Posts Tagged With: choice

Hardly Easy

There it sits. Staring you right in the face. Your heart starts to pound. Your mind begins to race.

Should you grab the donut or opt for a fruit cup? Would it be ok to sneak a peek at the answer key to an upcoming test or spend hours studying? Will you turn in the lost wallet with all the cash or take a “tip” for yourself beforehand? Shall you strap on your tennis shoes and head to the gym for a work out or stay planted on the couch? Are you going to stay snuggled under the covers for a few more minutes of snoozing or peel yourself out of bed for some quiet time with the Lord?

You must make a choice… but what will it be??

So... what's it gonna be?

So… what’s it gonna be?

It’s a constant battle of easy versus hard.

And the bottom line choice is hardly easy.

On the one hand, the at-the-tip-of-easy choice seems to be just that– easy. Right there. Quick fix. Enjoyable. Instant gratification.

But then your blessed conscience (or Jesus) enters stage left and complicates the whole situation.

We all know what we SHOULD do… but following through on it is a whole different ballgame.

Now, this post is not intended to be a guilt-inducing post. I mean, after all– we all need a donut and some snuggly couch time now and again. But the purpose of this post is to acknowledge that doing the right thing is hardly ever easy.

You’ve heard that saying “Anything worth doing doesn’t come easy.”

How true (and sometimes frustrating!) that is!

Making the “hard choice” is good for us in the long run– but sometimes it seems super lame in the moment.

Being a legit and genuine Christian is “hard-ly easy…” It requires dedication, sacrifice, grace (lots and lots of grace) and perseverance.

Heck, if it were easy, EVERYBODY would do it– and I wouldn’t need to be involved in ministry at all. But here’s the great news… Christ understands what it is like to make the tough choice.

Let’s look at the “hardly easy” choices that Christ made on our behalf. He chose to be obedient and leave His Father’s side to come to earth. He chose to go against the flow of the world, to stand up for what God instructed Him to do. He never wavered. Even in the garden, the night before He was captured to be crucified  (on our behalf) He made the most difficult, sacrificial, non-easy choice of His earthly life. He said “God, I would really appreciate it if I didn’t have to go through with this. I really don’t want to hang on the cross, be briefly separated from you and die– but if that’s the bottom line choice you want me to make, it’s hardly an easy one… but I will do it because I love you and I love ALL your children.” (That’s my very loose paraphrase… 🙂 )

So He did. Christ made His choice. He was obedient to the Father, even though it cost Him His life. And it sure wasn’t easy. But if you ask Him… I guarantee He will say it was worth it.

Because He loves you THAT much. Just that thought alone should be encouragement enough for us to not only talk the Christian talk– but walk the Christian walk.

What choices do you struggle with the most? What do you think the hardest thing about being a genuine Christian is? What is most rewarding?

Jesus fully understands our struggles and choices. The choice to follow Him is hard-ly easy– but as hard as it seems, it sure is worth it!

Making the choice today for Him,
SGK

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” ~Matthew 7:13-14 NIV

Categories: Christ | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Choice (Anxiety-Free Monday, Wk 3)

Hmmm… Coke or Pepsi? Tennis shoes or boots? Salad or Big Mac?

We make thousands of choices a day. I know that sounds a little bit crazy, but seriously– just think about it. From the moment we wake up, our brain is buzzing, making decisions before our feet even hit the floor. (Even the action of getting out of bed is a choice!)

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get a little overwhelmed with all the choices that whack me in the face each day. Sure, I love having control (which is an entirely separate issue) but some days I halfway wish someone would just make the choice for me.

Especially the difficult ones.

That’s right– not all of our choices are as easy as what we will wear or if we will go to the gym after work or not. There’s some tough choices out there… like what career to pursue, where to live, who to marry (or to get married at all), or who/what will be the center of our lives.

Questions

Source: Oberazzi via Flickr

With freedom can come choice… and with choice can come anxiety.

But did you know that we can make a choice NOT to be anxious and instead be content? I know, I know, we gotta chalk that one up in the “easier said than done” category. But it IS possible.

Paul says in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Um, yeah… Great idea, Paul. But HOW in the name of Jesus do we make that happen?

We do just that– simply whispering Jesus’ name is a great place to start.

We must CHOOSE to pray instead of worry. It’s a choice we can make with each thought, no matter how big or small our challenge or circumstance might be.

In Linda Dillow’s book “Calm My Anxious Heart,” she addresses this very question with four of Paul’s basic practice principles to CHOOSING God over our worrisome inclinations:

*Choosing to give our anxieties to God
*Choosing to pray specifically
*Choosing to be thankful
*Choosing to dwell on the positive

It’s a choice. Daily. Hourly. Minute-by-minute. It’s not going to happen over night, (darn!) but as with all things that God calls us to do, He doesn’t expect us to do it alone.

Ultimately, we have to CHOOSE God over ourselves. See, our flesh loves to have control and when things don’t go OUR way, we tend to worry or get upset. Instead, we can make the choice to trust God with EVERYTHING in our lives. When we do, He will help us to calm our anxious hearts and find contentment in Him alone.

So I have a couple of questions for you today:
1. What is the biggest barrier to choosing to pray instead of defaulting to being anxious?
2. What practical things can you do to choose prayer over worry?

I always love hearing your thoughts– leave a comment below! 🙂

They say it takes (at least) 21 days to change a habit. What if, for the next 21 days, each time our heart flops and a worry bubbles up, we mentally STOP… And pray it away? After awhile, we wouldn’t just have a new habit– But God would have transformed our heart.

Choosing prayer over worry can be one of the best choices we will ever make. So what will you choose?

Choosing Him First,
SGK

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.” ~Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG) 

******

If you are “officially” participating in our online bible study for Calm My Anxious Heart, here is Chapter 3’s “homework” for the upcoming week. Enjoy! 

Day 1: Study Guide– Question 1, Memorize Psalm 139:14

Day 2: Study Guide– Question 2, 3, 4, 5

Day 3: Study Guide– Question 6, 7, 8 a.,b.

Day 4: Study Guide–Question 9a,b, 10

Day 5: Study Guide– Question 12

***Extra (as in, you don’t have to do it– but if you are into it, go for it!***

Word Study:  Psalm 139:14 (Remember Old Testament is written in Hebrew)
Fearfully; Wonderfully; Made; Works; Wonderful; Know

Word Study:  Phil. 1:6
Confident; Began; Work; Completion

Categories: Anxiety Free Monday | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Ink Pen in the Dryer

You recognize it immediately.  You feel like you have been sucker punched. Your breath gets cut short. You gasp. Your heart leaps into your throat and your stomach drops. There it is…

The aftermath of… an ink pen in the dryer.

What might a laundry fail could be a faith victory... Your choice.

Ok, ok… So maybe I am being just a wee big melodramatic. But seriously, most folks who have done laundry (which I am hoping is a majority of the readers out there) know that feeling.

You open the door and there inside your once-pearly white dryer are smeared-in stains of an ink pen that met its melty fate. And don’t even get me started on the condition of the clothes that were in that load. Sigh.

Oh, and it doesn’t just have to be an ink pen– it could be gum, play-doh, lipstick… Regardless, its a mess. A frustrating mess at that.

As an army wife, I think there is some clause buried deep between our marriage certificate and enlistment papers that says this ink pen in the dryer experience is a right of passage. Army uniforms have A LOT of pockets. When we are in a hurry, sometimes that blessed pen gets overlooked.

The first time this happened to us was during our very first red phase as a drill sergeant here in Georgia. We had been married less than a year and in this state for less than a month. My adjustment to Georgia and the ridiculous absence of my husband/purpose in life was going a little less than smooth. (Can you say stressed out?)

Our washer/dryer set was less than a month old. It was the first set we had ever owned due to apartment living for all of our adult lives. That fateful night, my husband threw in a load of laundry. (Side note: Praise Jesus my husband even DOES his laundry.)

I heard that familiar buzz to signal the end of the dryer cycle and went into the kitchen to switch it out. I opened the dryer and… well, just insert the feelings from the first paragraph here.

I was already emotionally exhausted and that ink pen that had exploded/melted all over his uniform and our beautiful brand new dryer put me over the edge. I was so steamed. Frustrated. Angry. And my beloved was in the living room. Oblivious.

Slam! Stomp, stomp, stomp! <mumble, mumble, mumble>. For the next hour or so, I tried every method I could to remove the ink from the inside of my precious dryer. Ajax, SOS pads, steel wool, lysol, etc… Even hot, angry tears didn’t work.

It took the better part of the evening for me to recover. And forgive my husband. And relinquish my fantasy of a forever-white dryer.

Wouldn’t you know it– I encountered another ink pen in the dryer last week. This time, I was the one who did the laundry. It was first thing in the morning and I went to switch the load between rounding up breakfast and heading to the living room to sit at the feet of Jesus… In peace.

I opened that dryer door, saw the epic fail that was my laundry/dryer, and mumbled some combination of “Frick” and “Crap.” (I think it was Crick? Or Frap?) Suddenly, I stopped. I decided that this would NOT ruin my day, and I was going to turn it over to God.

That’s what I did. I cleaned out the dryer, sorted through the clothes to survey the damage… Then moved on to have Jesus time.

Guess what? My day went really well.

Here’s the thing. We are all gonna have “Ink pen in the dryer” kind of days. You know– The ones where it all seems to fall to pieces, sometimes before we get started. But God cares about our challenges– even if they seem trivial. Like an ink pen in the dryer. If it matters to you… it matters to God.

I had a choice. And so do you. Next time you are faced with an ink pen in the dryer kind of day, pause for just a second and consider what is at stake.

Give it over to God… Because He can wash us clean daily… even those tough stains remaining from an ink pen in the dryer.

Faithfully Inky,
SGK

“You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.” 2 Corinthians 3:3 (NIV)

Did you enjoy today’s post? When was the last time you had an “ink pen in the dryer” day? What did you do? I would love to hear all about it. Leave your comments here. 🙂

Categories: attitude, calm, Clean, faith, frustration, God, husband, washed | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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