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Archive for July 24th, 2012

The act of choosing

Each day of our life is filled with choices. What to wear, what to eat, what to do… I am ever aware of those choices since I am still the primary decision maker for my young children. Though they are simple, I often tire of those unrelenting decisions. Can’t someone else decide? It would be so wonderful if all those decisions could just be made by themselves!

Recently, I have been aware of the bigger, deeper, life directing decisions I have to make everyday. I’m not referring to ‘those big life decisions’ we all must face… college, marriage, children. No, it’s more along the lines of Francis Schaeffer’s question “how should we then live?”.

Everyday as I face a new morning I have choices to make….

Will I be thankful for this new day or begrudge its arrival?

Will I revel in the choices I have to dress myself today or complain that I’m tired of wearing my clothes?

Will I greet my children with delight or grumble under my breath as they make their regular morning requests?

And the day unfolds… with choice after choice.

The choices I make about my heart, my attitude, my purpose & my perspective have reverberating effects throughout my day & my family. I regularly forget that each action, each response, each task I undertake begins with a choice I have to make. So often I feel as though I’m living my life to just get by for another day. Bearing my teeth to suffer through until I get some sort of a break.

This realization has led me to ask some hard questions. What do I lose by living that way? What do I surrender by allowing those choices to be made by whim or circumstance? What more could I get out of life if I stopped letting something else, something automatic & unchecked in my heart, make those decisions for me?

Psalm 1:1-3 says:

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked or stand around with sinners, joining in with the scoffers. Those who delight in doing everything that the Lord wants think about his law day & night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank bearing fruit each season without fail. Their leaves never wither and in all they do, they prosper.”

I have read this psalm many times & always thought of the first lines in terms of the influence of others. Outside influences. Just recently I had to admit that not all wicked influences are external. When I surrender my choices I become like those standing around, scoffing, listening to the selfish, bitter, lonely or weary comments my heart throws out. I become easily influenced. My perspective is skewed. I forget to focus on the law of the Lord. Then I begin to wither and it becomes impossible to bear fruit!

I don’t want to end up being an ugly withered old tree by the side of a dry creek-bed. My heart truly longs to be a lovely, green, fruit bearing tree that my friends & family take comfort from. Yet, if I do nothing to cultivate that tree, I will never be like that.

In Luke 9:23-24 Jesus said to those who wanted to follow after him to “put aside your selfish ambition, shoulder your cross daily and follow me. If you try to keep your life for yourself, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for me, you will find true life.”

If I’m honest with myself, I have to admit that I really do want my life to be about me. I’m not thrilled with carrying a cross and choosing a life of sacrifice. When it really comes down to it, I want my choices to be about me, for me, and not for others. Living by default plays to my sinful nature. It allows my cross to lay on the side of the road while I stop walking to throw a tantrum. It never looks lovely when I decide to go my own way & its exhausting to feel like I have figure it all out. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be so hard!

Jesus also said in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all of you who are weary & carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble & gentle, & you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly & the burden I give you is light.”

Taking up the yoke of daily living is a constant choice. It is relentless & never a moment passes where we do not choose. There are several options along the way…

I can try to do everything on my own, making every decision the best I know how.

I can forget trying at all & coast through the day, hoping to just get by.

I can surrender all my decisions to others, living as a victim of my own life & circumstances.

Or…I can admit my weariness, my inability, my need for direction & accept the guidance that Christ offers.

In order to delight in my life everyday, I need the constant presence of the Teacher to show me a new way. I need the awareness of the Spirit to help me see my choices. I need the wisdom of the Father to to speak into my every circumstance. I need the Holy God of the universe to break into my mundane life choices & transform them into decisions that bring life. Fruit.

I’ve decided this week to try to allow God to invade my everyday in hopes that I will begin to pay attention to the choices I have to make. I have decided to take up a challenge. To seek, to see, to listen, to enter into my own life on new terms. I am beginning with a record of thankfulness. To write down daily the ways that I see God’s blessing & activity in my life. I am choosing to discover joy. I am learning to delight.

Will you join me? Will you choose His yoke, His way? It is supposed to fit easily. Try listing a few things that you are thankful for today. It will be wonderful to see where that decision leads….

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