The Only Thing You Have to do is Choose
February 26, 2009, 9:07 am
Filed under: family, spiritual formation

Many years ago – back when I was in college – I decided to start seeing a counselor.  I don’t remember how long I met with him, but I do know that it was an extremely helpful, formative time for me.  This counselor is Christian, and in the cognitive/cognitive-behavioral school of thought.  His spiritual orientation was highly cognitive, and I would say that his cognitive orientation was highly spiritual, if that makes sense.

He was big – like really, really big – on getting me to own my identity as a chooser.  He used to say things like, “There are no have-to’s.”  “You don’t have to do anything.”  “You get to do things, you don’t have to.”  While I found that mode of thought highly annoying and highly inconvenient at times, I eventually came to acknowledge the truth in it.  I am a chooser – I make choices all day, every day.  Some are mundane, some less so.  The vast majority of choices I make are subconscious – the choice of whether or not to brush my teeth, whether to drive to work or walk, whether to turn on the computer or not.  I just do these things.  But the truth is, if I slow myself down enough, I can see the choices hanging out back there in the recesses of my mind.

There are some things I don’t get to choose, though.  For an extreme example, I could get hit by a drunk driver today and “have to” live the rest of my life without the use of my legs.  I do choose my attitudes and responses to a circumstance like that, but I just don’t have the kind of control over my life to prevent all bad things from happening . . . or even cause all good things to happen.

I’m in a phase of life right now where I don’t have a ton of control over some things that are taking place.  I’m in a place where the choices I have are limited to how I’m going to respond, how I’m going to manage my attitudes.  It is not for me to decide whether or not the circumstances I’m in are fair or just – I just get to choose what I’m going to do with my heart, my words, my prayers.  Let me just say that I don’t like this.  I want control.  I want to change things.  I want more choice.  But I don’t get that.  I can only choose whether to act in love, grace, understanding, and peace.  To be clear, I don’t have to do that either.  I could (seemingly justifiably) act out of anger, vengeance, and self-protection.  But what will be gained in that?

The Kingdom of God is full of choices.  Choose ownership over yours today. I will do the same.

Peace friends.


1 Comment so far
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Hi Steve. I just randomly picked your link form the lent page to read. My sons name is Lewis so…thats all. anyway, before I got the the lent blog I got to this one about choosing and i thought it was excellent. I will choose ownership of my choices today. thanks.

Comment by Ali

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