Life is all about choices.
When I was younger, the choices I made were small and affected very few people. It’s interesting to reflect on how this changes as you grow older. Where once I was simply choosing what to grab for lunch between classes, now I’m making a meal plan for the week, or moving country, or even getting married. Sometimes I find myself having to make choices at work that affect thousands of people, and involve a lot of money.
There’s a thread that runs through all of my choices however, and that’s been how I choose to react to life as it unfolds around me. Every day I’m faced with that choice, because whilst there are few guarantees in life (beyond death and taxes), I can guarantee that life is going to going to throw unexpected things at me, and some of those things are going to really hurt. And in those moments when I’m knocked down – when I don’t get the job I want, or when someone betrays my trust, or when I fail to live up to the standard I want to, I’m choosing how I react, whether I want to let it settle in or let it go. I’m choosing how I want my heart to grow.
The Bible says a lot about the heart. In Proverbs, we’re encouraged to guard our heart, because it determines the course of life. In Romans, Paul encourages us to be transformed as God works in us. And Jesus tells us that God blesses those who are pure in heart. These are always challenging scriptures for me, especially when I’m dealing with disappointment. I want to keep short accounts with people, to not let things pile up in my heart which cloud my judgement and leave me hurting. But sometimes it’s hard to overcome the tides of disappointment that assault the coastline of my heart. (Ridiculously heavy metaphor? Check.)
So it boils down to this: I’m not sure where you’re at today, or what might be bothering you. Maybe you lost someone you love, or maybe you didn’t get what you wanted. Maybe life just stinks today. I’d encourage you to remember that while you might be feeling down, you don’t ever have to be knocked right out. You can still pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and give it another go. Because every time you and I are reacting, we have a making a choice to become bitter or better.
And I’m determined to choose better today.