My son Talon died early in the morning on what should have been the day he graduated from high school.
That Friday was payday for him. Talon got a text, inviting him to a party — a graduation party. The party moved from house to house through the evening, and, eventually to a “farm party” in a field north of town. The kids built a bonfire, blasted the music, and danced. No doubt, my son was the life of the party, entertaining with stories and laughing with his friends.
Someone provided alcohol, and another person brought an entire pillow case of prescription drugs.
Talon made a choice, to drink from the pass-around bottle(s), and then to take the little pills that were supposed to “make you feel better.”
“Cops!” someone cried, and everyone loaded into their cars to escape a “minor in possession,” or MIP ticket.
Talon made a choice.
He chose to drive, knowing he was under the influence.
Four boys loaded into his car, and the race was on. Running from an unseen threat on roads he was unfamiliar with, Talon chose to drive fast, then a bit faster, and faster yet. Showing off for the girls in the other cars, racing on the moonless night on back country roads he had never driven before.
Talon drove, choosing to take chances he might have thought better of in another situation.
On this particular country road, there was a cattle guard. People had driven around it for so many years because it stood ten inches above the wallowed out roadway. Attached to that cattle guard was a post, for attaching temporary fence when the cattle were allowed on the fields each winter.
Talon didn’t see the post.
He hit it center front on his car, and the air bags deployed. His car spun out of control and broadsided an electrical pole, snapping it in half. His heart stopped due to blunt force trauma. His passengers bailed out of his car and ran for safety and anonymity. The other teen drivers who stopped soon drove on, panicking over the severity of the wreck.
Talon died alone, surrounded by his poor choices. He was 37 days from his 19th birthday.
I share this to demonstrate the power of choices as they pile up to make big decisions. Each choice he made (attending the party, continuing with the party as it moved, having a drink, then another, taking pills, driving impaired, driving a little faster, and a little faster, and faster still) all added up to disaster.
Disaster of choice doesn’t happen in one leap. Small choices add up to the sum total of our overall life. Talon didn’t make the decision to die that morning. He made little choices that had a natural consequence.
In each part of your being — spirit, soul, and body — your choices have brought you to the point you live in today.
“But I had no control over…” you say. Possibly true. The crimes committed against us as children are completely beyond our control. After that, though, we are definitely players in our own outcomes.
Look around. If you are unhappy with what you see going on in any phase of your life, make a choice. Choose to feed your body properly. Choose to strengthen your spiritual walk. Choose to exercise both mind and body consciously. Our health in each area of our lives — spirit, soul, body, relational, work, family, finances, even how clean your home is — relies on and is the consequence of small choices piling up.
That sounds overwhelming. “You don’t know what I am up against!” you say.
You are right. I don’t know what you are up against. But I do know that in each choice of the day, you can move forward.
So… first choice: Thank God for something. Anything. The breath you breathe. Then find a second choice. Choose to smile. Choose to walk with purpose. Keep it simple.
When I was not used to thinking about the choices I made each day, my attitude was victim to my thoughts. My thoughts were victim to my choices.
I decided at one point that I was unloved because I was fat. And since I was fat, I may as well eat that sweet thing all gone. My choice in that moment continued the circle of being the “victim” of my fat. I thought it was my body’s fault. But it wasn’t. My body follows a natural law of input and output, calories in becoming energy for now or later, depending on how I choose to behave. My body was actually the victim of my choices. And my sense of being unloved was equally due to my choices.
It seems simplistic, and maybe it is, but God gave us the power of choice. When God told the Israelites, “Choose ye this day whom ye shall serve,” (Joshua 24:14), He gave a gift. We have the power to make choices in our lives.
So, choose. Find a beginning spot, and make a better choice for this moment. Start now, right where you are. Don’t deceive yourself into thinking that tomorrow is the day to start, because tomorrow isn’t the time frame for this particular process. You can’t clean up first, and then start. You have to begin where you are, and the only “when” you have is this moment.
If you have not chosen Jesus for your life, I encourage you to do so right this second. That choice will decide your eternity, and make a difference in every moment between here and there. “Jesus, I choose You. I choose Your path, Your guidance, Your rules over my life from here on.”
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. — John 3:16
Confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. — Romans 10:9-10
Small choices — big, eternal consequences.