You have two choices. They’re the same two choices your neighbor has. And the same two your wife or husband has. Your boss, your teacher, your brother and sister – all have the same two choices to choose from each day.

A) Will I follow the easy path life presents me?

B) Will I chart a new path because I am compelled to be the best I can be?

If you answered B, then taking each day as it comes is not an option. It’s an intentional life choice, filled with uncertainty and unpredictability. But it’s also fraught with new experiences and delightful adventures.

Think differently.

Pop culture won’t get you where you want to go. It’s the common thread of our existence today, and yet it’s harmful effects drain the lifeblood from aspiring artists and world changers everywhere.

It’s time to think differently about relevance. Too many people seek to be relevant through commonality. I know the same music and movies as you. I follow the same celebrity gossip that you do. We have common ground because we consume the same things and idolize the same people. That mentality generates more of the same. If you want sameness, this is your path.

But if you seek a life of purpose and meaning, pop culture is NOT your ally. Seek out the voices in the shadows. Seek out recommendations from the experts in your areas of interest. The Gene Logsdons and Graham Cooke’s of the world can’t be found on TMZ or Facebook News

Shop differently.

Do you buy new things instead of repairing old? Do you throw things away that bore you and replace them on a whim? Do you spend more and more money on holiday gifts to prove your affection for friends and family? That’s the path of consumer culture. Buy to feel better. Shopping as entertainment.

It’s time to shop differently. Consider the products you normally buy. Where are they made? Under what conditions? How does the creation of these products affect the natural habitat of birds, fish, and mammals we need to maintain ecological balance? Could you build what you need instead? Perhaps a neighbor would be willing to trade so that products aren’t wasted or prematurely disposed.

We create the world we want to live in every time we spend a dollar. Whether on plastic baubles or meaningful experiences.

Work differently.

What type of career path will you choose? Will you seek a job where the salary is guaranteed but the opportunity is limited? Will you sacrifice creativity for stability? Or will you blaze a trail and create the job around the meaningful work you already want to do?

When you go to work, will you punch the clock and bide your time, or will you make the most of every minute? Success occurs when opportunity aligns with preparation. Preparation takes place for years prior to opportunity. This is your time. Your opportunity. Use it wisely.

Church differently.

Do you show up once a week to listen to someone speak and then return to your “real” and completely different life? Or do you seek to BE church and hone your God-given gifts and abilities by sharing them with people every day? Service, encouragement, teaching, prophecy, administration, shepherding… opportunities are everywhere.

Eat differently.

Is food a convenient pleasure? Or is it an intentional sacrament. Without getting legalistic, there is much meaning and richness to be found in the simple act of eating a meal. How you choose to think about food impacts the quality and convenience of each meal. And your direct involvement affects your connection to the world from which your food came. Are you drawing a closer connection to the soil? Or do you partake in a vacuum?

Play differently.

Does recreational time require expensive purchases or simple pleasures? Are you sedentary or active? Do you engage with others or isolate and consume? Recreation recreates your soul. How you partake defines your path and who you will become.

Be the change.

Intentionality. Each day you choose who you will be five, ten, twenty years from now. The smallest choices steer the largest ships. Where are you headed? Look to your choices. They tell the tale.