You Can Choose to Turn Your Life Around

You Can Choose to Turn Your Life Around

It’s often been said that our greatest power is our power to choose. This bit of conventional wisdom usually accompanies weight loss plans, debt management seminars, or career change blogs. While this mindset is helpful for achieving these smaller goals, many people overlook the fundamental truth that we may choose to create an entirely different life from the one we are currently experiencing. That includes something other than working yourself to the bone and feeling unfulfilled or working so much that you hardly see your family. It’s something other than just barely getting by financially, or just bouncing from one appointment to another. What we actually need is not a new body, a new financial system, or a new career, but a new normal in our lives.

Normal does not simply imply average, mediocre, or ordinary. Too often people strive to be normal to fit into society, and end up being completely unextraordinary, doing nothing of note with the potential God has given them. But when we understand how God has designed us, we should be dissatisfied with being normal! 

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalms 139:14).

“For we are God's masterpiece” (Ephesians 2:10).

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, old things have passed away behold all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).

“The LORD will make you the head, not the tail” (Deuteronomy 28:13).

“We are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

“Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).

Fortunately, God has given us a way out of normal, by learning to make wise choices which lead to life. 

“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

Our choices affect everything in our lives and in the lives of those around us – including our children. If we won’t choose wisely for our own sakes, we should for their sakes. But how, when we have spent our lives choosing to be nothing but average?

A New Normal Doesn’t Just Happen by Chance

Like buying a ticket on an airplane, where we eventually arrive will be determined by the flight we purchased. That is incredible power that God has given to us to shape our personal human experience. Some people are not simply ignorant of this God-given power; they are just more comfortable with thinking that life just happens to them, for good or bad. They may want a better life, a better job, a stronger marriage, or a more financially secure future, and they are sitting and waiting for it to happen. 

But listen to me – a life of blessing and reward only happens when we obey the Word of God, and actually choose life. More to the point, a life that is good or bad, happy or sad, blessed or cursed is a choice.

In 1 Kings 17, there’s a story about a widow woman with a young son who living through a famine. She was down to the last morsel of food before starvation. God sent the prophet Elijah to her, to give her a life-changing choice. Elijah asked her to choose to honor the Lord by feeding him her last bit of food, in order to secure a better future.

“For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land’” (1 Kings 17:14).

When Elijah said this to her, she had a choice. By obeying God, she would be choosing a life of blessing and reward (although she probably didn’t understand it at the time) and by disobeying God she would be choosing a life of death, literally. But her story ends well, she obeyed and her choice produced life.

“She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah” (1 Kings 17:15-16).

Her deliverance, her blessing, didn’t just happen by chance, it happened by choice! 

God Doesn’t Make Our Choices, We Do

Some people just don’t get this. They believe that God arbitrarily determines whether or not someone experiences a life of blessing. But God doesn’t choose whether we experience a life of blessing; He has delegated that power to us.

Look at the Scripture again:

“…I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).

God will give us wisdom and direction to make the right choice, but He doesn’t do the choosing. We are responsible for our choices and therefore our life experience. Say it again … “My greatest power is my power to choose!”

Non-Negotiable Realities Don’t Take Away the Power to Choose

There are some things in life we don’t get to choose, like the place we were born, our family and our race. These are known as non-negotiable realities. But we do get to choose our perspective and our response to those non-negotiable realities.

One well-known example is the lived experience of Viktor Frankl, a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp during WWII. Many people died in those camps, both from direct killings at the hands of the soldiers and also from a simple loss of hope.

Frankl, however, made it out alive and went on to write a book which sold millions of copies. When asked about how he survived, he said:

“The last of human freedoms is to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Some people will discredit their own power of choice to create a new normal for their future, and blame their “average”-ness on their non-negotiable realities. But what do we say to a person like Viktor Frankl who gave us the following truth:

Circumstances + Perspective + Response = Outcome

We can’t always choose our circumstances, but we can choose our perspective and response to them, which will have the ability to change anything into a life of blessing and reward. 

Just look at the patriarch Joseph, who chose life regardless of his non-negotiable realities. His brothers sold him into slavery, then Potiphar’s wife lied about him and he wound up in prison. But through it all, Joseph chose life with a godly response and a faith-filled perspective.

“But now, do not therefore be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life. For these two years the famine has been in the land, and there are still five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. And God sent me before you to preserve a posterity for you in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance” (Genesis 45:5-7).

Joseph used his power to choose life, to bless and to do good to the very same people who had created his non-negotiable circumstances. And God rewarded him with honor, riches, power and influence in this life as the Prime Minister of Egypt. His greatest power was power to choose!

Nothing Changes until “Want To” Becomes “Will Do”

Wanting something and actually choosing it are two totally different things. One of the biggest mistakes that people who have normal, ordinary, mediocre lives is declaring what they want, rather than choosing it, by doing something to bring it about.

They may say, I want to be happy, I want to have more money. I want to have a better marriage, lose weight and be healthier. But wanting isn’t going to change anything.

Of course, wanting is a good starting place, but if you never progress beyond that, you will never experience a new normal in life that is beyond ordinary. Just look at young David, who moved his want to into a will do, and experienced God leading him into his destiny to be king over Israel.

In 1 Samuel 17, Israel was at a standoff with their enemies, the Philistines. The champion of the Philistine army was a giant named Goliath, who stood taunting the Israelites to bring out a champion to fight in a hand-to-hand battle. No warrior stepped forward from Israel for a match that looked like certain defeat; they were all afraid, thinking they had no chance.

David, however, knew what God had done for him in the past, and decided to choose to step out in faith to fight the giant. His story is well known… how a young boy became a giant slayer in the face of all odds. His future completely changed: he received honor, the king’s daughter as a wife, and great financial rewards.

The other men that day may have wanted the same change of fortune, but nothing happened by simply wanting. In order for a changed life to take place, the want to needed to become a will do

It’s what we all must understand. More often than not, it means choosing to do something new, something you haven’t done before. As it is often said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting a different outcome. If you want a new normal you absolutely must make different choices and begin to act on them.

God is not going to do it for us. It’s up to us to decide to follow a path of blessing, take action, and choose life!

Photo credit: Unsplash/Jon Tyson

Frank SantoraFrank Santora is Lead Pastor of Faith Church, a multi-site church with locations in Connecticut and New York. Pastor Frank hosts a weekly television show, “Destined to Win,” which airs weekly on the Hillsong Channel and TBN. He has authored thirteen books, including the most recent, Modern Day Psalms and Good Good Father. To learn more about Pastor Frank and this ministry, please visit Photo by Michele Roman.