Thursday, December 3, 2009


It seems that in November, I was regularly confronted with the idea of choices. Two weeks ago I heard a sermon by Rev. Robin Renteria in which she asked:
How many choices take you away from what you really care about? How many take you toward what you really care about, what you value? How many choices are merely distractions. Or avoidance? Or denial?

I gave a seminar on issues in aging to our Pastoral Associates at church and spent another day at an eldercare resources fair sponsored by a local organization. At both, I spoke to people about maintaining independence as we age. One of the characteristics of independence is that we can make our own choices. As we grow into our elder years, we have choices about how we will live, who will help us if we become infirm, and what setting will give us the best lifestyle and care options. But I learned that choices are a slippery thing. If you choose no course of action, something may happen (a fall, a disease, a condition) that will close down options quickly and make the decision for you. The choices we make affect not just us, but also others around us. As much as we cry for independence of choice, choice is a very dependent action.

I’m in the process of choosing now. In what activities shall I engage for the next 10 years? What will be my daily life rhythm in the near future? What does my current behavior tell me about what I value, and do I want to make any changes? My choices will set a path, close out some options, open up others. Choice makes life easier and more difficult at the same time.

My counselor often said that making the first, major decision is the hardest part. To stay in a marriage or not. To sell a house or not. To move to assisted living or not. Once you have made that choice, the path becomes somewhat easier because the options you have become clearer. The path after the major decision has an immediate direction that can move you forward. Without that first decision, you are stuck, immobile.

The Bible not only shows us that God makes many choices, but also gives us advice on our own choices. So in your choices today, choose any of these verses for inspiration.

Proverbs 8:10
Choose my [Wisdom’s] instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold;

Proverbs 16:16
How much better to get wisdom than gold;
To choose understanding rather than silver.

Joshua 24:15
“...Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Luke 10:41-42 Visiting Mary and Martha
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Deuteronomy 30:19-20 (This is just the end. Read the lead-up from 29:2 through Chapter 30. Powerful stuff!)
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendents may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying him and holding fast to him; for that means life to you...

Blessings on your choices!

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