Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Luxury of Choice

(A post I began while in the USA)

Opening the cupboard, there they are, boxes of wonderful cereal! I usually want to eat two breakfasts because I can’t fit in all the goodness in one meal. Bagels, cream cheese, yogurt parfaits, easy and made for me. I bought them at the store, full of aisles of so many choices it makes my head spin. Literally, first time in a store after returning to the US, the Walgreens started to spin around me, dizziness overtook me and I had to sit down. Dramatic, yes, a real response, also yes.

We laugh that we can make things just. the. way. we. like. it. And it’s AWESOME. “Okay, I’ll have the #10, but with extra onions, no mayo and can I get that on focaccia?” We manage our temperature within the degree of where we are the most comfortable. And it’s so cozy.

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Choice is amazing but let us not forget, also a luxury. Please hear me out, I condemn nothing about having choices, but I am convicted to recognize it as privilege. My neighbors in Awi country don’t get to make decisions about whether they homeschool, send kids to public or private, charter, etc, etc. Their choice is made like this, “Do I have the money to buy my child a uniform, notebook and pencil? Is there a school within walking distance and can I spare them on the farm that they may go to school?” If so, then, yes, they go to school. At least the boys.

There are no mama wars over vaccines because the choice for vaccines looks like this, “Are vaccines being offered in town? I will use every available resource to get my kids there because I have seen other’s children die with these diseases”.  

Or the choice we make as Americans, “Hmm, what should I wear, is this a dressy, casual event?” or “Should we do Mexican, Indian or Thai for dinner?” “Ran out of time for dinner, take out or fast food?” “Where should we go for date night?” “What about vacation?”

Women in Syria make the choice, “Should I put myself and kids into an entirely untrustworthy boat with people who may hurt us and we may drown before we are allowed to get off the boat or stay here and die?”

 Everyday, our lives are full of choices and decisions, some big, others small. And we can get into wars over these luxuries. Should we use essential oils or prescribed medicines? Should we eat paleo? Should I expose my child to X, Y and Z? Again, none of these items are a waste of time to think about but I notice the temptation to make these things my Gospel. 

At times, my personal choices have become my Gospel. The subject I can’t talk about enough and at times, it can cause me to even look at others making different choices in a condescending way.

When we are at a park, what good news do we share?  How peppermint oil changed my life or how Jesus, the Son of God did? Can I remember to recognize my choice as luxury and only let the Gospel of the Bible be my obsession? 

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While in the USA, I had only one store onset breakdown (if I don’t count my dizzy spell upon first setting foot in a Walgreens) and it was standing in a Bible aisle in a large Christian book store. The variety was staggering and then I saw the “Duck Dynasty Bible”. I was overcome by the choice available for Americans to learn and study in whatever way suits us best and how many times with unending resources and choices, we squander them. Meanwhile, the majority world is hungry, aching for truth in their language.

As Westerners, by birthright alone, we have so many choices, I pray I can use my choices, my privileges as a chance to follow Jesus’ example instead of becoming entitled, uptight and opinionated. 


Anonymous said...

Great thoughts Amy! I find that because of my western "birthright", if I am completely honest with myself, I do feel very entitled in so many ways that you mentioned. It is good to realize that "all good gifts are from the Father above" and may I never forget, that although He has blessed me in this way, I need to repent for my entitled attitude. May the Spirit chastise me each time my entitled thoughts show up!

I love you bunches,

Pat said...

I believe the timing of this post so close to Christmas is perfect. I appreciate your words and perspective. They are both convicting and encouraging. I am so glad our paths crossed in Addis to bring our girls home. Your family continues to be a great blessing to ours.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful, thought provoking post Amy.

Anonymous said...

Appreciate the post, Amy! I struggle at times and that is acutally many times... because USA has so many choices and that means many decisions need to be made. I pray we never get so caught up and consumed that we dont take time to stop, think, pray about our choices! So often I think it is so sad we have so many options in this world when those in other countries would rejoice over just one option. I love you guys!!!

Heidi Carrico

smw said...

Such a good post. So many good thoughts. love you!

emilykate said...

Great post. I've been thinking about this a lot studying Revelation in BSF. Wondering how in the world we would cope in America if we start to lose our choices in the events of the last days. Sometimes I can feel sad for my kids being raised in such an entitled culture and I see myself and them falling into that each day. Thanks for the reminder!

Sara Huber said...

Good stuff, Amy. This ties right in with this week's Revelation we really believe that judgment is coming (and soon)? And if so, why are we wasting our strong opinions and soapboxes on so much lesser things?
Always love your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Love this post!!


Anonymous said...

Amy, I so identified with your supermarket meltdown...and appreciated thoughts about choices of little consequence eternally. When someone asked me recently about what I most miss when in China, and enjoy when back in the States (besides family/people)I said having a like minded bookstore with tons of resources in my language. Now some of it does end up a bit on the choices of little consequence category but so much good teaching and helps towards godliness are really a blessing that I wish I could transplant.

Kristen Hoerr said...

Thanks for this post Ames! I'm wrestling through my own version of this currently, minus the culture shock.