Thursday, November 20, 2014

Choice

Girls.

Strong. Brave. Courageous. Determined. Spirited. Creative. Lovely.

Dumb.

I know this because I am a girl, and I have done some dumb things and I have believed some dumb lies. So I shouldn't have been surprised when the stories started rolling in about the girls in middle school, because if one slice of the population takes the cake for being dumb, it's those (boys, too) between the ages of 13 and 25.

Now that I am beyond the age of 25, I feel I am allowed to say this with certainty. Although many a dumb decision comes past that age, too. Just read the newspaper.

But this particular story got me raising both my eyebrows. I said story, because here's the thing about middle school: half (or more than half) of what you hear is a big ol' fabrication, made up to either a) hurt the person being talked about or b) elevate the status and therefore the attention received by the person being talked about.

As my pastor always says, hurt people hurt people.

I'll give you the details, you fill in the rest: high school boy, broken condom, TWELVE YEAR OLD GIRL, miscarriage.

You picking up what I'm laying down?

This is the gossip coming home to my ears, and I don't like it.

Because true or not (likely not, but what do I know), somebody along the way made a really dumb decision. To make up a story and tell it. Or to actually participate in this sordid love lust story.

I have all kinds of questions related to this tale, none of which could be answered by the young one relaying the gossip. The first question being what the heck? (Well, at first it wasn't worded so nicely in my head, but I was able to tone it down.)

So we had to have a quick convo about choices. I say quick because here's another middle school factoid you may not know: they don't like to listen.

I know, I should probably be forcing more conversation over topics like sex and alcohol, but when I start saying come back here and look at me and let me see your eyes and it is disrespectful to walk away while I am talking to you more than I'm saying anything else, even I know it's time to redirect. And I thought redirecting was a thing for the twos and threes.

Choices. We all have to make them, daily, and some are mundane (toast or cereal?), while some are more exciting (Hawaii or Bahamas?), and some are just plain hard (pay this bill or pay for food?). But we have all been in situations where we allow other people to influence our decision-making, and sometimes we make choices that we know won't be good for us, but they feel good at the time. And most of the time we have to deal with the consequences of the choices we make, and when it was not the best choice we could have made, the results usually aren't so fun. But sometimes we get so stuck in a cycle of bad choices, it seems impossible to get out. They become almost like habits.

One of my habits is thinking that I do life on my own, my way. And so even though I pray for wisdom and discernment and knowledge and understanding and everything else I ask for that I think will make life easier (and possibly even better), I'm not willing to give up my way to get what I want. So I try to beg and plead with God, but I also know that I'm begging and pleading on my own terms, because I'm not willing to fully submit.

Isn't that a ghastly word?

There are lots of different synonyms for submit. Like I could also say I'm not willing to kowtow to someone else, and I think everybody would go well, duh. But if I said I'm not willing to defer to, or acquiesce to, or even if I said I wasn't willing to respect, then you might have a different picture of me.

You see, I am a stubborn person, and I come from a long line of people with the same attitude (so I hear, anyway). The only person who is allowed to say that I am truly as stubborn as I am is my husband, and even then, I will vehemently deny said accusation. This stubbornness extends over into my relationships (like mother, like daughter), including my relationship with God. I acknowledge He has a will, a plan for my life, and that it's a good thing. (But I often think so. do. I.)

The problem is that my plan (many, many times) gets me in trouble, or at the very least doesn't accomplish what I thought. And then I go to God upset, because He allowed this to happen. And I think why, why, why, why, and I give Him my list of things I need (wisdom would be great), and I tell Him my terms, and we start all over again.

It's been a slow process, but I've come to realize that God doesn't ask me to submit to His will because He want to control me like a puppet. He wants me to submit to His will so I can be in His perfect will. Acknowledging His might and His power and His authority in my life might seem frustrating, but it actually puts me in a position of being protected, plus, when we start working together, me with Him, I start seeing the fruits of that decision more clearly. Wisdom. Discernment. Peace. Joy. A more positive attitude.

I know my kids don't see anything but negative when I ask them to do what I say rather than being swept up in the current of public opinion, but I know that I have their best interests at heart, and ultimately, I want to protect them from making dumb mistakes. I know they won't always listen, and they will make mistakes. But I pray that when the rubber meets the road, and they have the opportunity to make a choice, they'll remember one thing.

Nobody ever did, 
or ever will, 
escape the consequences of his choices.
{alfred a. montapert}

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