Deal or no deal, accept or reject

With the country waiting to see what would emerge from the Brexit talks, everyone is hoping that good decisions will be made in the next few hours. That made me start wondering about how we make the right choice when crunch time comes. Here’s the resulting thought. Listen again on BBC Sounds at around 7.20am or read the transcript below:

Good morning. 

Tea or coffee? Take the bus or take the car? Deal or no deal? Accept or reject? 

According to a cursory search of the internet, human beings make around 35 000 decisions every day. Obviously, not all choices carry the weight of those being discussed by parliamentarians at present, but there’s an argument that small decisions shape who we become, and equip us for the really big moments.   

‘Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you,’ wrote leadership guru John C Maxwell, and, while the likes of Barack Obama and Bill Gates opt to eliminate ‘decision fatigue’, by only ever wearing the same outfit, our character is formed in the everyday choices that we make and the manner in which we make them.

There’s a verse from the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah that talks about the importance of strengthening ourselves for when hard decisions have to be made. 

If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses?

If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?     

We all know the importance of diet and training in building physical strength, but I wonder how much thought we give to building our emotional resilience and spiritual wisdom as we make our 35 000 daily decisions.

Qualities like perseverance, patience and an ability to negotiate well with those who hold an opposing view don’t magically appear when we’re faced with life altering circumstances. Rather, they are grown over time, the fruit of choosing to live selflessly. The theologian Eugene Peterson who died recently, quotes the verse from Jeremiah when talking about the long walk of obedience as a follower of Christ. If we want to live bold, decisive lives, says Peterson, we need to cultivate habits of wisdom and reflection. There’s merit in preparing ourselves in our daily choices, so when the moment comes wisdom and reflection will guide our big decisions.

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