Recently Robert and I watched a movie with George Clooney, Ides of March. In one scene, two men are discussing the betrayal that has happened in their relationship. One character says to the other, “That wasn’t a mistake. That was a poor choice.” It was very clear that this character was absolutely correct in his assessment and that just hit me over the head!
A mistake is when we make a choice or decision and we’ve made the best choice we know to make at the time. If it ends up not being the best choice, we learn from it and are wiser. On the other hand a poor choice has less innocence. A poor choice is when we look at the options available to us and we select the less wise decision knowingly. There is usually a hesitation, a pause and then for one reason or another we select the poorer choice. Mostly, I think we do this out of pride or selfishness but very often denial is a huge piece of it. We deny, for that moment, that we will reap the consequence of the poor choice.
For example, if I am on a diet and I know I shouldn’t eat the brownie and I do. I have either decided that I don’t really want to lose weight or that this brownie won’t really matter. Often we negotiate, we say this time, I’ll do this or that and next time I’ll make the better choice.
Here’s what hit me during that movie. When I make the poor choice I am breaking the LAW. What law? Newton’s third law which states: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Think about it for a second or a minute. Every single choice we make every single day produces a reaction either for our benefit or not.
Another example. You don’t smoke. You know that smoking will, eventually kill you. So you don’t ever have a cigarette. But, on the other hand, you have a friend that smokes occasionally. Maybe it’s not much most of the time and maybe it’s more some of the time. Do you believe that their choice to smoke, even occasionally, will add up and have a negative impact on their overall health and well being? I’ll bet that you would say, yes, smoking is slowly taking away her health and her life.
Another example. Let’s say, for even numbers that you have a friend that makes $1000 per month. And let’s say that every week, your friend spends more than her pay; just a little bit, let’s say $20. Do you think that eventually this will catch up with her? Unless she gets a raise, or someone gives her money, yes, it will catch up to her and she will have debt right?
Easy to see when we apply to someone else isn’t it?
Eyes wide shut – Denial, delusion, inability to see and acknowledge the outcome of our choices and their long term cumulative impact.
Eyes wide open – Ability to see the outcome of our choices both short term and long term.
It takes a lot of courage to see ourselves with our eyes wide open. It can be painful. It can show us inconsistencies and really make us feel foolish and stupid can’t it?
Thinking+ good choice= good action which over time……creates positive results.
Thinking + poor choice= poor action which over time…….creates negative results.
But, often, in areas where we struggle with clarity, courage and keeping our eyes wide open, this is what our equation might look like.
(Thinking + good choice)+ (thinking + poor choice) + (thinking + good choice) + (thinking + poor choice)= action with NO results.
You’ve heard the old line, “what is the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. The last equation above show us that. Remember Newton’s Third Law – equal and opposite reaction.
But, here’s, the trick!! The trick is to NOT focus on the poor choice and it’s consequences but instead to focus on the good choices and their positive results. Somehow, deep down we know that poor choices add up to bad things. But, in the “heat” of decision making, we make the poor choice. Then, we mentally dwell on it and dwell on it and dwell on it – and it becomes powerful and scarey and self-defeating. However, if we FLIP it and focus on the good choices, keep our eyes wide OPEN to the positive, cumulative results these have, we begin to have better thinking and thereby better choices.
I keep a little 2 ring 4 x 6 card holder and on each 4×6 card, I write various understandings and wisdoms that I’ve read or that I’ve learned. A few months ago, while struggling with the eyes wide open reality of the poor choice I kept making over and over and over and over and over, I realized this:
Hesitation IS an opportunity to make a good choice.
When I am making a choice and I hesitate, that is a signal to wake up! Open my eyes! See the truth! Don’t hurry! Remember Newton’s Third Law. But, alas, even then it can be hard. So, I had to add to it.
When hesitating how can I increase my ability to more often make the good choice?
1. Pray and ask for Jesus’ help!
2. Use God’s word to fight back with truth and not the lies we want to believe.
3. Don’t make a decision or a choice. STOP. Stay undecided until you have the strength and courage to make the good choice.
As I began to apply this to my life, I have to be honest, I would make a poor choice and then, afterward it occurred to me that I didn’t ask for Jesus’ help! Seriously. I didn’t even think about Him. Grrr. As I continued to apply this to my life, I began to remember to ask for help and Jesus has helped every time.
God’s word is also powerful. Powerful to remind us of truth and reveal lies. So, I have three verses to share with you that have helped me as I struggle to become free from poor choices in certain areas of my life.
I Corinthians 10:13
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure.
2 Corinthians 10:3
We are humans but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We capture these rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not depend on your own understanding.
As I’ve taught in my nutrition classes and EATT classes, I’ve often shared this:
good choice+good choice+ good choice+ good choice+ good choice+ good choice+ good choice= BIG results
No matter your area of struggle, no matter how long you’ve been wrestling and not winning. No matter how many times you’ve failed – keep on trying to make the good choice. Never give up. Never quit. Share your struggle with someone you have confidence in – learn to be more honest with yourself by having to be honest with them. Bring God into this fight to bring His power to be strong where you are weak. You are not alone!! You have Jesus and you have God’s word.
Yes, I’ve seen some long lasting victories in certain areas. Some victories have some swiftly, and some have taken years, yes years to get victory over. I absolutely still have areas I truly struggle with. But armed with Newton’s Third Law, Jesus as my friend, teacher and savior and God’s word – I will not quit until I am victorious and free. I hope that in some way, you are encouraged to do the same.