The Liberation of Choice

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This is an atypical Wednesday Bible and money post, and I’d happily concede that it might be more self-help than Bible and money. 

I mentioned a month ago that some changes to Google had a pretty serious impact on the behind the scenes events at MH4C. 

The first week or so was a real downer.

Then I discovered the power of CHOICE.

Steven Covey often tells people they need to differentiate between what they can influence and what impacts them.  Too often, we spend our time and energy fussing over what impacts us and what we cannot change.

  • Google changed their algorithm, so I’m going to write them a letter, and I’m sure they’ll change it. Nope. I don’t think so.  It’s time to make the decision about how I will respond, adjust, and move forward.
  • The price of gas is skyrocketing.  What are you going to do to get gas to drop a few cents?  Probably nothing.  Do you think it’s valuable complaining to your friends about the price of gas?  However, you can change your driving habits, get more organized, or air up your tires.  If you took my advice, you’d be smiling just like me during this time of increasing gas prices.
  • Cost of living keeps going up year after year.  Who wants to organize a rally to demand that companies must lower their prices?  Sorry, that won’t help.  Instead, you decide how are you going to adjust the price of living.
  • Have you seen what’s going on with the stock market lately?  Have you hear anyone complain about market conditions?  What can you do about it?  Diversify, make wise investing choices, buy or sell.

See how much time we spend focusing on things that impact us and how little time we spend focusing on what we can actually change?

I’m teaching a religious instruction class at the local high school.  Just last week, I introduced them to the idea of determinism. 

Like so many people who come from troubled backgrounds, most of these young people believe that their futures have already been determined based on how their mommy or daddy acts.  They’re already shifting blame for their actions to their parents (or anyone else). 

While it’s so easy to see in others, we have to look at ourselves and realize we do the same thing. 

Just like Adam, we want to point to Eve.  Just like Eve, we want to point to the snake. 

When is someone going to stand up and say, “I decided…”, “I chose…”, “I’m going to …”?

This week a book on my shelf caught my attention – Who Moved My Cheese?  It reminded me that:

  • The world is not fair. 
  • The world is changing. 
  • The world doesn’t offer us equality. 
  • There is good in the world. 
  • There are people who need your love and encouragement. 
  • There is hope in Jesus Christ

In finances, in business, in life, and in ministry, we ought always to remember the event between stimulus and response.  That event is CHOICE. 

It’s liberating when you start thinking about what you can choose to do and change, and ignore the things you cannot control.

You could be in such bad financial condition because the credit company jacked your rates up to 19%, or it could be because you bought things you shouldn’t have bought.

You could be in debt because you had no choice and had to pay those expensive private school tuition rates, or it could be because you chose an education you couldn’t afford.

You could be going through foreclosure because of the economy, or you could be going through foreclosure because you bought more house than you could afford.  That’s what we call good debt gone bad.

I suspect you’ll find some form of liberation when you start realizing the power of choice.

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2 NIV)

Well, there you go.  Now that I have a Bible verse in this post, it certainly must be Bible and money, not self-help.   :)


  1. says

    Sounds like you may have been hit in the Google algorithm change as well, huh? It has hit my site pretty hard this week, and resulted in a huge loss of traffic. But like you said, it probably isn’t worth my time to try and get google to “fix it”, and complain about what has happened. Instead I choose to trust in Him that the income loss will be something we can handle, and then start focusing on things that we can affect, and that we can fix.

    It stinks to have problems like this, but it is nice having an eternal hope ih Him.

    • says

      Yeah, I was hit back in Feb. I’ve been focusing on what I can change and making some pretty dramatic changes to my business model. In the end I’m seeing a lot of good come out of it.

      So did Google just do another algorithm update this week?

      • says

        Yeah, there was a further rollout of the February changes on Monday, in addition to some further tweaks – which ended up affecting a lot more of those who didn’t get caught in the first wave. Like me. ;)

        • says

          Sorry to hear about that. I know it is an absolutely awful feeling! I hope things turn around for your site and the traffic picks back up.

  2. says

    Nice references to Stephen Covey’s material. All this talk about choice reminds me of the serenity prayer.

    “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

  3. says

    Good encouraging words, Craig. It really does come down to a choice, doesn’t it? A choice in how we respond to adversity, and a choice to look for the purpose God has for us in the difficulties.

    • says

      I like your reminder that God is always doing something in adversity. We must ask ourselves, what is God teaching me through this trial?

  4. Thomas says

    One thing I’ve noticed as I’ve transitioned from college student to working man is that there are many people in this world that have trouble actually making decisions. Think about it, when you want to go out to eat with someone, and you ask them what restaurant they’d like to go to, what is their typical response? Usually it’s: “Whatever you want…. or…. I don’t know… or… .” Or I have neighbors who claim they are always short on cash, so I ask them why and they respond with: “Our rent is too high, or our new car payment (and insurance) are killing us, or my job doesn’t pay enough, or my daily lotto tickets are not hitting the right numbers.” Then the big question: “What can you do to correct this?” They respond: “I don’t know. My wife and I need at least a two bedroom house, a car to drive, and we like playing the lotto so there’s nothing we can do.” Um…Hello?!?

    What causes people to be like this? I’m not exactly sure. Perhaps one cause could be that people fear rejection from their peers. Or maybe they are afraid of offending someone or admiting that they need to make a change. Or maybe, as you stated Craig, people don’t realize they can change and that they are not tied to their past.


    • says

      I know a lot of indecisive people who often use the ‘whatever you want’ phrase. Sometimes I’m even that person. I’ve noticed that stronger personalities see this as a character weakness. But, for the world to go round there must be leaders and followers.

      Still, as you say it might be a sign of our own defeatism. Why do anything because it’s likely not going to turn out well. That is a kind of thinking we need to change.

  5. says

    Wow, sounds like a serious hit Craig. You’re definitely not the only one who had these problems with the new algorithm. I’m sure you’ll come back from the hit though. I entered the blogging realm right around the time when Google changed the algorithm, so I have no idea how it would have effected me :) Great and encouraging words though. And good advice on making wise investment choices. You should say something about not buying gold hehe.

  6. says

    Great post and thought provoking. Instead of watching CNN continually and wringing our hands over what congress may do, let us get busy and use our brains! My mom and dad had a paid for house before I was born, never had a new car or car payments and no credit cards. I think that wisdom is essentially for today. My father lived by God’s wisdom and it served him well. I thank the Lord that I had such a good father.

    • says

      I think that watching too much news is a way of being passive instead of active. Think of the good you could do in the world instead of watching the bad in it. Great point.

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