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Many of our daily choices happen invisibly, almost by default—like what we eat for breakfast, the friends we hang out with or the way we hop onto social media every time we have a spare moment.

But if we could take a step back and look at our lives, we’d see that every decision we make matters—even the seemingly small ones.

Those little decisions have big consequences.

Every day, all day, we make one small choice after another. And these choices just keep accumulating, each one woven into the rest, forming the tapestry that evolves into our life’s story.

If you want to create the story you want to tell, you have to make small, life-changing choices and then actually act on them daily. The best decision you can make is always the next one.

When you start by making one divine decision after another, you’ll see your story emerge, the story that God wants to tell through you. And with His help, you’ll use the powerful freedom He’s given you to transform your life in divine ways.

Here are four keys to making deliberate, godly decisions will lead you through a life full of joy and purpose.

1. Start something that changes your story

Behind every great story there’s always another one. Successful people often joke that they spent years becoming an overnight success. What many don’t realize is that it’s the choices no one sees that result in the things everyone wants. It’s the faithfulness to do mundane things well, to develop productive habits and to remain faithful that eventually leads to success.

Old Testament prophet Daniel is a great example of this. Whether you know a lot or a little about Daniel, when you hear his name, you probably think, “Oh, yeah, Daniel in the lions’ den.”

But people overlook the part about Daniel consistently serving the king with an excellent spirit. That caused him to stand out among all the other leaders. Eventually, the king decided to place Daniel in charge of the entire kingdom. Why was Daniel successful? Why was he favored above others? Why did the king respect him so much? Why did God close the mouths of the meat-eating lions?

We find our answers in a part of Daniel’s story that many people skim over. His divine favor was the result of the decision he made at some point in his life to serve faithfully. We don’t know when Daniel made this decision or why. All we know is that Daniel made one decision, starting one habit that changed his story.

2. Stop letting things get in your way

Determining whether our choices will take us in the right direction is important. But sometimes we are already headed in a direction we know is the wrong one. When this happens, we need to pause not only to consider the consequences but also to stop traveling in the wrong direction. The word repentance literally means to change course and return to God and His path for us.

Moses is a great example of stopping to reconsider a better course of action. After successfully leading the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, he became responsible for hearing all of the Israelites’ problems and handing down judgments. He did this every day, until he was spent.

Finally, Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, offered him some tough love: “What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” (Exodus 18:17–18)

Can you relate? Are you juggling so many chainsaws that it feels impossible to keep going and impossible to stop? What are you doing today that’s not good for your story? Do you have some habit, mindset, addiction, attitude or something in your life that’s hijacking it?

Sometimes, the best decision we can make when feeling overwhelmed or facing a high-stakes dilemma is simply to stop. Sleep on it. Think it over. Get some godly wisdom from people you trust.

3. Stay where God planted you

You’ll find yourself at a point where you ask, “Should I stay the course when it would be easier to go another way?” Maybe a better question to ask is “What does God want me to want?”

One of my favorite stories about staying comes from one of my best friends, Bobby Gruenewald. Bobby started and sold two technology companies before he ever graduated from college. He started volunteering for our church in his mid-20s, and we eventually hired him. Although his contribution to Life.Church was extraordinary, he didn’t feel like he was making a difference, so he considered quitting and going back into business.

Truthfully, it would have been easier for him. As a pastor, he still had a lot to learn. Business is second nature to him. But by the grace of God, he decided to stay. And among his many important contributions as a leader for Life.Church, Bobby came up with the YouVersion Bible App, an idea that has done more for Bible distribution than any idea since the printing press. If you are tempted to walk away, seek God because you don’t know what He can do if you have the courage to stay.

4. Go where God leads

Where is God leading you to go? What is He calling you to do? I know what it feels like to start asking yourself questions. “God, I’m afraid. I need details! What you’re asking me to do sounds hard.” And God may answer: He doesn’t give His children a spirit of fear, so that’s not coming from Him.

He may remind you that you don’t need the details—you need faith. He may tell you it will be hard because we aren’t called to easy lives. We’re called to faith-filled ones.

If God calls you to go, you have to leave where you are. You don’t want to miss what He’s doing.

Ultimately, we know that our stories don’t have to end when we leave this life. When we experience the grace of God through Christ, we can live forever serving and enjoying God in heaven. And while I don’t know for sure, I think that’s when the stories our lives tell will be taken to a whole new level.

Because our stories are not just our stories. Our stories are part of an even bigger story. When you stand at the fork in the road, have the faith and courage to choose the hard path over the easy one when the hard one is right.

The choice is yours. The time is now.