Choices don’t define us, they refine us. They don’t determine who we are ultimately, they just tell a story of who we were that day.
There is but ONE choice that defines us, but even THAT choice carries with it a daily choice to continue to follow or walk away.
When I was like 16 or 14 or 8 or something, my dad told us approximately 1 trillion times to NEVER drive our vehicle with less than 1/4 tank of fuel in it, it just was unnecessary, unwise, and un… cool maybe? Regardless, I have known this family ‘rule’ for a long time, yet I made a choice last week to push the limit with that in our RV. I had plenty of time to stop, had plenty of opportunities to grab some diesel (oh yeah… it was diesel) yet I CHOSE not to do so, thought I’d grab some on the way home. The indicator clearly stated that I had a few gallons left, it moved when we hit a bump, showing me that the fuel was sloshing a bit and making the indicator jump. So, on the way home from our weekend, we stopped in the town, pulled into the gas station through the bumpy parking lot, and put fuel in the RV. I started it after that and put it in gear, and after about 30 feet, it sputtered and shut off. Hmmmmm….. I thought. Well, guess what? I ran out of fuel at the exact moment I was at the gas station, or the bumpy lot caused a burp in the fuel line or something, but we were stuck. And, in a diesel you can’t just add more fuel and blam- nooooo- you have to ‘bleed’ the air out of the injector lines, something my buddy Zach (drummer from Day of Fire and certified diesel mechanic and also Batman) thankfully was able to walk me thru. 3 hours later we were back on the road, and several people’s lives had been inconvenienced and at very least affected by my choice.
About 24 hours earlier, we were sitting around a campfire with my family when the screams came, followed by many kids running, medical advice being thrown around, and me yelling at my mom (a Registered Nurse) about the kind of ice pack we should use (I was wrong). In a bid for ‘worse parents ever’ my wife and I had allowed our daughter to ride bikes with the cousins without her helmet. We never do this- seriously- never. But, we did, and an emergency room visit and a couple stitches in the lip and a giant bruise on the forehead later, we were back at the campground. Several people’s lives had been inconvenienced and at very least affected by our choice.
I’ve been thinking a bit since then about choice, and consequence and how no one is an island, but that sorta simmered for a few days and was reduced to a thought yesterday morning as I took my monthly shower (monthly! really? no, not really.)
I was thinking about how distance seems to be evident between us and God when we finally take a look around, but the reality is it is ALWAYS a choice on our part to separate, not a choice by God to leave us.
- The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deut. 31:8)
Distance is there, no doubt about that. Several people’s lives have been inconvenienced and at very least affected by our choice, no doubt about that either.
Where these 2 thoughts seemed to collide in the shower yesterday was in that very thought- we are the ones who make the choice alone, it is US walking away, or standing still and, in that, not walking toward Christ (which is in essence, walking away). We are the ones who make that choice to leave, but it isn’t a choice for us alone- we live in community; we live in society; we live amongst others, or we don’t. And, in NOT choosing to live in community, several people’s lives are inconvenienced and at very least affected by our choice. We rob, and steal and kill and destroy the hope and grace that God wants FOR us and wants THRU us when we choose to live apart from God and apart from those He’s created us to be with. Stealing, killing, destroying…. sounds like a thief I heard about in John 10:10, and something I want nothing to do with.
How are YOUR choices affecting others, how are they affecting YOU? Is today maybe a good day to take a shower & take stock of where YOU are with Christ? “Choose this day whom you will serve”, but know that choice comes with weight, and is not made in isolation.