Every day, all day long every human has this one thing in common: mankind has the ability to choose. Although our Father made us all very unique and individually fashioned, He made us all alike in this one thing – choices. Wow, what power He has put in our hands! The privilege to choose Him, yes – and that choice is the most important one of all. But this not my main focus for today. I want to talk about the mundane daily choices, the hard-to-make decisions and what it produces in our lives.
All too often, I find myself talking to myself in my head and giving myself a much needed pep talk. Sometimes it’s easier to sail through life when there are others telling you what you need to hear, but what do you do in the seasons where those moments are not hitting the spot? What choices do I make when I am the only one saying, “you can do it”? Don’t worry, I am not having a pity party here. I am setting the stage for what we have all gone through at some point in life. We all have seasons where we have to “Strengthen Ourselves in the Lord”. (Great book by Bill Johnson by the way.)
I have great friends and family that all speak into my life on a regular basis. Yet, there are times when God wants our voice to be the loudest. He is giving us the opportunity to dig deep in Him, then make good choices out of a place of, if you will, muscle memory. This is where the power is. One choice leads to another and so on. This is to our great advantage, but quite frankly it can work against us if the choice is the wrong decision. Come on you guys, you know, choices like: “my diet starts tomorrow”, “just one more hour of TV”, “just one more store to shop”... but let’s look more at the power of one good choice.
The snowball effect, I like to call it. The mundane daily choices that truly add up. For me, the time I get up in the morning really sets the pace and tone of my day. In this season, if I do not get up around 6am, I have no time to be with the Lord before my kids get up. As y'all know, when their eyes open, there are immediate needs to be met. If I don't have time with the Lord, I feel out of sorts and it sets the tone of the day. Also, when I get up, I like to make my bed right away. It has a positive psychological effect on me. Why you might say? Glad you asked. It is a little bit of motivation to start my day off right in keeping a clean house. For example, if the bed is not made, then there is no surface to fold clothes. If there is no place to fold clothes, then laundry mounds up. If laundry mounds up, then I feel overwhelmed, and thus I slip into an unmotivated mind set.
Another mundane, yet tone-setter for me is exercise. Making exercise a priority, and getting it done sooner than later make a difference. I make better food decisions because I don't want to “undo” all the hard work I have just done. So I swim laps earlier in the day as well. Last example of the mundane choices I make every day (well 90% of the time): keeping a time log. I became accustomed to doing this during my hairdresser days. I saw my days in 15 min increments by my appointment book. So it is not hard, yet very effective, for me to log what I do in a day. The reason I do this is that I tend to over do things and not give myself the proper rest and down time needed to function well. I can see my week played out and realize if there is too much or too little on it. This has really helped me in the self care department.
Ok I lied, I have one more last example. Sleep – we all need it, and no matter whether you’re a morning person or a night person. the average person needs around the same number of hours of rest. We all need to get good quality sleep to be in good sustainable health and frame of mind. These things that I do might not be the ones that help you – with the exception of quality sleep. But if you truly want to be brave, ask Holy Spirit what daily choices you need to make. Don't be surprised at the ideas that might pop in your head if you are brave enough to ask.
Hopefully at this point, I have not lost you because I have one more topic on this whole choice conversation to talk about. The not-fun choice, maybe better named the “when I don't feel like it but do it anyway”. Admittedly, I am a routine person. So the daily stuff is the easier of these two things. Also, I have been told my feelings run deeper than most. When I feel something, it is all but fact to me. So what do I do when I don't want to do something that I should? Or the very opposite, when I really want to do something but should not? Once again, the snowball effect absolutely plays a big component in the hard decisions. If I am in the practice of putting the extra cookie down, then when key lime pie comes my way, I can stop at one piece. Key lime pie – oh yeah I said it! A little back story: I love key lime pie. The first time I remember having it, I knew that I was in trouble. I was 70 lbs. heavier than I am now and had no self-control over food. So I thought to myself, “Just freeze the pie, and then when you want a piece, just cut and thaw that out.” But soon, I discovered frozen key lime pie I LUSTED/LOVED even more! Haha! I was not safe with it in the freezer even. I ate the whole thing in an ungodly amount of time.
I am using a very funny, but true example of what is all too practical in the bigger choices of life. Staying faithful to your spouse does not start at the point of temptation to cheat. It starts at looking the other way, guys, when it’s hard because she is so dang fine. Ladies, it's not overthinking and replaying another man’s (other than your husband’s) kind words. It starts by what you watch on tv and allow to influence your outlook of relationships, and etc. I believe you get my point. Another “when I don't feel like it” example is that I’ve come to realize that being a passionate pursuer of God does not happen by hoping and waiting for that magical encounter that will change everything. It starts by praying with your kids when you feel like screaming. It starts when you challenge your thoughts that do not line up to His truth. Even when His words offend us! (John 6:60-71) It starts by being thankful (Psalms 107:1) when you don't get what you want when you want it, but have a roof over your head and food on the table. It starts by reading His word consistently even when you are not getting new revelation. It starts when you sing praise in a hard, disappointing season of life.
Let me end with this. I was riding home yesterday from what should have been a 7 hour car trip with 2 small children that trip ended up being over 11 hours. Off and on, I was really struggling with my own temper. The kids were, “mommy, mommy” every 5 minutes, and Evan needed me to navigate and be the car music DJ at the same time. The sun was on my side of the car and I felt hot. Arrrrhhhh! None of these things, in and of themselves, were too much, but it felt that way in the moment. Also, on top of that, I am on a medicine that seems to affect my already emotional emotions. I wanted to be anything but nice to my family in that 11 hours.This feeling prompted an internal dialogue with Father God. I told Him., “I don't like myself when I feel like this”. He said, “you have my permission to be the best version of yourself right now whether you feel like it or not. It's your choice.” WOW, thanks God, it is my choice. At the moment, I did not appreciate that answer, only to realize a little later the power of what He said. Choice is one of the most powerful things in this world. He chose to make us, He chose to die for us, He chose to make us one with Him, He chose mercy over judgment, and on and on it goes. In that moment in the car, I realized being powerful looked like taking Him at His word and being honest with myself about how I was feeling, all the while staying kind and loving to my most treasured loved ones. Today, you have His permission to be the best version of yourself – you get to choose!