Happy Friday friends! My first Friday Five episode was so well received last month – you guys really seemed to enjoy that mini-version of Beyond Happy, so I thought this was a perfect opportunity to share another bite-sized episode with you. This week’s episode is called Little Choices. Might seem a little vague, but you’ll see where I’m going with this is just a minute.
I chose theme of this week’s Friday Five because of something I can’t seem to get off my mind. And this is the college admissions scandal that we’ve seen all over the news in the past week.
My thoughts have really shifted and evolved since the story broke about parents and coaches using financial bribes to get their kids higher scores on college entrance exams and even getting admission into elite schools that they would not have otherwise been accepted into. And to tell you the truth, I’d be lying if I said the involvement of Lori Loughlin, the actress who played Aunt Becky on full house, didn’t draw me even deeper into the story. Because For those of us who grew up in the 80s and 90s watching the show, we feel like we know her, right? And we’re having a really hard time reconciling the Aunt Becky we know and love with the real-life person who would do this.
And although I was shocked at first, I want to suggest that there is a bigger lesson for all of us in this story. It’s easy to judge. So easy. It’s so easy to be shocked, to make assumptions. To feel better than because we think WE would never…
But I want to offer that these kinds of missteps don’t happen overnight. I don’t believe that one day, these parents just decided on a whim, “Yep, let’s just pay $500,000 to get our daughters into the college we want.” Or yes, let’s pay someone $15,000 to take the SAT for our kid so they can get into a better school.” I don’t think situations like this happen this way at all. And so, although I don’t condone this or other illegal activity at all, I just want us to look at this from a different perspective that I’m thinking we could all learn something from.
And that, is where the title of this episode comes from. Little choices. See, I believe, that big giant choices like this – ones that break the law, make the news, and have the potential to destroy lives? I believe that each one of them can be traced back to little choices. Little, seemingly insignificant choices in our everyday lives. And they may not seem like a big deal at the time. We excuse them. We rationalize. We discount. We think… it’s not a big deal. And so we willingly make the first choice leading us down a less than ideal path. But it doesn’t stop there. One little choice leads to the next little choice, until it becomes something much bigger.
Maybe it’s the first text with someone else’s spouse. It seems like a little thing, an insignificant exchange at the time, until it happens again and again, and becomes an inappropriate relationship that drives families apart.
Maybe it’s self-destructive comments about ourselves that start appearing every now and then. Just every once in awhile. Maybe it starts with telling yourself you’re not good enough one day, and brushing it off as a weak moment. Blaming a circumstance. Then, over and over, repeating these thoughts to the point you not only no longer recognize who you are, but you for sure hate the person you’ve become.
Maybe it’s the occasional glass of wine at bedtime that seems harmless, until it’s a nightly routine that feels necessary, and then evolves into multiple glasses each night. One occasional little choice becomes a desire that you’re thinking about all the time.
Maybe it even looks like taking a break from your morning run one day, thinking, it’s just one day, no big deal. But one day turns into one week turns into… not remembering the last time you went for a run.
What I want to suggest is that how you do anything becomes how you do everything. Little daily choices that feel small aren’t. Your circumstances and challenges may look very different from these examples, but I know they’re there. Because we’re human. Things happen. We make excuses and let things slide, thinking “no big deal”. And maybe on day 1, it truly isn’t a big deal. But let’s be careful to notice. To pay attention to the little choices. To notice, left unchecked, what they could become.
Let’s remember that how we spend our days is how we spend our lives. Let’s let the stories we see all over the news remind us. Remind us that our little choices DO matter. Because over time, the little things become the really big things. We live in a broken world where temptation surrounds us in every direction. If we’re willing? It’s there waiting. It’s in the little choices where we stand against it. Where we build hedges of protection. Where we admit the possibility of what could unfold, and where we intentionally commit to stopping it before it starts. Because we’re worth it. Because we can create a different result. Because we have the power to choose.
I want to thank you for listening. I want to wish you the best Friday and upcoming weekend ahead. I pray that you will be intentionally seeking opportunities to make the most of those little choices that come your way. See you next week!