It's a new year. It is quite common for people to make resolutions at the beginning of a new year. I looked up the word resolution in a thesaurus. These are some of the words listed as synonyms: decree, declaration, decision, promise, pledge, oath, vow. The word, indecision, was listed as an antonym.
So a resolution is a decision, a choice. We all make decisions/choices everyday about everything. It is part of the privilege God has given us - the ability to choose, to decide for oneself.
Of course, there are places and times in the world when one's ability to make an independent decision is restricted because of poverty, tyranny, sin... Restricted, yes; removed, no.
Several astounding things about our ability to choose are:
- the ability to choose is always present,
- always unavoidable,
- and our choices always affect others.
And, as with any privilege, there are responsibilities associated with it. Every choice brings a consequence. Good or bad, benefits or destruction. Some consequences are immediate, others linger - but there are always consequences. And those consequences affect not only us, but all those whose lives we touch (or refuse to touch).
I've lived long enough to experience the consequences of a lot of decisions I've made earlier in life. Some consequences have yielded great benefits (to me, as well as others); for which I am most grateful. Others have brought pain and embarrassment as their consequences, for which I am ashamed; especially those choices of mine that brought pain and embarrassment to others more than myself. I have become acutely aware (as I have grown older) that every choice I make has the power to help or hurt others.
I have a favorite saying. I'm not sure exactly who said it, I've read it attributed to various people, so I won't credit anyone and let the words stand on their own. I try to live by this sentiment every day - the saying goes like this:
"People will forget what you say. People will forget what you do. But people will never forget how they felt when they were with you."
Don't underestimate the power of your decision or indecision.
One day, years ago when my youngest son was in the hospital battling cancer, I stopped at a grocery store on my way home from work. I had just visited my son at the hospital, he was having chemo treatments. There has been nothing in my life so draining than to watch my children suffer and be able to do nothing to stop the suffering.
I was bone tired, soul tired. Life was too heavy, too overwhelming, too much...and on top of all that...I needed groceries.
As I stood in the checkout line I was numb. My eyes weren't fixed on anything - I was just staring unfocused ahead of me. That is when I saw her. The lady in front of me was looking right at me and she was smiling. Our eyes met. She didn't say anything, she just continued to smile.
Suddenly I felt a surge of life go through me. I felt strengthened, encouraged, noticed, valued by someone - valued enough to smile at me. I didn't know her, but I smiled back and hoarsely whispered, "thank you." She smiled again as she turned and left.
That lady taught me several GREAT lessons that day and they all had to do with choices. Her choices.
- She chose to take the time out of her busy life to notice the person behind her in line, me. Lesson: pay attention to those around you, don't be so focused on yourself.
- She chose to show kindness to me by a simple smile.
Lesson: take time to be kind and mean it.
- She chose to try to make a difference in my life.
Lesson: I don't need a lot of time, energy, talent, or money to make a big impact on someone's life. Something as simple as a smile has potential power.
Next blog: Make a bad choice or decision and now regret it? Welcome to the human race! God has a way to transform our bad choices - all we have to do is....you guessed it...choose to cooperate with Him.