Thursday, June 25, 2009

Living a Chosen Life

When I moved from Nevada to Arizona three years ago, I had to decide on a new personalization for my license plate because CHOSEN, the plate I’d had for more than a dozen years, was not available in Arizona. After much consideration and deliberation, I settled on CHZLIFE. I’d only had it a few weeks when an incident caused me to question my choice. I pulled into a gas station, and as I was pumping gas, a car pulled up to the pump behind me. Two women got out who – how do I say this nicely – looked as if they had seen the seedier side of life, and one, who was either on drugs or was the way she was because of regular drug use, said out loud, “Cheese Life”. I corrected her… “it’s Choose Life”, and she responded with, “well duh… it’s better than choosing death”. So much for my cleverness after months of deliberation.

And yet, the irony is that she represented just the opposite of what I meant by that plate. Whether the meaning of my choice isn’t clear, or it’s just lost on some people, I realized after some thought that it is even more appropriate than I originally intended. While it is indeed a pro-life statement, Deuteronomy 30:19 comes to mind when I think of choosing life: “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.” All of life is affected by the choices we make and we choose life over death when we…
Choose a positive attitude over a negative outlook
Choose forgiveness over resentment and bitterness
Choose kindness over self-centeredness
Choose doing what is healthy over laziness
Choose effort over complacency
Choose compassion over condemnation
Choose listening instead of assuming
Choose waiting instead of pushing
Choose others before self
Choose to put the spiritual above the physical
Choose plans for eternity over temporary satisfaction
Choose God’s ways over our own
(I could go on, but you get the idea)
This, to me, is choosing life.

About 20 years ago, I kept coming across the scripture John 15:16 (see Words of Life) from different sources within a short period of time. When that happens, I begin to pay attention because God is telling me something. He was telling me quite simply that He had chosen me… thus, the choice for my Nevada license plate. Actually, He has chosen everyone. The difference is how we respond. I responded by accepting His call and I respond daily by trying to make choices “for life”.

We also have the power of life or death in the words we choose to speak – to ourselves and others. When someone shares a dream, we can give it life or we can kill it with our words. When someone wrongs us, we can respond likewise or we can change the pattern. We can encourage or we can demean. We can act with kindness or we can be rude. We can compliment or we can find fault. The choice is always ours.

I don’t live a perfect life, but I live a chosen life. The choices I make determine much of what happens in my life. If you want to have “control” of your life, do it by choosing life over death with each choice you make. Whatever is beyond our control is still affected by the choices we make in dealing with each particular circumstance. That is true control. Regardless of whom else we share our lives with, we have to live with ourselves, and making choices for life makes that much easier.

This blog is about The Chosen Life and it will continue down the alphabetical list at left as I share my thoughts on how to live a chosen life.