The Power Of Indirect Choices.
The Power Of Indirect Choices
Not long ago I watched a health documentary called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. It stars an Australian man named Joe Cross, who goes on a personal quest to take back his health. At a desperate place in life, and feeling disappointed with the advice he’s been given from his doctors, Joe embarks on a 60-day journey to experience the effects and benefits of natural juicing.
The documentary is very moving. It takes you through Joe’s progress along the way, which sometimes is painstaking. Other times, inspiring. Eventually though, it shows you Joe’s health beginning to almost magically return. A lot of great lessons are learned and shared, and I, as a viewer, truly did feel inspired to improve my own health by the time the film was finished.
But one thought that I really kept coming back to was the place that Joe started out in — that overweight, over-medicated and undernourished state that originally drove him to seek answers. I couldn’t help but wonder how he had allowed his health to get so out-of-hand in the first place. While it always seems easy for us to judge, I actually found myself being able to relate.
I realized that I too have found myself at similar places of “not-caring”. Perhaps not physically, but emotionally or spiritually. Eventually, the result of my “not-caring” catches up to me, and I’m forced with the tough decision to either change, or face unwanted (and sometimes drastic) consequences.
Whether it pertains to faith or food or whatever else, I believe that many of us know what it’s like to find ourselves “out-of-shape” in some way. We may not even know how we got there. We may just wake up one morning, feel shocked by something in our lives, and have a sudden revelation that we need a breakthrough.
I’m coming to see that this is usually the result, not of any direct choices that we make, but of not making certain necessary choices that we should be making. You get overweight by “not-choosing” to eat healthy, go to the gym or control your portion sizes. You become doubtful by “not-choosing” to pray, read your Bible, and stay in fellowship with other believers. For these undesirable outcomes, no choice is necessary. You simply have to “do nothing”.
Joe had obviously been choosing to “do nothing” with his health for some time, which as we see, caused him to become as the title suggests, “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”. We can expect that if we “do nothing” in our marriages, our friendships, our jobs and our commitments, then all these things will become “fat, sick and nearly dead” too.
The interesting thing here is that we usually miss this. We tend to only notice the consequences of our choices when those consequences are sudden. For example, we would expect a perilous outcome from somebody jumping off of a bridge. However, we might not sense the threat in somebody avoiding exercise and living off a diet of fried foods. Even though both choices are fatal, only one kills in an obvious and sudden way.
Now, this is not to say that there is no difference between eating Big Macs and plummeting to one’s death, because there is. I just know that somehow, we let ourselves think that there are no consequences in certain destructive behaviors, simply because those consequences aren’t very obvious and immediate.
A man may believe in strong parenting, and yet spend too many of his Saturdays golfing with his friends. A College student may want good grades, but put off all of his studying until the last minute. A wife may say she opposes divorce, and yet choose not to be loving, forgiving and patient to her husband. We don’t realize that by “not choosing” what’s right, we are often putting ourselves on course to reach the exact outcome that we say we are against.
Perhaps, we could learn to live by the words of EPH 5:15. “Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil”.
We all know to avoid the most blatant, obvious bad choices, like jumping from a bridge. However, maybe we should conclude that some of the greatest threats we will ever face won’t come from our jumping, but by our sitting still on the ledge, falling asleep next to dangerous heights.
Can you see where you have allowed yourself to be like Joe, turning a blind-eye to an area where you’re becoming fat, sick and nearly dead? Let’s realize that when it comes to doing what’s right, “not choosing” is the same as choosing “no”. When it comes to pursuing the outcomes that we want (and that God wants for us), let’s learn to be more intentional.
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