Well, it’s not quite light and I’m snuggled up on my couch. I’m watching the lovely snow dance and swirl around the trees in my woods--then settle, exhausted and silent, on the frozen ground. Now, normally, I would be filled with delight at its beauty and its accompanying solitude, the unexpected gift of a day interrupting the routine. But I am supposed to be in my car, on my way to celebrate Christmas with my southern belle granddaughters in Durham tomorrow. And one of my wonderful grandsons is graduating from the College of Missionary Aviation on Sunday in Florida. Instead of clicking off the miles heading south, I am clacking away on my laptop going nowhere. Rats!
Life doesn’t always go according to my plans, even my good ones.
But now I get to choose. Will I choose to be angry? Will I let my frustration and my disappointment control me? Will I then lash out at Kenny or be short and rude to my dear in-laws (who now live with us)? Will I be uptight and anxious and make myself feel physically rotten? Will I kick the dog—if I had one? I am disappointed and frustrated, there is no doubt. But I do have a choice.
Author Max Lucado, in a preface to his devotional, Grace for the Moment, addresses this idea of choosing. I think you will appreciate his thoughts as much as I do. This is something I aspire to as I greet an unknown and uncharted 2018.
It’s quiet. It’s early. My coffee is hot. The sky is still black. The world is still asleep. The day is coming.
In a few moments the day will arrive. It will roar down the track with the rising of the sun. The stillness of the dawn will be exchanged for the noise of the day. The calm of solitude will be replaced by the pounding pace of the human race. The refuge of the early morning will be invaded by decisions to be made and deadlines to be met.
For the next twelve hours I will be exposed to the day’s demands. It is now that I must make a choice. Because of Calvary, I am free to choose. And so I choose.
I CHOOSE LOVE
No occasion justifies hatred;
no injustice warrants bitterness. I choose love.
Today I will love God and what God loves.
I CHOOSE JOY
I will invite my God to be the God of circumstance.
I will refuse the temptation to be cynical…
the tool of the lazy thinker. I will refuse to see
people as anything less than human beings, created by God.
I will refuse to see any problem as anything less than
an opportunity to see God.
I CHOOSE PEACE
I will live forgiven. I will forgive so that I may live.
I CHOOSE PATIENCE
I will overlook the inconveniences of the world. Instead of
cursing the one who takes my place, I’ll invite him to do so.
Rather than complain that the wait is too long,
I will thank God for a moment to pray. Instead of clenching my
fist at new assignments, I will face them with joy and courage.
I CHOOSE KINDNESS
I will be kind to the poor, for they are alone.
Kind to the rich, for they are afraid. And kind to the unkind
for such is how God has treated me.
I CHOOSE GOODNESS
I will go without a dollar before
I take a dishonest one. I will be overlooked before I will boast.
I will confess before I will accuse. I choose goodness.
I CHOOSE FAITHFULNESS
My debtors will not regret their trust. My associates will not
question my word. My wife will not question my love.
And my children will never fear that
their father will not come home.
I CHOOSE GENTLENESS
Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle.
If I raise my voice, may it be only in praise.
If I clench fist, may it be only in prayer.
If I make a demand, may it be only of myself.
I CHOOSE SELF-CONTROL
I am a spiritual being…
after this body is dead, my spirit will soar.
I refuse to let what will rot rule the eternal.
I choose self-control. I will be drunk only by joy.
I will be impassioned only by my faith.
I will be influenced only by God.
I will be taught only by Christ.
I choose self-control.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,
goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
To these I commit my day.
If I succeed, I will give thanks.
If I fail, I will seek His grace.
And then, when this day is done
I will place my head on my pillow
It’s still snowing and the wind is relentless. There is no way we should be out in this. A bit reluctantly, I am choosing patience. I am trusting God, who is not surprised by this blizzard- wannabe nor the thwarting of my plans. It has been a good morning to write, reflect, and pray, a special gift of unexpected time from my Dear Father who knew just what I needed.
It feels good, doesn’t it, to make the right choices, to walk in the Spirit, making decisions according the Holy Spirit’s guidance and acting with the spiritual power that He provides? I wish I could say my life always bears fruit like this, which is pleasing to God.
I am praying it will be my pattern for this year.
How about you?
- Eileen Hill