When I look back at my life, I increasingly realise how important is it to count the cost of the choices that we make.
Many of you will have heard me talk about Lisa. She was a massive part of my life. I spent 10 years with her when I was a heroin addict, but I'd not seen her for over 20 years.
I have often driven through her estate, hoping to see her; thinking I could give her a copy of my book.
Then, in November 2012, I was once more on her estate. There she was! Imagine that - all those years later! I stopped the car. 'Hi, Lisa!' 'Is that you Barry, do you want to come round for a brew?' She climbed in as we spoke, and I followed her directions, around the corner from the tower-block where we used to live. We climbed out of the car, and as we walked towards her flat she said, 'It's great living here; I get my weed from that house over there, and I get my speed from this flat over here.' We walked into her flat and she showed me around. She said, 'This is the kitchen; this is my bathroom; this is my bedroom. I've got everything I need here.' I got the feeling she thought I was coming back.
In the living room, there was a photograph of our dog 'Roxy' on one wall. There was an ashtray with a cannabis leaf on it on the chair, and a big flat-screen TV on another wall, not much else, just an small table.
We chatted about old times, and Lisa started to roll a spliff. 'Do you remember how I came to visit you in prison Barry?' 'Yes', I replied. 'Lisa, do you remember when I started hearing voices?' 'Sure, Barry, I wasn't surprised—you did stay awake for nine months!' 'Barry, do you remember when we lived in that squat that had a big tree in the living room?' 'Course I do, how could I forget.' 'Lisa, do you remember when we were staying at Treasa and Ben's, and we robbed the meter, and then we super-glued the lock back together, and put a piece of towel in the bottom to make it sound full when you dropped money in?!' Lisa laughed, and then I said, 'Hey Lisa, I'm a Christian now, and I've written a book.' 'If you wrote a book, it would definitely be a best seller!' 'It is a best seller Lisa, I've got some copies in the car, I'll give you one before I go.' Lisa lit the spliff. She took a puff, and then handed it across to me, 'Do you want some of this?' A thought flashed through my mind, 'If I say yes, then everything that has happened in my life over the last 17 years, will be totally ruined.' I said, 'No thanks'.
That day, I counted the cost of that choice.
Listen! If you want to make a success of your life, you need to make good choices. Your choices will make you or break you. Don't make choices without counting the cost first: Count the cost of your choices.
How do you go about making choices? Do you stop and think before you act? How will you respond when you're next asked, 'Do you want some of this?'?
In life remember: Count the cost of your choices!