Choice and Intention

(This is an exerpt from the eighth chapter of my soon to be released book, Grappling with God: The Battle for Authentic Faith. This chapter emphasizes the need to appreciate our magnificent power of choice and intention in the service of fulfilling our life project.)


Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles (Acts 2:43)


All of us have choices. We believe at the Center for Christian Life Enrichment that we have been gifted by God with the power and the capacity to decide how we are going to live our lives. Even in the midst of circumstances that are not of our choosing, we have a choice in the matter: what we want to experience and how we want to show ourselves to others.

For many of us, this requires a shift in thinking. We may consider it to be the pious and even in the polite thing to preface our plans and dreams by saying, “If God wills.” Too often, however, we use the concept of “God willing” to give ourselves an out. We are off the hook for what happens to us, positive or negative, because we give all the credit (and therefore all the blame) to God. A far more spiritually mature and empowering stance is to take responsibility for our lives, for our choices and for our intentions of what we create, consciously or unconsciously.

At any moment, we are always a choice away from where we want or need to be. This doesn’t mean that we can magically declare our lives to be free of problems or hardships. On the contrary, living life fully may require some serious sacrifices and even more challenges. Nor does taking responsibility mean punishing ourselves for what we’ve done or failed to do. Instead of retreating into shame, we choose consciousness and aliveness: being aware, attending to what is happening in the moment, and fully feeling our feelings.

As we stretch ourselves to living bigger, bolder lives, we do not need to worry about exceeding our boundaries with God or stepping on His toes. As Jesus modeled for us, life is to be lived full-out with no holds barred. We do not have to become less in order to make God (or anyone else, for that matter) feel better. God wants us to take the initiative in our lives.  In the words of Francis Cardinal Spellman, we “pray as if everything depended upon God and work as if everything depended upon [us].”

Becoming spiritually mature, ours is an inter-dependent relationship with God, trusting that He will provide everything we need, while we take responsibility for everything we need to do. This brings us to the essential question: What we you choose? In the Old Testament, Joshua issued the same challenge to the Israelites: “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land we are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” (Josh 24:15).

As spiritually alive people, pursuing greater connection in our relationships with ourselves, with others, and with God, we believe that serving the Lord requires that we become responsible and accountable for our choices. Living fuller lives as Christ-followers, we move out of reactivity and victimhood, as we discussed in Chapter 7, and become empowered. Instead of acting like victims or lashing out as persecutors, we get out of the drama triangle. Now, in this chapter, we take the next step. We see that what we experience is the direct result of our choices and intention. Put another way, the outcome of our lives reflects how we choose to live and the intentions that we put into action in our relationships and interactions with others.

 

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Published: 13.06.2011 / 05:20 AM

Category: Grappling with God,Relationships,Spiritual Growth

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