January 27, 2010
Little Decisions Make a Big Difference
"Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise …."
Ephesians 5:15 (NIV)
Do you ever get tired of making decisions? I do. Every day, decisions line up for my attention. I decide what I'm going to do, how I'll spend my money, and what I'm going to say. Conversely, I make decisions about what I am NOT going to do, spend or say.
One of the biggest challenges I face right now has to do with what I eat. You see, I'm on Weight Watchers. For the past 18 years, I've battled to be at a healthy weight. Coincidentally, my oldest child is 18. I'm certainly not blaming him…but, I'm just saying…
The first week on the program I recorded a respectable loss of 1.5 pounds. The second week on the program, I lost nothing. I was shocked. It seemed I had exercised and sacrificed more that week than ever. But the scale told the truth.
The kind lady at the reception desk tried to help me think it through. "Maybe you aren't eating enough," she said. No, that wasn't the problem. "Are you drinking enough water?" she asked. Yes; that wasn't the problem either.
Then it hit me. The problem wasn't what I was eating when I sat down for a meal, it was all the bites that led up to that meal. It was the French fry before dinner, and the bite of casserole as I put away the leftovers after dinner. It was the nibble of my son's double cheeseburger, and the extra scoop of dip with my carrots. No, it wasn't the big decisions that hurt my weight loss; it was all the little decisions.
Unfortunately, I had minimized in my mind the potential damage of all those little bites. Yet they added up to derail me from my goal of losing weight that week. The next week I took control of those BLTs (bites, licks, tastes and sips) and had a nice loss.
As I've pondered this reality, I've applied it to other areas of my life. I easily minimize the damage of daily unwise decisions. They aren't sin issues, so I can dismiss them as unimportant. However, when added up, they have a big impact on achieving some of my personal goals. For example, when I make a decision to not read my Bible for one day, there's no noticeable impact. But when I neglect this important part of my spiritual growth repeatedly, I find myself lacking in godly wisdom and discernment.
If you find yourself on a plateau in a certain area of your life, perhaps this truth can apply to you as well. You may be making all the right big decisions, but the little ones are having a cumulative negative impact on you.
Not only that, but I believe God desires to do amazing things through us, and is continually testing us to see if we can handle bigger responsibilities. It's in the arena of little responsibilities that our true dependability is revealed. The truth is those little decisions that seem minor, and inconsequential, really do matter. They matter to me as I pursue personal goals, and they matter to God.
My challenge today is to make every decision count. I ask myself, "Is this decision going to get me closer to my goal, or further away from it?" "Is this decision going to show God I can be trusted with the little things?"
Sometimes I ask this question every hour. Which is why I ate steamed vegetables for dinner, and my family had overstuffed burritos. (Not that it's Thursday night and I'm weighing in Friday morning or anything.)
Dear Lord, thank You for caring about every detail of my life. I know You have placed goals and dreams in my heart that will take diligence to carry out. Help me to look to You when faced with a decision, and I pray for Your wisdom as I make the right choice. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Visit Glynnis' blog where she shares her top 10 list of important little decisions to make.
6 Habits of Highly Effective Christians by Brian T. Anderson & Glynnis Whitwer
Dear Bathroom Scale, an excerpt from the P31 Woman magazine
Identify one big goal you have for your life. Name one helpful "little" decision you can make that will help you achieve that goal.
What are some examples of little decisions we make every day that can impact us positively over time?
Have you ever made a series of innocent choices that led you down the wrong path? What did you learn from that experience?
Ephesians 5:8-10, "For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord." (NIV)
Colossians 1:10-11, "And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…" (NIV)
© 2010 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105
Originally published Wednesday, 27 January 2010.