It takes a thousand good choices to get where you want to be in life.
Every choice has a consequence and creates a trajectory for your life that can launch in a meaningful direction or take you down dead-end roads.
Even small choices you barely think about – like the choice to get out of bed, the choice to go to school or to work, the choice to study for a test, the choice to show up for a family member or friend – matter tremendously by impacting the future.
In his best selling book Make Your Bed, Admiral William McRaven shares life lessons he learned during Navy Seal training. McRaven says if you think it’s hard to change the lives of 10 people – change their lives forever – you’re wrong, because he saw it happen every day in Iraq and Afghanistan through the choices people made.
He says the average American will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime, and if each of us change the lives of just 10 people, that could add up to big numbers.
The choice of a young Army officer to go left instead of right down a road in Baghdad, for instance, saved the driver and his squad of 10 soldiers from close-in ambush.
In Afghanistan, an officer sensed that something wasn’t right and made the choice to direct an infantry platoon away from a 500-pound IED, saving the lives of a dozen soldiers.
McRaven points out how these choices saved not only the soldiers, but also the unborn children of the soldiers, and their unborn children too. Generations were saved by one decision – by one person.
These powerful illustrations prove how one person can make a difference. One decision can change lives. While most of us will never make choices that save lives in combat, we can choose to save someone from harassment, danger, loneliness, or bad day.
A lot of people in our world today don’t think beyond themselves. They live in self-preservation mode, and as long as a situation works well for them, they aren’t bothered by what it means for someone else.
But God created us for more. God created us to care for each other, to see how we’re interconnected, and to put our faith in action by noticing and responding to the needs in front of us.
Sometimes a person in need of help would be a friend, and sometimes it will be a stranger.
There are often news stories about people who were hurt or victimized in front of crowds, yet nobody helped. These stories are hard to watch and hard to believe until we think about human tendencies and a psychological phenomenon called the bystander effect, which says the more bystanders you have witnessing an emergency, the less likely anyone is to help because everyone expects someone else to step in. If you are someone’s only hope, you’re a lot more likely to respond than if you feel like just another warm body in the crowd.
The takeaway, for all of us, is to remember how nobody is meant to be a passive bystander of life. God gives us the power of choices so we can become active participants. Even simple choices – like being kind to someone who is sitting alone or showing grace to the cashier who messes up an order – impact who we become and how we make people feel. These choices may be a lifeline to someone who’s approaching the end of their rope.
You don’t have to be a Navy Seal or a war hero to make a difference, because all around you there are people fighting internal battles you know nothing about. There are people in your sphere of influence whose lives you can easily change.
A positive life begins when you make the choice to care, and with every small, positive, and caring choice you make, you launch your life in a meaningful direction. You change the future for yourself and for those 10,000 people lucky enough to meet you in the course of your lifetime.
Thanks for reading this article today. If you found the message helpful, please share it through social media.
Also, I’ve written two books for teen & tween girls designed to empower them through faith. The newest one, Liked, is getting a fantastic response as a unique resource for girls of the digital age, and along with the bestselling 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know, it’s being used widely across the U.S. for small group studies.
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!
Posted by Kari on June 4, 2019