Today, I want to give you a little checklist of 6 reminders about good choices. Life requires choices and sometimes we need reminders, a checklist of things to keep in mind, especially when our decisions are weighty ones.
Good choices are important because we are given one life and the awesome power to decide who we will be and what we will do with our life. We make choices and those choices have consequences. Some choices seem rather inconsequential but others have life-altering, eternal meaning. The good choice to follow Jesus requires you to take the “long look” at life. This decision is the narrow road, the risky life of faith. As scary as it may seem, it is the only way to experience life at its best. The reality is that we live in two worlds (the temporal and the eternal) and we must decide what will have first place in our heart.
Good choices are a must if you are dealing with a critical issue. Something has happened that has rocked your world. Maybe it’s your job, a serious health issue, a death in your family, marriage trouble, or something else that is breaking your heart. How you respond, the choices you make now can have deep and long-lasting implications for you and those you love.
Life sometimes presents us with two options, but we can choose only one. It’s as Robert Frost says in his poem, “I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: two roads diverged in a wood, and I-I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
Good choices involve the following 6 components. Here’s the checklist I suggest you consider:
- Take responsibility for yourself and your choices. Own your feelings, thinking, and actions. Whatever choice you make will have consequences for you and others. Good decisions require that you be willing to accept and live with this reality.
- Avoid “emotional” decisions. Our emotions are important and should not be ignored. Neither should our anger, sadness, sense of ease or satisfaction be the sole reason for our decisions. Feelings are a good servant but a poor master. Where possible, we should avoid major decisions after devastating losses such as the death of our spouse or close relatives. A good choice in situations such as these is to take time and allow our self to grieve and regain the emotional balance necessary for important decisions.
- Slow down, be deliberate. Quick decisions can be disastrous. Making important decisions on the “spur of the moment” bypasses the process of thinking about consequences we may have considered had we slowed down a bit. I recall an incident several years ago when I became very angry and felt “sold out”, and betrayed by people who should have stood with me. Before deciding my course of action, I took a couple of weeks to process my decision. This approach allowed me time to pray, seek the Lord’s guidance, and come to a faithful decision that proved to be a really wise one for me and my family.
- Seek the counsel of wise people. Some decisions are so life-altering that you should seek the advice of a wise and trusted person or the help of a Christian therapist. Talking the situation out can open windows of invaluable understanding and insight you may have missed otherwise. While the ultimate decision is your responsibility, this step can help clarify and encourage you to respond wisely to the situation you are facing.
- Write out your options. I, and many people I know have done what I am about to suggest. That is, write out the pros and cons of the situation as you understand it. You will want to do this for each option you are considering. Make two columns on a sheet of paper. Write out the option you are considering at the top of the page. Under the Pro column jot down all the you can think of that may favor this direction. Under the Con write all the negatives to this decision. As you will see, this process will help clarify the issues and bring an understanding of potential consequences, risks and benefits of the decision. This process is an excellent tool to help you make a good choice.
- Double-check your decision against biblical values. Ask yourself this question, ” Does my decision violate clear biblical teaching about honesty, fairness, compassion, and generosity?” Does it pass the test of “Do to others as you would have them do to you?” Can you do this as an act of faith that this is a good choice?
While researching this subject I ran across a worksheet related to decisions for health care for an elderly relative. This material may be helpful in gathering information to meet the needs of someone you know. https://wihealthyaging.org/_data/cms_files/Program%20Files/PTC/Planning%20PTC/PTC/2021%20Handouts/Class%206_2.5%20hrs_Participant%20Handout.pdf?u=1WKo02
Parenting Tip: Helping your child learn to make good choices is a process that leads to him internalize your loving discipline and to hold himself accountable for his choices.https://www.cosdavis.com/encouraging-self-discipline-part-five/