Today I have given you a choice between life and death, success and disaster. … Today I am giving you a choice of two ways. And I ask heaven and earth to be witnesses of your choice. You can choose life or death. The first choice will bring a blessing. The other choice will bring a curse. So choose life! [Deuteronomy 30:15,19 (ERV)]
There is a way that people think is right, but it leads only to death. [Proverbs 14:12 (ERV)]
Perhaps you’ve seen the television ad that shows a woman who, after taking a taste test, discovers that the spaghetti sauce she’s been purchasing for years isn’t the best one. “I wonder what other questionable choices I’ve made?” she asks as the viewer sees a flashback to her dreadful hairstyles from the past. Having recently gone through our photo albums, I can attest to making several appalling choices in the way of hair, fashion and make-up. Fortunately, my worst choices were never captured on film. Unfortunately, those choices were far worse than the wrong pasta sauce, a frizzy perm, white eye shadow, or a plaid blazer so loud it required ear plugs.
Questionable choices—we all have made them and I suspect we all would rather not make any more of them. Yet, somehow we still do. It’s been said that “ego” is simply an acronym for the phrase “Edging God Out” and I’d have to agree. When we let our egos rule, we’re really telling God that we know better than He does. When egos rule, questionable choices often result. Looking back at my poor choices, I realize they all have something in common: the lack of prayer. Those faulty choices were the result of me trying to edge God out: I was sure I knew what I wanted or needed and how to go about doing or getting it. I was positive I didn’t need any advice, help or guidance from God in my decisions. How mistaken I was!
Fortunately, God is forgiving, generous and caring and my poorest choices, while leaving me a bit battered and scarred, didn’t leave me permanently maimed. Jesus never left my side and the Holy Spirit kept whispering in my ear until I finally understood that God knows best. My questionable choices in fashion may well continue but, if I allow God to lead me, my other (far more important) choices will unquestionably be good ones.
We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves. [Thomas Merton]