In Lysa Terkeurst’s The Best Yes, she talks about thinking through the decision. It’s a practice of thinking through consequences of even the smallest choices before saying yes or no. She presents an example of meeting a friend for coffee. You sit down with your friend who is sipping on Starbucks’ newest and yummiest latte. Your friend asks if you want a sip. You immediately move to say yes, it’s just one sip after all, but then you stop and think. If you try the drink you know you’ll love it, which will lead to you purchasing one of your own, which will most likely lead to the temptation to pick up a latte every time you drive past a Starbucks, which inevitably happens a few times a week. This quickly turns into habit that includes hundreds of unwanted calories and a pretty sad wallet.
Now, I know that’s a pretty dramatic example, but I think she makes an important point.
Every decision, no matter how small, has a consequence.
In her book Lysa says, “Choices and consequences come in package deals. When we make a choice, we ignite the consequences that can come along with it.”
My problem, and I imagine it’s true of you as well, is that I rarely stop long enough to consider the consequences. Instead of considering the long-term effects of my choices, especially the seemingly small ones, I give into my impulse in the moment. More than anything else, I’m mostly concerned about what will feel the best in the moment. What will give me the most satisfaction.
I think the small choices of our everyday can potentially have the greater long-term impact on our lives than the decisions we consider big. This is especially true when you consider the effects of those tiny, insignificant choices as they build on each other.
It’s easy to convince myself that one piece of pie won’t hurt me when I only consider that moment and not what I know about myself – which is that once I have the one sweet thing I want ALL the sweet things ALL the time. Checking email during dinner seems harmless when it’s truly the exception, but do I think about what I’m communicating to my husband when that exception slowly becomes the norm? Not very often.
So what do we do? How do we make the process of thinking through a decision a normal part of our daily life?
Well, I’m not really sure. I’m basically writing this to myself. I’ve been mulling over this for months now and continue to be frustrated by my impulsiveness. For some reason I am unable to just stop and think first.
One thing I know for sure is that the practice is directly linked to self-control, and self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. I firmly believe that if I ask God for help developing this fruit, he will be faithful to step in. He will show up time and time again and has enough grace for every mess up.
So that’s how I’m trying to move forward. When I’m faced with a decision, any decision, I’m committed to simply doing the best thing. I’m also praying that God would show up and help me know what that best thing is, and that I would slow down long enough to hear him. I’m praying for help to live a life of intention. A significant life.