to believe there is a Divine will for each of us. With this belief comes the reward of walking in freedom and peace and totally depending upon Godly counsel for the fulfillment of our personalized “life purpose” as the reward for accepting His choices.
With choices come the words yes and no. It is not always easy to say no.
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