Most people acknowledge the high stakes of big decisions like marriage. But what about the choices that seem “inconsequential,” meaning there are no consequences? Most people, even Christians, see certain choices as hinging on their own responsibility, and others – the bigees – as ones to get God involved in. It’s like they’re saying, “Thanks big guy… I got this one.” How does that work when each choice you make leads to bigger and higher-stakes choices down the road?
For example, when I was a teenager, I didn’t ask God who or if I should date. I asked my girlfriends, of course. I wanted to know what they thought of Mr. Hottie-face. With their approval, I felt totally justified in jumping into relationship after relationship.
So when my senior prom came around and I didn’t have a date, I didn’t think twice about letting a friend set me up with a boy I didn’t even know. Why not? He was a Christian, sort of. It’s just one date, a little dancing, what could go wrong? Never once did it occur to me to ask God what he thought of the whole idea.
So, I went to prom with someone I barely knew. And that night was the beginning of a relationship that lasted a few years and eventually started steering towards marriage. Not as romantic as it sounds. Those years were the most spiritually confusing years of my life. I knew I was out of God’s will, I knew I could not marry this boy as I had promised, but I loved the way he loved me. I had trusted friends speak hard truth to me about the relationship, and I refused to listen. My heart grew further and further away from the Lord as my relationship with this young man grew more intense emotionally and physically. Through it all, I was a wreck. I was convicted at every turn but too afraid to give up and give in to God.
Finally, at my best friend’s wedding, I had a miraculous intervention by the Holy Spirit. As I watched the bride and groom pledge their lives to each other for the King and the Kingdom, I realized this type of celebrated and Godly relationship was not in my future because I was disobeying God. I had a ministry call on my life and my boyfriend had no desire for that. I went from that wedding ceremony with the resolve to not throw away God’s destiny for me, and not to be part of helping someone else do the same.
In the months that followed, my heart changed radically. I broke off the relationship, as brutal as that felt, and began to hear God speak to me again. I finally felt clear direction from the Lord about things I had been very confused about earlier. God led me to work for a ministry in Oklahoma for my last summer before college graduation, and it was there I eventually met my Jesse (my soul mate and husband).
I remember being in a post office in Tulsa and writing the date at the top of a check… May 4, 1996. Instantly I realized it was the date I had set to marry my previous boyfriend. I burst into tears, right there in the line for my stamps. I knew God had delivered me (and him!) from a disastrous future. Instead of being in a white dress, about to pledge my life to the wrong man…on May 4, 1996, I bought stamps, had an uneventful afternoon, watched a movie, and fell asleep in the apartment I rented by myself with a very clear conscience and a sense of destiny.
Some may say that things all worked out in the long run, so who cares if I was in a wrong relationship for a couple of years? I am convinced that God’s perfect will was for me to meet my husband without the baggage I obtained through that long season of disobedience. Although I had fully repented, it would take me five years into my marriage to work through the strongholds that had formed in my mind because of the moral compromises I had allowed myself to make. So you see, my prom date choice really did matter. The small choices you face are just as important as the ones you may classify as “big.” All of the choices after the small ones get harder and harder.