I wonder how many of us feel like life simply happens to us. Like we didn’t have a choice in how we got here, and we certainly don’t have a choice now.
To be honest, that feeling of not having a choice in my life is what really bothered me last semester. I watched my hard-working, PhD student husband leave the house for the day to study and get a cup of coffee with a friend and go to class and begrudged him that. My life currently doesn’t give me that sort of freedom. My hours and days are dictated by two little human beings—by their diapers and naptimes and mealtimes, by their joys and their sorrows and their needs. I don’t have much of a choice with how I spend my time, and so—it feels—little choice in how I spend my life.
He gets to do what he wants. I don’t.
Those words are ugly. I know. They are selfish. I know.
But I would guess I am not the only one who finds myself thinking that.
They have __________. They get to do what they want.
Fill in the blank. Money, friends, support, freedom, ambition, adventure, time.
I don’t have a choice. I don’t get to do what I want.
When I find myself thinking those words, I am learning to stop. When I stop to collect my thoughts and feelings, I find just how wrong I am. I get to be a mother to these precious babies. I get to spend my time loving and nurturing and teaching them about beauty, truth, and goodness. Of course that is what I want. It’s not always easy, but I must constantly train and orient my words and my heart in that way. I must choose to want this life, and these days.
And so I think we all must learn to choose to live the life we are given. Because we can so easily walk through days and weeks and years feeling like the circumstances of our life are imposed upon us, like we don’t have much of a say in the matter. Our jobs, our homes, our health, our finances, our family. We truly don’t have complete control over those things. And so the choice lies not usually in what we have, but in how we live in what we have.
This year I want to choose what I have been given. I want to want what I have. This means that I don’t see my days of meals and mothering as ones that are imposed upon me, but as gifts that are given to me because the Lord knows what I need. This means that I look around me and rejoice in what I see because I need these things. I need this exhausting and sometimes lonely graduate school life. I need this poor-sleeping baby and this energetic toddler. I need this day-in and day-out life that I am living.
I need them because they are what the Lord gives me. And what the Lord gives me is always and only for my holiness. Those things that I feel I don’t have a choice in are exactly those things that He is using to show me His face. My choice lies not in how I spend most of my time, but in how I embrace the time that I am given.
I want to live with humility and hope, with purpose and prayer, with sacrifice and service, with gentleness and grace. I want to love this life I have been given because—if I allow it—it will only bring me ever closer to the love of my Savior. I want to inhabit each present moment, looking for all that Christ is offering me through it, embracing it fully as His love for me. I want to want this life because it is the greatest and the grandest gift I have ever been given.
May the Lord make this more and more true—of me, and of you.