All the kids came home for Christmas–an act of sacrifice and love on their part, an experience of chaos and comedy for everyone involved. Conversations can be hard to follow because so many people are talking all at once. As aunts and uncles interact with nieces and nephews and siblings talk and poke fun at one another, there is a constant hum of humor.
So, I was not surprised when I walked into the family room to hear Melody ask her nephew, Teagan, which he would rather do–squish a snake in his hands or step on spiders with his bare feet. The general ickiness of the question brought the “Oh, gross” comments from the more mature crowd. But the kids loved it. It’s a game she began with them when she got married just over a year ago, and Teagan really wasn’t willing to smile for the wedding pictures. The weirder the comparison, the more he’d laugh. And if it had to do with bodily functions, all the better. And the greater the laughter, the more disgusting the comparisons. Such is life.
As I listened to the back and forth of the comments, it hit me that this really is a picture of life. The choices we make affect how we respond to circumstances. At this time of year, the reality of this is huge. Do we spend a lot on gifts because giving is such fun, or do we scale back, watch our budget and feel sad about not being able to be visibly generous? Do we push ourselves to try and see everyone who’s around in a brief time, or do we let pass some social opportunities and regret not seeing someone who really matters? And with the new year coming, do we attempt to make resolutions we know we won’t keep, or do we acknowledge the futility of such decisions and then regret not thinking through how we could approach the new year with changed attitudes?
I stress over choices. I worry about making the wrong choices. Too often I find that I’m so fearful of making the wrong choice that I hesitate to choose–and then the choice has been made for me.
Jesus never stressed over choices. Granted, He is God. But even as He lived among us, He was guided in His decisions by simple truths. “If you obey My commands, you will remain in My love, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so My joy may be in You and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” John 15:10-12
If choosing to love others well were the foundation of all my decisions, the big choices would be made. Well. If caring for others by the grace of God was my focus, little decisions wouldn’t undo me. This new year or any new year.
My choice? I’d rather step on spiders with bare feet.