Tag Archive: choice


Every day we wake up we have a world of opportunity ahead of us [within our particular context, although if you are reading this on a computer, tablet or phone then your choice options are pretty huge compared to most] – there are a whole bunch of things that are set that we cannot affect, but there are also a whole bunch of choices and changes that we can definitely make.

Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it. [Groucho Marx]

Of course some choices we make will be more important than others and so it is good for us to really give those good attention and make them well.

“”Every morning in Africa, a Gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a Lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest Gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a Lion or a Gazelle… when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”

[different versions of the source of this quote so let’s stick with anon]

Where you will live. Where you will work. If you will work. Who you will spend time with. If you will date. Who you will marry.

And perhaps one of the biggest choices of all which most of us are probably not even conscious of making most of the time: Will I choose anything different today or will I simply stick with the previous choices and circumstances I have made or arrived at.

You can choose differently from what you have chosen before or what has been chosen for you. 

How will you choose today?

choose

14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” [Joshua 24]

 

 

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i’d love to make this sound like the cool kind of parable Jesus would have used, but i don’t think i can.

a rock

but if it was a fairy-tale type story it would begin with something sounding like ‘Once upon a time…’ and very quickly end up at the place of ‘Brett looked at the path and it was blocked by the giant obstacle. He didn’t know what to do next.’

and depending on your perspective on life and God and big obstacles, Brett might do very different things next.

if you’re a ‘glass half empty’ kind of person, you might see the obstacle as a sign that God placed the obstacle in your path so you wouldn’t choose that particular path. go and find another easier path, Brett. [this could be Balaam’s donkey warning you off the path, it could be Paul being blocked from going to Asia in Acts 16, it could be the angel with the sword keeping Adam and Eve from re-entering the garden]

if you’re a ‘glass half full’ kind of person, you might see the obstacle as a sign that the devil is worried about the work you are doing and is trying to stop you. keep on, Brett, find a way around or through the obstacle because that is the path you are meant to be walking. [this could be the Israelites crossing the sea, Abraham attempting to sacrifice Isaac, Daniel deciding to continue to pray and being thrown in the lion’s den]

the main problem is that in either case the obstacle looks the same. it’s not like obstacles are divided into ‘push through because it’s the enemy placing it there’ kinds of obstacles and ‘turn around because God is trying to tell you to go a different way’ kinds of obstacles… they both simply appear as an obstacle and if you get counsel from wise friends of yours, you might find yourself listening to both opposing pieces of advice [both of which are an understandable reading of the scenario]

and so the key has to be the Holy Spirit – being in touch with and in tune with God so He can reveal to you which one it is? do i stay or do i go?

easy, huh? unless of course you are having a bit of trouble hearing God on the matter and then it goes back to making a hopeful choice…

this is a scenario that plays out often in our lives and happened again this morning [well, over the last few days] as we have had such issues trying to book a flight for Val:

GHE: It’s a sign from God – don’t do this Relational Tithe thing – you are meant to pull out of it and stay here!
GHF: It’s an attack from the enemy – God wants you to push through and defeat the obstacle and He is allowing it to be there to strengthen your faith.

ah okay got it, this could go either way, so which is it God?

[sound of crickets]

and so there lies the dilemma – i do think the solution lies somewhere in making sure we’ve taken enough time to ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ [psalm 46.10] and then also to invite the wisdom [and listening] of Jesus following friends – maybe as we listen together, someone will be able to make out the quiet whisper of God…

if not, though, we will have to make a call and follow the path of whichever one we choose, knowing full well that we serve both a Loving and Faithful God who knows our hearts and gets that we have done everything we thought of to try and ascertain which path it was… a God who, if we get it wrong while honestly trying to get it right, is so much full of Grace and Love and Forgiveness and Compassion that He will not leave us treading water in the after effects of a decision gone wrong…

therein lies a lot of the confidence i have in God… that He is able to make Himself heard when necessary, that He is able to direct and guide and beckon, that He is so quick to rush in and help out when things go wrong, that His bride, the church, has been created with a role of helping to ensure that we don’t fall face first on the ground and lie there, wounded and bleeding, without doing something about it.

and so Brett has some paths, and some obstacles, and a beautiful Valerie alongside him… and he is listening and asking and waiting… trying to figure out which is God and which is the enemy and which is just plain life…

and he is not TOO worried at all.

[i would LOVE to hear your perspective and thoughts on the two ways an obstacle can be looked at and maybe an experience you have had in that]

my friend Rob takes the advice on how to create a strong marriage thing in a bit of a different direction with this solid advice:

Lock the escape hatch and throw away the key. With no way out we are left to work through our challenges together and become the purposed display or shadow of Christ and his bride to the world.

On a practical level:

– Give yourselves to the process of holiness more than happiness

– Dreams of a happy marriage not followed up by deliberate choices will not come true.

– Passive husbands will still be held responsible (just ask Adam). Lead.

[Rob Murray – married for 8 years]

to continue to the next part click here…

and coffee…

met some friends for coffee at the BP to celebrate the end of the week which has been interesting – quite a stressful time in terms of packing up the house and finishing off transcription work and trying to organise visas and a bunch of other stuff but i think that’s cool in a way – we don’t get to always choose when life happens to us – and while this live below the line week may have been largely insignificant in the bigger scheme of things i think that good came out of it for us – hopefully we have learnt to appreciate the little things and be more compassionate to people who have this situation thrust upon them as opposed to choosing it for themselves for a time period.

i guess today’s big lesson was that perseverance is easy when the end is in sight – if you know that 00:05 holds a cup of BP coffee for you then skipping the cup or so you would normally have during the day is no big deal at all and so today pretty much rushed by – yes it was quite a busy one on all fronts but we ate pretty well and finished big.

breakfast for me was two eggs on bread crusts [which i happen to dig] cos had to save the two slices for lunch [val didn’t have bread] and half an avo each so i stuck mine under the one fried egg – very yummy…

lunch was leftover noodle mix on snackwiches which was fairly decent…

supper was last two pork sausages well cooked as sausages [been chopped up rest of week] with rice and last of the beans/carrots and was really great – definitely ate enough food and the majority of it was not too bad [altho i think we killed lentils after just one meal – definitely pick rice or pap repeatedly over those]

so ja, with fasting or living below the line for a week it is made easier by the time frame – you choose when you want to do it and pick your structure/boundaries [just skip meals during day, just a daniel fast of fruit and veg only, absolutely nothing, how much money per day etc etc] and then do it for a time period and it’s over. for many people it’s not over.

i’m convinced that giving people a fish is not the answer – teaching them to fish or linking them up with the fisherman or taking down the company that is polluting the water that the fish should be freely available in are all bigger options… however, in the times and moments and busyness when those things are not immediately possible, sometimes giving a man [woman or child] a fish is better than not giving them a fish [especially when your waistline is probly over-fished]

i’m glad we did it, it wasn’t all fun, but it wasn’t all not fun and it certainly was not horrible and i hope we remember and learn and thing and treat and consider…

and we’re still alive, and muchly so…

i was in charge of supper duty and overestimated the amount of noodles we needed so we have a bunch of it left for tomorrow – green beans and a couple of carrots and two chopped up prok sausages [have 8 of those for the week visiting 4 different meals as our week’s meat, flip] and half an onion and half a packet of macaroni – and with only butter [well margarine, well actually something spread lite or something] as an additive it was difficult to give it taste but i did manage and it actually came out pretty good, my seconds [which was for some reason hotter than my firsts] tasted better cos it was hotter and val seemed to really enjoy it.

lunch was a sweet potato cut in half [one of the big mother ones] and microwave’d to the baked position and then butter [see above] and an avocado [the mielies we were going to have for lunch today were manky in the shops so val went for two avos instead – good call!] sliced and put inside it which was also very nice [given some spices and mayo i could really have turned that into a classic dish so may try that again sometime]

and then heading back to breakfast we had scrambled eggs on toast – three eggs, two toasts…

so substantial in terms of amount [especially with noodles left over and half of yesterdays ‘soup’stew as well and so the real question is did we learn anything today.

well i’m still battling a bit with my cough and throat so a pack of Halls or Strepsils would have been a nice additive – i know for val it’s coffee and so we’re already doing research on coffee places that will be open at 00:05 Friday night/Saturday morning ha ha – and yeah the drinks thing is a big one cos there is cold water and boiled water [which as i think i mentioned i used to drink a lot so i’m fine with that] and not much else – so all the extras really – chocolates [altho we don’t do a lot of that surprisingly enough], sweets [val loves sour sweets] popcorn [val LOVES popcorn] and so on… to go with the spices and cooking extras [mayo, chutney, tomato sauce etc etc]

so ja, kinda looked at that yesterday already so no huge revelation except the drinks and i guess the one thing that stands out in terms of the menu is the choosing – knowing what i know now i think i would have made some different decisions in terms of choice of food. val did a really amazing job figuring it all out but now that we’ve trodden that path i think we’d both ‘sacrifice’ lentils for something else [salt or sugar or a sachet of coffee maybe] and so the big realisation today is that when you don’t have much money, you don’t have much choice – we choose between the brands of coffee and cereal we want whereas a bunch of people have to choose not to have coffee or cereal or to find a staple cereal which will last the week or month [unsweetened etc etc]

so ja, it’s not fun, but it’s good, and it’s totally okay, it’s like we’re dying or suffering hugely or anything – have to remember that we chose to do this this week whereas many don’t get to make that choice

so this morning we had a third of a 500g portion of Jungle Oats between us with butter, no sugar [i whined!] and then for lunch we had two pieces of toast and a quarter of an avo each and then for supper we had two pieces of toast and an avo each [menu changed a little bit in terms of what’s on what day cos we came thru to cape town so had to adjust – same items just different days]

and i know it’s only been one day but what stood out for me today is that it was flippin boring and to some extent i imagine poor people have to put up with boring food… with R12 a day each for the week, we couldn’t even begin to consider coffee or tea or sugar or any of the twenty or so spices we have on our spice rack and so we are staying away from them – limiting all our consumingness to the things we were able to afford this week… and so gone are the choices of five different types of spread and so on. i imagine the poor find different ways of getting creative with what they have, but the kind of choices we take for granted are just not as available to them.

it’s only been one day. i’m hungry. i’d dig for a cup of coffee [just made me and tbV a nice cup of hot water – which i used to drink back in the day actually, was a long phase]. and realising that this thing, despite just starting, is not fun. oh wait, i guess that’s one of the point.

stay tuned for day 2…

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