Each day we make hundreds, if not thousands, of choices. Think about it, in this one day you’ve chosen when to get up, where you’re going, what clothes to wear, where to eat, what to do, how to relax, how to prepare for events or impending responsibilities, etc. This list could go on for pages.
DEGREES OF IMPORTANCE:
…Some choices are simply more important than others.
- Casual Choices – not that these are meaningless, but they usually have little bearing on the remainder of our lives. These are made simply and without much consideration. Some of these are made so often, they become habitual in our lives. Ex. where I’m eating lunch? Do I want coffee? How am I going to fix my hair today?
- Critical Choices – these are the decisions that tend to promote worry in our lives. These cause stress, if not stress, they are made with great consideration. What type of school environment do I want to place my kids in? What do I want to do after high school? Do I take this new job promotion?
DEGREES OF CERTAINTY:
…Some choices are easier than others.
- Certain Choices – some decisions we make are made with great certainty. This may be because the choice is habitual. This may be because the choice is foundational to who we are as individuals.
- Confused Choices – sometimes we struggle with knowing what the right choice for us may be. We are uncertain about what to do. Maybe because we’re letting worry rule us over our faith. Sometimes we may be faced with two equally attractive choices and can’t figure out what might be best.
- Vertigo Choices – Within the last week, I’ve been recovering from my first experience with vertigo. In reality, I think we make choices in a state of mental vertigo. We know where we want to end up, but chances are we’re going to fall or run into something before we get there.
FREEDOM OF CHOICE
I don’t intend to dive off into a theological treatise here, but how do we even make the choices we do? Theologians and philosophers refer to this as freedom of the will. In the simplest terms, its probably best to understand freedom of the will as being able to do what you want to do. There’s no need to complicate things, but there are some factors that influence us in the decisions we make.
- External Influence – Most of us consider the consequences and effects of our choices on others. We do (or don’t do) certain actions because we filter our decisions on what others may think or how others might respond to our decisions.
- Internal Influence – Personal preference influences our decision making as well. When you walk through the line at the Chinese buffet, you put certain things on your plate based off of personal preference. Word to the wise – always go for black pepper chicken. Avoid the octopus.
We completely embrace the idea of personal freedom, but in reality there’s no such thing. We don’t live on an island. Who we are and others around us influence the choices we make.
HOW WE MAKE CHOICES
We tend to make decisions in one, or more, of the following ways:
- Emotional – In all honesty, the emotional influence in our decision making concerns me the most. We see this continually on our social media platforms and in our conversations where an individual is torn between options and someone will quip, “Just follow your heart.” Jeremiah 17:9 – “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick, who can understand it?”
- Cognitive – Perhaps you try to make decisions based off of reason. This is when you make a list of pros and cons on al legal pad and attempt to decide what is right. You try to make decisions based off of reason.
- Spiritual – Hopefully, we all pray and ask God’s direction on the decisions we make (James 1:5).
RIGHT OR WRONG
Is there even such a thing as a right or wrong choice? I believe so…
- Right Choices – Some things we do are simply right. They are just. They please God and help others.
- Wrong Choices – Some decisions are made to intentionally harm or hurt others. Others are willful acts of sinful rebellion. We often make wrong choices. Probably more than we’d like to admit.
- Morally Neutral Choices – Sometimes we make decisions and feel like we’re stuck between and rock and a hard place. There’s no easy solution. There’s no clear direction, and the plethora of options may all be acceptable.
ONE CRUCIAL CHOICE
It’s easy to see why we live in confusion and worry. It would be nice if we could live life in black and white, but in reality, we don’t. There are difficult decisions. We wrestle with doubt and faith. Sometimes we worry. But what if we could simplify our lives? What if we didn’t get bogged down in the complexity of life? What if life really isn’t about making so many choices wisely or correctly, as much as it is about making just one right choice? I like what Joshua says to the nation of Israel as his life is coming to a close.
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve [worship, the word highlights a sense of submission], whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Jos 24:15.
You see, it’s really more about one choice than it is hundreds. If fact, this is the one crucial choice we make every day. This is the one choice we don’t want to get wrong. And if we make this choice correctly, maybe some of the other choices we fret over wouldn’t consume us like they do.