The Gift of Choices

I sat there, eating a bowl of cereal and reading a book when I ran across a discussion between two characters that made me stop and think about what was said. The main character told a subordinate about making choices and how everything comes down to what they choose. It made me think that I had the option to sit in my rocker rather than at my desk, have cheese toast instead of cereal for breakfast (or even dinner), and select that particular book because it was a favorite of mine. I had made those decisions before reading the discussion. After reading it, I realized how many choices I have and make every minute of every day. 

I have made some bad decisions in my life; most of us have. It’s how I react to my choices that make a difference. Even my reactions to those decisions result from how I feel about how I came to choose one thing over another. If I decided on the wrong thing or path, I had the option to feel bad about it, ignore it, or make a promise to choose differently next time. Alternatively, I could learn from it and grow wiser, maybe not happy about how things turned out, but at least somewhat pleased I had a guide on possible other ways to handle something differently. 

At my age, there are many things I have no control over, like my aches and pains, the cost of living, and even the ability to keep driving or give the car up. Some aches and pains I can choose to try to alleviate with medicine, while others I simply accept as a price of growing older. I can’t control the cost of living, but I can be grateful to have a roof over my head, food for me and my boys (the cats), lights, running water, books, and knitting supplies to keep me busy. As I get older, I find I want less and less. As for transportation, donating my old vehicle to charity freed me from license fees, taxes, insurance, and gasoline, thus giving me extra money for groceries, utilities, and the like. 

I started thinking about God and choices. God could have made us to be like little robots, every one exactly the same, following the same orders, doing what we are told without any recourse to selecting an individual path or action. While many parts of our lives are controlled by internal or external forces like our heart beating or being born somewhere in the world where life is more demanding and living conditions harsher, we could consider ourselves fortunate to be in a life and an environment where choices abound. I have to thank God for that.

I think about how some people choose to believe in God while others either pass on the opportunity or never have a choice. I think I even have the option of the kind of God to believe in. Some people put God in a box and define God according to their wishes and thoughts. In contrast, others choose to believe in a God of infinite patience, kindness, justice, and mercy. The God I believe in lets me be me, faults and all, and allows me to trust that God will be with me, no matter what. Even when my faith is shaky, I still choose to believe in God; I have that choice. 

Each day I make choices, including believing God loves me enough to let me make good or bad choices. I can share what I believe or keep silent about it. To testify to God’s love and mercy, I don’t have to mention God in every sentence (or even paragraph or page). I don’t have to carry a Bible around with me all the time to impress people or identify myself as Christian. How I choose to act in any given moment or situation takes care of that. That is how I choose to demonstrate the impact of following Jesus’s way of living and loving in my life. 

I’m glad I have choices. It’s so much better than being a puppet or a robot or stuck in a religious style that seeks to control my thoughts and behaviors directly. It all goes back to the simple choice of picking an apple or not. 

Choice – what a concept, and what a gift. 

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