Do our choices matter?
I read Andy Stanley’s book “Principle of the Path” years ago and, to be honest, found it to be life changing. He talks about the tension between where we want to end up in life and the path we choose to get there. This message seems so simple yet it’s one that so many of us wrestle every day. We often have the best of intentions. We know where we want to be and yet we make choices that say otherwise. We see all the tracks laid out before us and wonder if it’s possible that several of them will lead to the same end location. Sometimes there are even signs; sometimes there are people who have taken a specific track and we think that it will lead us somewhere else. Surely it will be different for us.
Making choices this way can start off seemingly harmless. For instance, we all know that over-eating is not good for our bodies. We know that it makes us miserable. It causes physical pain and can make us sick. Yet every Thanksgiving, thousands of people chose to over-indulge. The turkey, the potatoes, the stuffing and pie…they all taste so good and it’s a special day and….
Making this poor choice to eat too much food causes only temporary discomfort if it happens once a year. But what about when we make the choice more often? When “treating” ourselves becomes a weekly thing? A daily thing? Well, then the consequences get deeper. Weight gain, diabetes, intestinal damage, budget constraints, medication…just to name a few.
Choices come in almost every minute of every day. Do I choose to sleep an extra ten minutes? Do I choose yogurt over a donut for breakfast? Do I take the road with the stop light or weave through the neighborhood with stop signs? Do I say “hello” to the lady in the hall who snubbed me on Sunday? Do I pay this bill today or wait until tomorrow? Do I invest here or there?
Choices are inevitable. So are consequences. When we look at the tracks ahead and make a clear and conscious decision to walk all the way down one, are we ready to find out what’s on the other end? And will there be anyone but myself to blame if I don’t like the final destination?
I’ve regretted a lot of choices in my past. I’ve reached many a track end and realized I had chosen poorly. I’ve pointed fingers and thrown fits and screamed and cried. The hard truth, however, is that most of the time I chose that track with my eyes wide open. Of course life throws circumstances your way. It’s thrown me a few curve balls over the years. There have been side paths and side walks and little curvy trails that were additions to the map after I started. But I still have a choice in how I handle each one.
Every single morning I have a choice to wake up, praise my Heavenly Father, and walk in His Spirit of light and love. I can choose all of that. Or I can choose the opposite. I can choose to wallow in self, blame others, complain about the rockiness of the path. I can choose to ignore truth, speak out of hurt places, and focus on wrongs.
My day always goes better when I choose the the Light and yet I wake up frequently and choose the opposite.
I have never regretted a choice made in Light and Truth.
I have only and always regretted choices made from other places.
I am learning to offer grace for the poor choices of my past and move forward in Light.
And that has made all the difference.
Today’s post falls on the 25th day of the Write 31 Days Challenge. You can find a list of other posts here.
Want to learn more about “The Purpose of the Path” by Andy Stanley? You can order it from Amazon or many other book retailers. I make zero dollars from the book sales or from recommending it. I just love it.