Defining Choices

Our yes’s and no’s define us. They’re the choices we make to pursue or stop the cause of what we find permissible. Our decisions determine the type of person we are. It’s how we answer the bigger questions of what will you stand for or what can you stand by and watch.

I’m often over eager to step in for the underdog or defend the oppressed. I’m passionate, with a deep love for humanity. I get it. Not everyone views the world like me, not everyone has seen what I’ve seen or wrestled with concepts I have or built a nonprofit to serve the vulnerable. Yet in my humanness, I worry about my own comfort and the lists of things that will not matter when I leave the earth. Material things like money and success that cause me to fall into the twist of questions like wondering how much can I have or will I have control? It’s a nasty bind with yourself. It’s a dance with sugarcoated demons that will eat you alive. Once you have a taste of control it’s like cocaine, a drug of wanting more. Years ago, I craved control because I felt so out of control.

The pursuit of control utterly destroyed me. It left my body rattled by an eating disorder.  Anxiety and depression were the ghosts that haunted my days. About three years ago I was utterly failing to live and had no perception as to what life was. In the chaos, I had choices to make. A series of yes’s and no’s that would define the woman I am and the woman I will become.

I’ve learned we cannot be bystanders to our own unfolding stories nor the collective narratives of our community, our nation and our people.

Despite the sacrifice I said yes to counseling every week for nearly two and half years years. I attended recovery week one and two with The Allender Center in addition to therapy. It’s taken much divine and human intervention to heal my heart, mind, body and soul. The road to recovery has been grief felt, lonely at times, unyielding in sorrow and yet it’s been the fullest and richest journey I’ve taken with the Lord. Although arduous, I’m so grateful I listened to the Spirit’s invitation and said yes to restoration.

For many, our story and faith play deeply into our yes and no of this earthly life.

For me, it’s the very core of my choices to either rebuke or permit the entry of person, spirit or entity into my life. We have the God given authority over everything that has been entrusted to us. It’s a power and a weight to do good and to make Kingdom oriented choices.

Lately my heart has been rattled by the outturn of our presidential election. I’ve prayed, talked with close friends and my husband Chris, as I’ve watched the world respond. Yet, I’ve kept calm about my political views, not sharing much on social media, or rallying in an environment in which I know will offend someone.

Yet in the midst of the executive order temporarily banning Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen entry into the United States, I’ve decided I can no longer remain silent.

I believe it is our calling as people of God to speak and let our experience inform our community. I believe it is our duty to voice our yes and no.

It’s harrowing for me to know that refugees will suffer and die waiting for asylum in the United States, and to watch Christians stand by and speak nothing but praise for the order.

I wonder if some have forgotten that Jesus himself was a middle eastern refugee?

After the scholars were gone, God’s angel showed up again in Joseph’s dream and commanded, “Get up. Take the child and his mother and flee to Egypt. Stay until further notice. Herod is on the hunt for this child, and wants to kill him.”
Joseph obeyed. He got up, took the child and his mother under cover of darkness. They were out of town and well on their way by daylight. They lived in Egypt until Herod’s death. This Egyptian exile fulfilled what Hosea had preached: “I called my son out of Egypt.” Matthew 2:13-15 (MSG)

Furthermore, I cannot forget President Trump’s previous comments, “when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.” (Transcript: Donald Trump’s Taped Comments About Women, 2016).

I cannot remain passive to his demeaning words towards women, immigrants, different religions and races of the world, disabled veterans and his belief that “you can do anything.”

His remarks are not just or right.

I turn to the Apostle Paul, “You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial. Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.” 1 Corinthians 10:23-24

Paul’s words are about making wise choices with the power God has entrusted to us. It’s about turning our control over to God and asking Him to reign only in his holy authority so our choices may be within the best interest of others. It’s unbiblical to operate in the mentality that we have access to do anything, that is destructive power.

In times such as this, we all have a choice to make of what we will stand for or stand against. I wonder, what is your yes and no, and how will it bring good to others?

“Transcript: Donald Trump’s Taped Comments About Women.” The New York Times . The New York Times , 8 Oct. 2016. Web. 8 Feb. 2017.

Anna SmithAnna is passionate, a lover of God and sunrises. She is a wanna be poet and pour over coffee connoisseur. And in her garden she grows Drift Roses (of all things). She is a Master Level Social Worker and a 200 Registered Yoga Teacher. In 2012, along with her husband Chris, she co-founded Restore One, an anti-trafficking ministry that serves men and boys. Journeying through her own recovery process, she understands that healing is a painful yet beautiful path we must take to receive freedom. Anna believes healing is possible for everyone. Anna enjoys throwing pottery, writing and teaching yoga and spending time with Chris.