“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” Deuteronomy 30:19
It is the second summer in a row that I am obsessed with a Brené Brown book – and really with her in general. Right now I am reading The Gifts of Imperfection. She says things like, “Don’t shrink. Don’t puff up. Stand on your sacred ground” (54) and “Our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance” (26) Yeah, so good.
The point of the book is learning what living a Wholehearted life looks like (a lot like her other amazing book, Daring Greatly). A life that is full, content, and purposeful. She interviewed tons of people and researched how Wholehearted people live and what makes them that way, and what makes other people not that way.
What I am learning, from the book and from life, is that everything is a choice. We are given this life and have so many chances to make it what we want it to be. Obviously there are lots of things that are out of our control – sickness, death, loss, rejection, etc. But we always get to choose how we respond to those things and what we make of our loss.
I just talked with a great friend who is thinking about how her “baggage” (the hard stuff that has happened in her past) will influence her future relationships/that one particular relationship. I told her at some point, you need to stop calling it baggage and start owning it as your story. The crap that other people did to you – you are not responsible for that. You have made the choices to deal with your “baggage,” process it, move forward, and let it make you the strong person you are today. It is not baggage that you have to drag around anymore, it is part of what makes you, you.
So I have made a mantra for myself, based on this theory that everything is a choice, and the things that Brené claims create a Wholehearted life:
I will choose to be:
- Confident (or as Brené describes it, “Lit from within”)
I will NOT choose:
We choose a life of JOY or a life of fear.
We choose to be kind or cruel.
We choose to compare or to be confident.
It is all a choice. We choose to move past our past – not just “get over it” but to let it be part of our story, part of who we are. You don’t have to drag other people’s mistakes and bad decisions around in a roller bag. It is not a burden you will have to put on someone else in friendship or marriage. It is part of the beautiful, complicated mural that is you.
The biggest choice any of us can make is to follow Christ. We have to choose to believe that He created us, came for us, died for us, rose again for us, and now waits to return to us someday. We choose to obey, love, repent, and submit to Him – and it is the best choice we can ever make.
He gives us the freedom to choose – and we do it everyday. We choose to live in slavery to our sin, rather than in the freedom of His grace. We choose to let the world tell us our worth, rather than believe we were created worthy. Instead of loving others with eternity in mind, we quickly judge or compare.
You own your story – and you write a whole lot of it by the choices you make.
*All quotes and wisdom found in: Brown, Brené. The Gifts of Imperfection. Center City, MN: Hazelden Publishing, 2010.