“Choose a good reputation over great riches; being held in high esteem is better than silver and gold.”
– Proverbs 22:1
It’s always amazed me how many choices we make each and every day. If you slowed down and counted how many you make in a single day, I think you’d be surprised just how many we make (I know I was… I gave up shortly after starting). It’s almost like our brains are auto-pilot for most of the choices we make in a day as we unthinkingly make little choices. It’s easy to see how the “big” decisions we make affect our lives when we look back on them. These very large crossroads mark significant changes in our lives… Should I attend college? What career should I pursue? Should I get married? Should we have children? Should we buy a home? Should I stay in my hometown or move somewhere else? What is on my heart today though are the little decisions that we make… the ones we make without even thinking about them. The “without even thinking” part is what really is bothering me. How many choices have I made today that I didn’t think about… choices that I just sort of did because of habit?
I believe that people in general put a great deal of thought and consideration into the big things and that’s very wise. I wouldn’t go out and just buy the 1st car or truck that I happened to see that was for sale. That’s a lot of money tied up for several years and it will change my family’s financial situation (either for better or for worse). What I have done, in the past, though is swing by the drive-thru and buy a breakfast sandwich and a large coffee on my way to work and eat at the cafeteria or a local restaurant for lunch every day. Had I eaten breakfast at home and packed a lunch, I could have literally saved about $10 a day… That doesn’t sound like a whole lot of money, but if there’s 21 working days a month, that’s $210 a month. $210 every month is essentially a monthly car payment to us! That is just one “little” decision that had a great return on the time invested in consciously changing for the better. Another area of my life that up to this point I haven’t been making good “little” choices daily in is exercising. It’s so much easier to choose to do nothing and relax (a big part of life after all is relaxing… isn’t it?) rather than get up and get moving. The results of many years of the “little” choice of being lazy added up to an overweight, out-of-shape young man who would be winded walking up a flight of steps. Things have started changing for the better by making the choice, small as it is, to exercise daily and eat less. As a couple, my wife and I used to not read God’s word together daily, pray or tithe. It was easier to think about it now and again… and sometimes even talk about it. The problem was, when we neglected it to the point we didn’t even think about it, we were still making a choice. We chose poorly for awhile, and our marriage felt the effects of it. Our finances were a mess, we had trouble getting life on a schedule and we felt guilty a lot… Thanks to many choices over many days since those times, we are now spiritually, financially and emotionally alive where we were once almost dead.
Looking at Proverbs 22:1, I think that the small choices we make build our reputation as a person more than anything else. It’s not often celebrated in the newspapers the man or woman who lovingly and faithfully takes care of their family and children all of their life… or the doctors and nurses who report to work even in the worst storms… or the school bus drivers who wake up early to safely take the children to and from school every day. We can’t buy our reputation, but we can earn it. Everyday, our choices make us into who we are.
I think about, pray about and ask God to show me other areas of my life where the “small” decisions that I am making daily are hurting my relationship with him, my family, others or myself. I don’t want there to be anything, big or small, keeping me from living life to the fullest. I don’t want there to be anything to convince me to settle for less than 100% of God’s plan for me and my family. I want to ask myself daily, “Are all of my choices, big and small, reflecting God?” If any of my choices in life are unwise, ungodly or selfish, I need to change it and I need to change it today. I pray that you examine your day-to-day routine and see if there’s anything “little” that you need to change to better honor God, help your family and make you a better person for it.
“We make our decisions, and then our decisions turn around and make us.”
-R. W. Boreham