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Choose This Day

Jackie Clark and Jim Still-Pepper

What will I eat for breakfast? Should I forgive? How will I spend my time today? What do I want to do in life? How do I make healthy choices? On a daily basis, everyone faces choices, some big, some small. Knowing how to make healthy choices can be difficult, especially when we are faced with important decisions. Try this experiment to get your brain thinking about choices:

Scatter on a flat surface a stack of index cards. Make sure each card is touching the cards around it. They can be overlapping. Take two of the cards and lean them against each other so that they are standing on top of the pile. This “house” of two cards represents a good decision. If it stays up, you have decided well. Now, start pulling out, one at a time, the cards underneath the “house,” trying not to knock down the “house.”

When you have removed all the cards or when your “house” falls, consider these questions:

house of cards FTR TSP 80605255

  • What happened when I started pulling cards out from under the “house”?
  • What made it difficult to keep the “house” standing?
  • How does this experiment relate to making healthy decisions?
  • What in my life do I want to keep standing? What needs protecting?
  • Are my choices protecting what is important in my life?

 

What Leads to Healthy Decisions?

We are told to follow our heart when making decisions, but Jeremiah 17:9a (NRSV) tells us, “The heart is devious above all else; it is perverse.” Simply following our heart doesn’t sound like a reliable way to make healthy decisions. Will you choose a more reliable way?

  • C-ognizance. Be aware of the choice you are trying to make. Is there something deeper underneath the choice? Are you being honest with yourself?
  • H-opes. What result do you want to come from the choice? What goal do you want to achieve? What do you want the choice you make to say about who you are?
  • O-ptions. What possible options do you have? What are some better options you haven’t yet considered?
  • I-nventory. What are the pros and cons of each option you have? Does scripture speak to the options? Which option would best honor God?
  • C-arry out an option. Which option will you choose to try? What are the necessary steps to take? Do you need help from someone else? Should you act now or wait?
  • E-valuate. Did you accomplish your goal? Did the option turn out as you thought it would? Do you need to try another option?

Deciding which shoes to wear today is important, but more crucial decisions have greater consequences—both positive and negative—on the “houses” in our lives. Decisions change us, and they change our future. Knowing how to make healthy choices can make all the difference.

 

DIG DEEPER

Read Daniel 3. What choice did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego face? What “house” were they trying to keep standing? Were they afraid to make the choice they did? What was the ultimate result of their decision?

What other Bible stories tell about people who made difficult choices? Explore the choices those people made and what the results were.

 

LESSONS TO LEARN:

  • Tomorrow exists.
  • I will exist tomorrow.
  • Tomorrow will be important to me.
  • My decision today will affect my tomorrow.
Jackie Clark and Jim Still-Pepper Jackie Clark chooses to volunteer with the youth ministry at her church in Zanesville, Ohio. Jim Still-Pepper chooses to be a counselor and motivational speaker in Zanesville, Ohio. (His two teenage kids choose to let him be their father.) Together, Jim and Jackie choose to write and coordinate a program called Teen2Teen.

—from devozine (September/October 2013). Copyright © 2013 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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