Choice.

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I’ve heard it said that life is a sum of our choices.

I haven’t been a fan of that phrase during certain seasons of my life because it felt unfair.

What about the things that happened to me that I had no control over?

Didn’t those things define my life as well?

A couple of years ago I started seeing a therapist after my life had hit rock bottom, at least my own personal version of rock bottom.

I sifted through the rock and the rubble with my therapist week by week. One rock at a time. Sometimes I got so frustrated that I threw them all back in the pile only to start over the next week with the sifting process.

But I chose to keep going.girl walking barefoot

In my weekly conversations that consisted of trying to untangle the mess of the sum of my life choices up until that point, I started to realize that I did in fact have a choice in everything, even in the things that seemed out of my control.

That’s a humbling reality right there, but reality it was.

The fact was uncovered that I had the choice about how I reacted to every single situation in my life.

I chose how my life was going to move forward from that day on.

I could choose to get out of bed every morning. Some days I chose this and others I didn’t.

I had a choice whether or not to have just “one more” glass of wine instead of actually facing my situation in life.

I had a choice whether or not to blame the Church for what had been done to me and leave it, or I could choose to stick around and try and make it better.girl at end of dock

I had a choice whether or not to bad mouth someone who had slandered my name or to instead trust the God of justice with His ultimate outcome someday.

I now have a choice whether or not to open myself up to people or to close them out.

I have a choice to trust or be defensive.

I have a choice to be angry or to embrace the unexplainable peace of God that only comes with my full surrender to Him.

I have choices. Every day.

Some days I choose really amazing things. And some days I don’t.

So yes, my life could be identified as a sum of my choices, and that definitely is a part of my identity.

But as I’ve been praying and working through the process of what my true identity is, I’m making another choice.

I’m choosing to think of my life as ultimately defined by the fact that I am a choice.

I have been chosen by God.girl dancing to man with guitar

He made the choice to die for me even when He knew there would be days that I would choose the taste of wine or men over Him.

He made the choice to invite me into this world even though He knew the pain I would endure.

He made the choice to stick around and fill me with His Spirit even though He knew that I would doubt Him to the point of walking away from Him time and time again.

He chose to create me.

He chose to love me.

He chose to die for me.

He chose to be raised to life again, for me.

He chose me.

And He continues to choose me every day.

He continues to forgive, heal and comfort me every day.

He continues to choose to partner with me and show me His incredible plans for my life day by day.

girl on bikeHe has chosen me.

He has chosen to devote His entire existence to loving me.

He has chosen you too you know.

And now, more than any other choice in my life, the one that will continue to matter the most, the one that will continue to define my identity more than any other choice I could ever make, is the choice I make every new day to believe that He has called me chosen and worthy of that choice.

So today, once again, I choose Him back.

I choose to love others the way that He has chosen to love me.

And I choose to love myself because He has chosen to love me.

I am a choice.

I am His choice.

And that is the choice that ultimately defines my identity.

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Learn.

waitingThere’s a Target about a mile from my new house. I tend to walk there at least every other day, if for no other reason than to just be around something that’s familiar. There are definitely worse things I could do to cope with adjusting to a brand new life, but the effect of Target to cause you to spend money when you absolutely do not need to is something that could become detrimental if I don’t get into a better routine soon.

The theme of my life right now, besides Target, is learning. I have been trying to take in as many lessons as I can and not allow the overwhelming task of moving across the country to cause me to become unintentional about this season of life.

I was disappointed in myself after one week that I didn’t have a whole new life worked out already.

I rush everything.

But I can’t do that here. Busses, metros, unpacking, looking for churches, making friends, finding a way to invest in my new community and make a difference…it’s all slow stuff.

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I’ve been doing a bit better this week, letting myself sink into my days, not putting expectations on myself. I’ve been working on memorizing scripture and taking time to slow down in my studies to really allow myself to feel and know and rest in the Word of God. It’s one of the hardest disciplines of my life, and I can already feel it shaping my bones and my heart and my mind and my skin. It’s seeping in, and that in itself is a slow process, but it’s one that remains with you, one that changes you. It prepares you to be ready for what’s next, which is in itself a practice of active faith because you don’t get to see what He’s preparing you for.

It’s painful, it’s beautiful and sometimes it is just absolutely necessary. The discipline of waiting and listening to the Holy Spirit is a big one. The discipline of letting Him take control; of submitting every moment to His will—the when and where and how and what of His will—that is true battle training right there.

An intentional slowing down and season of preparation is one of the most effective things I believe any of us could do in order to glorify God.

I have very high expectations for my life–that it needs to be big and loud and impactful–and I genuinely believe that God has called me to big things, but who am I to define big?

waiting1Who am I to categorize the slow stuff as less than loud and powerful? I’m opposed to slowing down because I equate it with being ineffective. And I’ve come to learn that I don’t think I could be any further from the truth if I tried.

Jesus waited and learned and listened and prepared for 30 years before He started His public ministry. John the Baptist waited for the arrival of Jesus whom he had been prophesying the coming of in complete faith. Abram and Sarai waited for that promised baby. Joseph waited for justice for most of his life. Paul waited and prepared for years after his conversion to start actively spreading the truth of the Kingdom to those he had persecuted. In fact, I’m not sure I can think of hardly any stories in the Bible of people who didn’t have to wait in faith and the stories of the powerful results of that faithfulness are some of the most inspiring promises and gifts that God has ever given us.

 

IMG_3755The other night as I was walking home from one of my recently regular treks to Target I saw the most beautiful cloud in the sky. Now I definitely am someone who regularly appreciates nature, but there was something in the site of this cloud that made me so incredibly joyful in my heart that I stopped to take note of what the heck was going on inside of me.

As I stared at this cloud there was an overwhelming voice in my heart screaming at me (joyfully) “It’s going to be ok! Everything’s going to be ok!”

I almost laughed out loud. In fact, I thin I did! I kept wondering why this cloud was evoking such a stir of excitement and adventure in my heart on a lonely weird afternoon where the highlight of my day had been, once again, Target, and I realized it was because I was focused on the beauty of the moment I was in and as a result was completely free from the angst and stress of what the next moment was going to hold.

I was in that moment fully, and it was in me too. I was at total peace and that space of peace was exactly what I needed to be released from the pressure of making that moment anything but what it was.

 

stopwatchesIf I could sum up all of what I’ve been learning right now into one phrase, it would be that adventure is found by giving each moment the worth it deserves.

And in so doing, we find ourselves experiencing all that we don’t deserve but have been offered freely by our God if we choose to accept it, which is complete freedom to live out every different shape and size of a moment being able to fully trust Him that He’s going to be in every other moment that comes after it as well.

Be in it. Let it be in you. No matter what it is. Joy, sorrow, fear or peace. Dive in and invite God to come into it with you.

It’s going to be ok.