2016 :: Choices

January 01, 2016

On Christmas Day I played a new-to-me game called Hedbandz. If you’ve never played, it’s basically a “What-am-I” type of game where you’re given a card in a headband on your head and have to guess what you are by asking “yes or no” questions. And I quickly discovered I’m terrible at the game. It’s way too open-ended. Too many choices of questions, and multiple directions you can go with those questions. How do I narrow down who or what I am in a series of a few questions with a timer? There were just too many choices. 

When I was thinking of what I wanted to write as an entrance to 2016, this analogy came to mind, prompted by a quote from “The Paradox of Choice,” written by social-theory professor Barry Schwartz. “When people have no choice, life is almost unbearable. As the number of available choices increases…the autonomy, control, and liberation this variety brings are powerful and positive. But as the number of choices keeps growing, negative aspects of having a multitude of options begin to appear. As the number of choices grows further, the negatives escalate until we become overloaded. At this point, choice no longer liberates, but debilitates. It might even be said to tyrannize.” 

As we enter a New Year and prepare to set goals for our careers, spiritual lives and personal lives, whatever they may be, the choices at first are endless. Do I want to work on fitness goals? Maybe my career goals are more important? Should I strive to be more present in my church body and serve in a ministry area, but if I do that, how will I balance my personal life at home?

All of these are Choices. Multiple choices. Good choices, between good and better things. And we become excited at the possibilities these choices represent, but maybe you’re like me and as you sat down to sort out these choices, the excitement might have turned to a bit of apprehension as you realized the multitude of choices and the magnitude of the impact they have on each other. As we often realize the impact of our choices on our own lives, let alone the lives of others, it often becomes easier to not make any choices at all, and simply drift where our lives will take us. Our exciting possibility of choice quickly becomes an excruciating position of decision in which we can flounder in fear that we may make the wrong choice.

So how do we intentionally narrow down our choices to a place where they are still exciting, powerful and positive?

Proverbs 3:5-6 is a familiar passage of Scripture stating  that we should “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” As you decide what choices you’re sifting through, prayerfully run a filter on them.

  1. Is this choice Biblically sound?
  2. Does this choice benefit the Kingdom by serving others and bringing glory to God?
  3. Is this choice the will of God for me?

Our decision as Christians to make choices that are run through a God-filter through prayer and seeking God’s will is one that is contrary to the world’s dictate to “Follow Your Heart.”  Rather, we should seek to follow HIS heart and seek HIS will.

Regardless of the type of choices you have to make in this beginning season of 2016, I pray they are those that set your soul on fire and serve the Kingdom well!!