When You Have a Choice to Make

When You Have a Choice to Make

August 5, 2013

“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21 (ESV)

According to recent statistics, I made 5,000 decisions today. Seriously?

Well, I made a decision to get out of bed. I made a choice to put on my tennis shoes and run at 6 a.m.

I chose peanut butter Cheerios™ over oatmeal. I decided which bills to pay. What to make for dinner. Whether to answer a phone call. Which clothes to wear. Whether the plants needed watering or if they could wait another day. I chose to fill up the small car instead of the gas-guzzler.

I may have made more than 5,000 decisions today!

Some of our everyday choices are random, others weighty, but many of our decisions are choice points. Choice points are seemingly insignificant decisions yet they lead us in one direction or another.

I choose whether to react in anger, or respond with understanding to my husband.

I choose whether or not to create drama with a friend who hurt my feelings.

I choose time with my Heavenly Father, or push that time to another day … again.

I choose whether or not to say those words that cause my child pain.

Recently I was on a mission trip and the team was exhausted after nearly six days of intense travel. We had missed a train and stood on the platform in the moonlight. It was nearing midnight and cold and wet. Our next ministry event was early in the morning.

The coordinator walked over. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean for it to work out this way.”

There I stood with a choice to make.

I could share my frustration. I could explain that my sleep tank was on empty. I could say nothing, while sighing with a martyred expression. Or I could choose to override my fatigued irritation and be gracious.

As she waited for my reply, a gentle voice softly spoke to my heart: “This is the way, walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21).

I knew it was definitely the leading of the Holy Spirit, just as Scripture promised. Yes, I was exhausted, but I reminded myself what a privilege it was to be there. Ease and comfort were not readily available to Jesus, and losing a little sleep was nothing in comparison to anything He went through. The Holy Spirit nudged me to recognize that everyone around me was just as tired as I was. He led me in the way to respond.

“I’m fine,” I said. “In fact it’s been an amazing day and I can’t wait to see what God does tomorrow.”

She grabbed me and pulled me in a huge hug. “Thank you, Suz.”

I wish I could say I handle every choice I have to make that way, but sometimes I fail and gripe, nit-pick, am critical and grouchy. It’s my prayer that I’ll remember how much my choices matter. You see, they don’t just affect me; they affect those within the vicinity of my decisions.

In the 5,000 decisions you make today, take a moment to pause before deciding. Ask the Holy Spirit for His guidance and counsel. And choose to follow as He leads the way.

Dear Lord, I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all my choices, and it makes me cranky. Today as I make my 5000 decisions, walk with me, remind me of how my choices affect others and help me follow Your Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Do You Know Him?

Visit Suzie Eller’s blog a month-long Forgive To Live Challenge with real stories and help as you make choice points in the area of forgiveness.

Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst

Reflect and Respond:
Keep a journal this week of choice points. Note those that lead you in the wrong direction. Are there common themes?

If you were overtired, how can you implement rest?

If you were trying to live a packed life with your spiritual tank unfilled, will you stop and fill it up?

Power Verses:
Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.” (ESV)

Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (ESV)

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Comments

  1. I love the idea of a journal! What a great way to see the trends you have in your decision making 🙂

    • Sometimes just journaling what we say or do is a glimpse of the real story. What’s awesome about that is that it’s tangible, and it’s something we can address, with God’s help!

      • Larry Speakman says:

        May you watch what you say and do. Do and say all to the Glory of God. Be truthful always, Be kind always, Be loving always, Treat other human beings as you know Jesus would. Be unselfish. Be thoughtful.

    • I recommend it Esther. I had never had a journal, and since February I have filled one and a half. I just write my thoughts, verses, what strikes me when I’m reading a devotional, or my bible.. I have gone back and read some of the stuff in my first journal. I believe you will love it….Be blessed Anna

  2. Thank you. May you be as blessed.

  3. Thanks for this ” Encourage​ment for Today ” , my husband and I are facing a hard time, we almost lose our house I’m fasting and praying about it.
    My husband just called to say, get ready to pack up, because he did everything he could, but my heart says do not give up, waiting for God.

    • sarah walker says:

      Praying for you elize!! God’s timing is perfect!

    • Praying for you!!!

    • Joycelyn says:

      Don’t give up, Elize. Continue to wait on the Lord. I was in a similar situation many years ago. We were being evicted from home at noon that day. After earnest prayer, exactly at noon and man from the Sheriff Department came by and postponed the eviction. God hears our prayers and answers right on time. TRUST HIM! Love you and am praying for you all.

    • What a hard place to be, Elize. There was a time that my husband and I almost lost his business, which also involved our home. I remember the weight of that, the calls, working so hard to keep afloat and it didn’t seem to matter. I also remember looking back after we had to make some hard choices, and seeing that God was with us every step of the way. Later, we understood how he took that very hard time and allowed us to create a new path, one that led Richard to school eventually and that led us into the desires of our heart. I couldn’t see ANY of that then, only the hard places. My prayer is that God will redeem this very difficult time and that it will be a crossroads that leads you to the desires of your heart, and that of your husband.
      I pray that you have a place to stay, do you? And that you are sharing this need with members of your church staff, so that they can come close during this time.
      Lord, thank you for this family. Lord, lead them to higher places, deeper places. Please open doors for a roof over their head, food on their table, and provision for their daily needs. I feel so very far away as I read this, Father, but I also know that there was a time we felt just as scared and you cared for the necessities, and somehow even brought good from that hard time. Will you do the same for this much loved daughter of Christ? In the powerful name of Jesus, amen.

      • Amen!!
        Yes there will be places to stay, but I want it to be God’s will for us.
        Thanks for your prayer, God bless you.

    • Please please don’t give up. God will come through in HIs way and His time. And I echo the prayer of Mrs. Suzie for you that The Lord will shelter you and your husband in His very capable arms and provide everyting that you both need for living in every way. May God truly truly bless you both and keep you in His loving care and sweet watchful eye.

      Blessings

  4. Thank you so much for this encouragement. After a very restless and sleepless night, up with each one of my three children, I’m exhausted! And of course, the day is packed full of things to do! I was about to turn the TV on and veg for a while when I felt the nudge to do devotions first, and see what the Lord had to say! Well, so thankful I did! Your encouragement to listen to the small voice and think about the choices I have already made and will continue to make today really means a lot! Hopefully, with God’s guidance, the choices I make today with these three little ones with me will point them to Him, and encourage their hearts!

  5. Reading this at the Oral Surgeons office at 7:15 am waiting with my 14yo son to have his wisdom teeth out and wishisg I had read this before we arrived. Have already failed. We were told our appt was at 7:30 am and to be there at 7:15, but when we arrived they said his appt was at 8:00. So more time for him, but mostly me to be nervous. Even though he is my 4th son to undergo the procedure. So I did get a little testy with them. So now to go apologize. 🙂

  6. Absolutely the exact thing I needed to hear as I am making a major life changing decision today and reading your words were just what I needed for reassurance. Thank you!

  7. Suzie,
    I want to thank you so much for today’s devotion. I deal with chronic depression and anxiety. I also have fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. God is revealing to me that I have been using these things as excuses to be unkind to those closest to me. Oh, how this breaks my heart! Please pray with me that I will begin to see the choices I have to make, and that I will choose the positive, Godly way. I want to be a blessing to those I love!
    Again, Thank you!!!
    Angie

    • I would be honored to pray with you. Lord, your sweet daughter Angie is in pain and exhausted, and out of that place she has struck out at those she loves the most. Lord, thank you that you forgive us, and give a fresh slate for a new day. I pray that you will bring relief to her in the form of sleep and rest, and strength. Shine a light on anything that might change the direction of this disease, and be her Light in the midst of it. When we are weak, we are strong because You become our strength. Be Angie’s strength and joy today in the power and might of Jesus’ name, amen.

  8. This devotion is written for me. Thank you very much for sharing. I will pray for the Good Lord to hide you unders His wings and i pray that he blesses your tongue, your hands as you minister tot the lost. God bless you

  9. Caroline Hart says:

    Thank you for your message this morning as it was just what the Lord wanted me to hear from him through you!
    God is always on time and a loving father who is there for his children and I am so thankful for that.

    May the Lord bless and keep each of us today and give us his peace and help in our navigations thru life. He is a Great God, Father Abba! <+<

  10. What a great devotion! I was frustrated yesterday with my 5 year old, after having a tough morning with his behavior, and felt badly about the way I reacted to him. Our choices do effect others, and even though we may not see it, they can have lasting consequences. It is my prayer that I THINK before I choose to react to a situation that tests my patience, especially when it comes to my babies. Lord help me!

    • If you ever feel that you need support or encouragement as a mom, I host a Facebook group with 17,000 moms from 30 countries, and our whole goal is community and encouragement. It’s at http://www.facebook.com/MomsTogether — hope to see you there! And I love what you had to say. When we know that we did wrong, we can make that wrong right. It’s a beautiful lesson we can teach our babies when we apologize and start fresh. : )

  11. Michelle Alexander says:

    I simply am unable to put into words how much I look forward to reading the Daily Devotions. What amazes me time after time is the fact each day brings me something I needed. I loved today especially because it places an emphasis at least for me to consider others first before responding. I needed this today and will hold tightly to your message as I make my way through this day. Thanks!

    • Michelle, I can’t put into words how much it means when you share this with us! Our heart is that the Word of God will come right into the middle of real life and bring about change, no matter how great or small. That Jesus will be the focus, and that shift in how we view life will bring joy. : ) Thanks so much for taking a moment to share your thoughts. It means so much!

  12. I chose to “Say Yes To God” and share this on my facebook page today which is not something I would normally do. Usually I email this sort of thing to my close friends that “get it”. Well…a friend that has rejected the church followed this post deeper to find more what she calls inspiration…I will call it God’s nudging…and she shared it on her facebook page! So God is using little old insignificant me and my choice (and Suzie’s choice to write this) to ripple out and effect others in a positive way! It is so neat to see God in action.

  13. Angela Johnson says:

    It’s always a joy and a treat to read the devotions of the day and to be reminded that I and not alone; that my brothers and sisters around the world are being tried and found as well. I will keep the faith.

  14. Thank you for this awesome devotion to remind us that we have a choice each moment to listen to our Heavenly Father and His Holy Spirit living in us or to choose the way of this crazy world!!! What a blessing to receive this word today! Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Smiles,
    Pam

  15. Thank you!,,,thank you! The Lord is telling me to change my attitude when it comes to dealing with people’ in general. To have joy always without frowning, grumbling, or complaining. From now on I want to be happy in all circumstances. And want to shine from within, just as Jesus did. I appreciate your words this morning and sharing your ministry with us. Blessings galore to you!

  16. Stepphon says:

    I thank you for this word. The last few years have been a huge struggle my husband lost his job which was our many sources of income and he has also wants a divorce saying he should have never gotten married in the first place we have 3 children and we are about to be evicted from our rental home we have gone to social services and no help. I need pray to help me to make the decision to move on with my life and my children as a single women or keeping fight a losing battle. I know the word says that God never puts more on you than you can bare but I’m I feel that I am at my ended. I feel lonely and alone and scare angry and betrayed most of all hurt. I need Peace of mind.

    • Praying for you today, Stepphon. Sometimes I find that God does bring us to what may seem our breaking point in order for us to see how much we truly need Him and encourage us to rely on only Him to get us through. God uses the broken and turns it for good. He sees you and loves you. May He give you comfort and peace that only He can offer through this difficult time.

    • Oh Father, give your beautiful daughter wisdom. She’s in such a hard place. Lord, shine a light on the next small step. Give her wisdom, lead her, protect her, and wrap her close in your love and surprising joy today. God, you promise provision, and today I pray with my sister for the needs of her family. Open doors that seemingly are closed. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  17. Brittany Charnley says:

    I love this today, for a Monday morning! My husband and I have allowed some of our choices to make us frustrated and need to look to the Lord’s guidance at all times. This has been an amazing reminder and a kick start to a fresh new start! I plan to follow all of these devotionals as it will help me to develop a long lasting, daily relationship with Jesus, as well as develop community through conversation! Thank you.

    • Hey Brittany, What I love about these devotionals is that they are written by ordinary moms, grandmas, single women, all who are living life and trying to celebrate the God factor within. I’m so glad you are joining us in that journey!

  18. devenzt59 says:

    I’m realizing today that I allowed myself to be used by SATAN in way that I did not want to be used. Now as a result I am sad, hurt, and wanting to go somewhere and be by myself. Today I’m in the “I could just leave and go somewhere where no one knows me and get from around from those who are supposed to love me.” I could just leave and put all of my stuff in storage and not tell none of my family where I am. I’m so sad. I’m not happy today. I hope I can feel better again. I don’t want to experience depression again.

    • Charlotte says:

      I have had to deal with depression for a long time.. Note I said I had to,! I guess that is what I did, I also wanted to get away and let no one know where I was.. Then God convicted me about just how selfish I was being! I begin to notice things I was doing and the negative attitude I had begin to have.. I prayed an earnest prayer and ask God for direction.. I was on facebook after that and Lynn was talking about this Bible Study!! Wow!! God is always on time.. l am ready and got these palms up.. Praying for this study and each one of us to grow in ways we never dreamed! Already I am looking forward to daylight to come.. pray for me as I pray for each of you!

    • Realizing that you made a choice that you didn’t want to make is good, UNLESS you stay only there. If you remain there, you are stuck in guilt, one of the most worthless emotions we can have. But what if it became conviction instead? That means you realize what you don’t want, so you can turn toward what you do want, and need. It sounds like grace is a wonderful gift to accept today, knowing that your Heavenly Father loves you right where you are (it’s His specialty) and then to face, rather than isolate, those obstacles. Seek all the help you need my friend. That’s not weakness, that’s absolute strength that says I’m going to grab ahold of every tool and resource I can so that I can, with God’s help, climb over this mountain. It’s growth. It’s hope. I’m so grateful you came by this site today. You are loved, loved, loved by your God.

  19. This is such a good reminder that God is always there for us. I have a very difficult decision
    To make that will change my life and the lives of my children, but it’s all based on an IF and me demanding a change in someone else.
    He says he is willing to make this change but it has been 13 years and I’m not so sure I believe this. I just don’t know what to do but I
    Know that I need to make a decision because I have not been making a decision for the past 10 years and something has to change.
    Thank you again for the words of encouragement! I love reading these posts!

    • Father, give your daughter wisdom and strength beyond the circumstances. Highlight the next step for her, in Jesus’ name. Amen. Pour out peace. Cover this home with your presence, so tangible, so big that it cannot be denied. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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