“You have a choice.”
It’s the line I feed my moody three year old when she can’t decide if she wants to obey or break down crying for no real reason. Apparently, being told you must go potty (the word you only use after becoming a parent) before you leave the house warrants tears and wailing like you just got run over by an 18 wheeler. I want her to know that actions have consequences but the choice is hers. It’s become something I say daily now with the terrible threes looming on for what feels like eternity (whoever made up the terrible twos just used two because it sounded better). I have spent the last few weeks very tired (I blame the tiny human I am growing), cranky, and a little bit fed up with the attitude my previously sweet and loving daughter has been dishing out. I want her to choose well.
Last night when I couldn’t sleep I was thinking about the choices we all have to make. Choosing well doesn’t quit when you turn 4, it keeps on presenting itself but the consequences get bigger and more detrimental the older we get. Real life is so much harder than three year old life. Jesus always invites us into the choice though. He never chooses for us.
“You have a choice” he whispers into our heart for every season of life we are in.
When babies are draining and life seems daunting and you just want to veg out to TV and waste away the precious (yet hardest) season of life.
“You have a choice” he whispers, when you are waiting for what seems like a lifetime to be married, pregnant, or whatever you are dreaming of.
“You have a choice” he pleads, when you want the quick fix instead of the long road. When right now seems good enough and your future feels far off.
“You have a choice” he calls, when you feel like the world owes you something and people have let you down. When everyday isn’t what you dreamed of, when people are constantly letting you down, when your life altogether isn’t the picture you had in your head.
You have a choice, he says, and I hope you choose me. Choose me, when you want to run to the world for quick comfort. Choose me, when you want to harbor bitterness instead of extending forgiveness, choose me when you don’t know where to take your dreams. Choose me, when you don’t know who to trust or where to run. Choose me, when you are lost, angry, alone, and weary. Choose me, because hate never cured a broken heart only arms spread wide on a cross can. I am never biased or uninterested in your fear or anger. I am never weary of your burdens or tired of your pain. I am most careful with the things that are most precious to you. Choose me, I have already gone to great lengths to make a way for you to have that choice.
He invites you in. No matter the story or the circumstance. We too often want to be three year olds flailing about like our life is the only one that is unfair. We hold our love from the God who loves us most like we might be able to convince him to give us what we think we need. Look around, the world is broken, everyone is hurting. I believe he was broken for us on that rugged cross but in the midst of our breaking world he is asking us to come as close to healing as possible. He is asking us to choose Jesus.
So often what keeps me from making the best choice is my pride, because Jesus asks me to do the things that are most unnatural to my selfish heart. Forgive, love without pretense, be patient, put others first, don’t harbor bitterness, he asks too much of me. I have often asked God when I can hear him telling me to do one of these things, “then who will look out for me?” If I put others first who will put me first, if I love unconditionally then I might get hurt, if I forgive I let go of a debt I think is owed to me. Then who is looking out for me?
“I am” he says.
It says he is near to those that draw near to him. It says he took all our shame and pain to the cross making him the perfect advocate on our behalf. HE looks out for me because he cares for me so I can choose him with full confidence. I can choose him because he went to the cross for my heart and no love has been greater. The pain will still come, the choice will still be hard, we will still have to wrestle our human hearts to obedience but what joy for those who find their hope in Jesus.
“Choose me” -Jesus