Recently I was faced with a choice. For me it was clear which was right and which was wrong, and my head never had to debate which the right choice was. It was obvious and clear.
What surprised me was how much my heart and emotions had to debate the choice.
It really got me thinking about the fact that we’re given free choice, God gave us free will. He doesn’t bend our will to fit His, He lets us to choose. And He lets us choose in our own time.
Our days are filled with choices, large and small, and many of them don’t make any difference to the direction of our lives. Do we have tea or coffee? Do we take a second helping of dinner? Do we have a bath or a shower? Laundry today, or tomorrow? Going for a run or watching TV?
None of these choices really matter.
But what if we kept making the same choice over and over..
If I drink coffee every day in the afternoon, I’ll most likely start losing sleep.
If I repeatedly take second helpings of dinner, I will gain weight.
If I indulge in a bath every day, I will not be available to my family (and my water bill will bankrupt us!)
If I always put laundry off until tomorrow, I’ll end up being naked tomorrow!
If I never go for a run, I’ll never hit my targets, or gain fitness.
Suddenly our choices have affected the direction of our lives.
Sometimes our daily, insignificant, mundane choices affect the direction our lives go in more than we think. They seem to creep up on us, and suddenly jump out at us, having been transformed into a huge issue.
That second helping, in an of itself, is insignificant, we all do it! But what if after 6 months, or after 2 years, or after 10 years, of repeatedly taking more than we need, we are confronted with being massively over weight? Suddenly, that small choice has become a huge problem.
The same can be said of many choices we make. It is so easy to suddenly find ourselves in deep water, because we hadn’t realized how far out we’d been paddling. What is amazing is that in this situation, we have a choice again. We can continue to go deeper into the unknown, and potentially drown, or we can choose to return to shore. Put our lives in order, and continue life in a safe place.
This isn’t to say that we should never take risks. We should! I believe that God loves a trusting heart, who isn’t afraid of risk! But there is always discernment in risk.
Sometimes we paddle out just far enough that we feel those sudden butterflies in our stomach, when we know that we are about to enter a dangerous place. We can choose what we do. For me, when I hit this place, I probably stood there for longer than I should. I saw the attraction of playing in the waves, the thrill of the unknown, and the fun of the spray.
What eventually got my heart and emotions to catch up with my head, was the gripping fear of the strength of the undercurrent. This wasn’t a safe current that you can play in and have fun with. This was a rip tide, that you cannot go against, and probably won’t survive. In that instance, I put my feet down, turned 180 degrees, and chose to walk away.
What did I learn?
The liberty of knowing that I chose the right thing. The conflict is gone. My heart is clear, and matches my head. The path I’ve chosen I can embrace and appreciate it all the more, because I’ve chosen it. It’s mine. No one forced me, no one talked me into it, no one convinced me. I chose it for myself.
And this is why God loves choice.
He wants us to choose Him in the same way. To have a clear heart. To embrace the path with Him that we’ve chosen, and appreciate it, because we’ve chosen Him. He’s ours, and we are His. No one has forced us to choose Him. No one talks us into it, and no one convinces us. We chose Him for ourselves.
That is the most powerful choice we can ever make.
This article originally appeared on Simcha Natan’s blog, November 12, 2017, and reposted with permission.