Monday, July 11, 2011

The Right to Choose

I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place, and the pressure is pushing in so powerfully, it's making me want to react. It makes me want to be rash, to be reactionary. It makes me want to do what I know would (at least in the moment) make me feel better.

It isn't a constant feeling, it isn't overwhelming all the time, but it rises up suddenly. It's almost like standing in the surf at the beach. When the water recedes, it is peaceful, even pleasant. But I turn in the surf and suddenly a wave rises up and hits hard and the calmness is replaced by a tidal wave of emotion that begs for a response.

I think about the way of the world. If I lived by its code, my response would be to do exactly what my heart cries out for. I would worry about myself and do what I want to do, and everyone else be damned. That's what the world says, "Do what feels right." "Look out for number one (because no one else will.)"

But that isn't the way things are in the Kingdom of God.

First of all, I no longer belong to myself, and so I have surrendered my right to choose for myself to the Master.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Also as a Christian there is another factor tat has to be accounted for, which is how my decisions will effect others. The bible warns us (specifically in the time appropriate example of eating the meat of idols:)

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
1 Corinthians 8:9

I have been accused recently of not giving consideration to how my actions affect other people. But it isn't true. The truth is, in every decision I make I am always contemplating both how it will affect my relationship with the Lord, whether or not I am glorifying Him and whether or not my heart is right before Him, and 2nd of all I am always thinking about how my actions effect other people, because contrary to the accusations, I care deeply.

Sometimes though hard things have to be said. And sometimes you have to bear the backlash of hard choices.

Sometimes hard choices have to be made too. And sometimes the hardest choice to make is the choice to do nothing. Sometimes the choice is staying between the rock and the had place. Sometimes the choice is sucking in the wave of emotion and not responding or reacting.

Sometimes the hard choice is living with the hurt, being misunderstood and even being judged. Sometimes it has to be done, and sometimes it is so damn hard.

At the end of the day though, no matter what the reactions or judgments of another may be, I have to look around and see the good that God is doing in my life and even through my life and I have to remember that I know He knows my heart, even if no one else does.

A couple of months ago I had an experience I shared here on the blog. In the end, the Lord posed a question to me about what I was afraid of: man or disobeying God. It's a question He has posed to me again recently on a few occasions. It's funny how that day in the parking lot at Coffee Bean He settled that question with me, because in the days since, the answer has not been nearly as simple, but I knew the answer because He showed me in the simpler task.

So for now, I have to make some hard choices and say some hard things. So for now I have to accept the judgment and labels of people who believe they have me defined but really don't know me or my heart at all. So for now, I have to choose not to react or respond in my emotion or defense for the glory of God and for the good of others.

It's hard, it's really hard. But the right to choose is not my own. I have been "bought at a price" and I have to remember that there is so much more that matters than my own comfort and credit. Sometimes it doesn't feel fair, but God is bigger than what feels fair. I read a quote on Sunday that I've been holding to:

Since God is just, all that He permits is consistent with His justice... God's justice guarantees that ultimately all that is unfair will be dealt with.
-Joseph Stowell, The Upside of Down.

I'm not going to look at the rock, or the hard place. I'm not going to dwell on the accusations leveled against me. I'm not going to give heed to my own emotions or desires. I am going to surrender my rights to choose in all those things and wait on the Lord. Because if I do, He'll not only take care of me, but He'll do what is best for everyone involved, because He is the only one who has a full and accurate grasp or what is the truth.