The Brazilian writer and poet Cora Coralina, from a very poor family, became a famous teacher and author. She left many wise sayings in her books, one of which was: “The most important things in life are our choices!” She meant to teach her students that being rich or good-looking or other things society values are not as crucial as learning to make the right choices in life.

Once, I was at the beach with my youngest son, Mateus, who was 12 at the time, and my daughter and grandson. At this particular beach, the sea floor drops suddenly, so parents are cautioned to make sure that the children go in only waist-deep. We warned them of this, then kept a close eye. My grandson obeyed promptly, but it was clear Mateus had doubts whether he should obey. We could almost see the thoughts inside his head: Should I do what she said or not? After all, I’m a good swimmer!

Eventually, he went up to his waist and stayed there for about a minute, apparently considering his options. Then he backed off and returned to the safe zone with his nephew. In the end, he made the right choice, and I silently prayed that he would have that same wisdom in many other decisions he will have to make growing up and throughout his life.

Today’s decisions are extremely important and will shape our future. Every time I act on impulse or emotion, things get messy, and later I have to fix the problems I’ve created. But when I take time to think things over with a cool head, asking for advice from trustworthy friends and waiting for clarity, things go much more smoothly.

Many times, when faced with a difficult decision, I’ve had to remind myself of the example Jesus gave and pray for the strength to also say “Not as I will, but as You will,”1 then go ahead and do what I know is right. These sorts of decisions can be hard to make at the time, but God is always able to bring good out of even seeming difficulties.2

  1. Matthew 26:39
  2. See Romans 8:28.