A recent outing with Emma, my two year old granddaughter, got me to thinking about choices. God gives us so many every day and each one influences our life for good or evil, towards selfishness or selflessness, and into peace rather than anxiety and fear. Sometimes the choices are obvious as are the consequences, but at other times they are so subtle we do not even realize we are making a choice. Watching Emma navigate her morning brought to mind both scenarios.
Yesterday, Erin (my daughter) and I took Emma over to “Gigi’s” (Marjorie’s) house for a visit and to meet her new kitten, Callie. Emma loves animals and was very excited to make introductions. We had told her that Callie would probably be shy and scared of us since she didn’t know us yet. In her exuberance, Emma belly crawled down to meet the kitty hiding under the desk. Emma was talking sweetly to her but Callie shot out her scariest hiss and spit! Emma’s cat, Boo Boo, had never done such a thing, so Emma wasn’t expecting such a greeting. She jumped back as fast as she could, hid behind her mommy, and put her hands over her ears! We explained that Callie was frightened and that we needed to give her a little time and space. Later, Gigi caught Callie and Erin, “the cat whisperer”, calmed her down. When Callie began purring, Erin told Emma that the kitty was now relaxed and asked Emma if she wanted to hold her. I thought Emma might be hesitant after the hissing/spitting fright, but she hopped right up on the couch and proceeded to hold and snuggle Callie, pronouncing her, “so cute”! Without any contemplation, discussion, or even realization, she simply CHOSE TO BELIEVE her mommy. If Mommy said it was fine, then it must be! She chose to listen to and believe her mother without even thinking about it, because her mom has proven herself and her word trustworthy.
A little later in the morning, a more obvious choice presented itself to Emma Grace. She LOVES to go throughout the rooms in Gigi’s house gathering fascinating and sometimes breakable, knick-knacks. She finds little ceramic bunnies and ducks, stuffed animals, interesting books, angels, . . . you name it. In her defense, she is very careful with them. Yesterday, she came in from the living room with a lovely glass statue of a girl which she found enthralling. Erin told her that she needed to put it back as it was breakable and it was time to go to lunch. Emma did not want to and started to express that. Erin mentioned “time out” if she did not obey. I told her, “Emma, you have a choice. You can either put the girl back or go sit in time out. What is your choice?” She REALIZED SHE HAD A CHOICE, contemplated a moment, and immediately and without complaint put the breakable back and happily moved on to the next thing.
The morning made me think about how our choices can make our lives either easier or much more difficult. Joshua 24:12-13 says, “. . . choose now this day whom you will serve . . . But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” I chose many years ago who I would serve and that decision has turned many daily options, large and small, into no-brainers. I ALREADY CHOSE how I want to live my life and Who I want to serve and obey. I know God’s ways and I do not have to deal with agonizing about whether I want to obey Him or not, I have ALREADY decided that, to the best of my ability, I will choose His ways. I live out His ways by what I choose to do and not do, as well as what I listen to, watch, say, read, think about . . .
At the same time, it takes constant discipline to be aware of the subtle choices I make daily, especially the thoughts I allow to take root. I love how Emma just BELIEVED her mommy and took her word as truth. I want to be like that with my Heavenly Father. For example, I know He tells me not to fear or worry and I want to simply BELIEVE Him that fear and anxiety are useless, unnecessary, and to be refused. Joshua1:9 tells me to, “Be not afraid neither be thou dismayed, for the Lord thy God is with you wherever you go.” I can choose to take His Word as truth and to refute fearful thoughts with ones of faith.
This means I need to daily follow Paul’s example in 2 Corinthians 10:5: “We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, . . .” It is my choice whether I take every thought captive or not! This takes intentionality, but it has changed my life. Mom has reminded me many times that my life is lived in my thoughts.
“For as he thinks within himself, so he is.”
I am thankful that God has given me the opportunity to choose, since not only the obvious choices that come up every day, but even my own subtle thoughts influence the course of my life. May I be intentional in keeping them on Him throughout each day and choose His ways and His truth over the lies of the enemy. Are my choices ones God will bless and do they draw me closer to Him or farther away? Food for thought . . .