““One of the best things about being an adult is that you get to choose the life you live.”
I was reminded of this truth when a one day “mental health day” trip to the beach took an unexpected turn. My brother, Jamie, has a neurological disability that twists his foot. He lives in constant pain and cannot walk on unstable surfaces like sand. However, a few years ago, we found a place at our favorite beach where you could drive on the sand to go fishing. Even though we weren’t fishing, we’d drive to this spot to get as close as we could to the ocean without having to walk on the sand.
We didn’t realize that while this worked during the off-season (when we usually go), in June the sand is much fluffier, and you need a license to fish. Devoid of these facts, when we tried to drive into the beach, our tires got stuck in the sand.
As our tires were spinning in the sand, and it began to sink in that our car wasn’t going to move, I started nervously laughing. Quickly realizing this was not a laughing matter, I panicked and started searching the internet for tips on what to do if you are stuck in the sand. Unfortunately, there were only two options: dig or call a tow. Without a shovel, we were stranded.
So we started praying. God answered our prayer by sending us a park ranger. Now if this were a Hallmark movie, this would have been the “meet cute” where the ranger who happened along turned out to be the man of my dreams. However, this was real life and the ranger who deflated our tires and dug us out, and gave us a fine for not having a fishing license. As we were waiting for the fine, holding up other cars because we got stuck in the middle of the road, and praying that the digging would work so we didn’t need a tow truck, I thought, “Well, this is the end of our trip. We drove five hours just to turn around and go home upset because of the fine.”
That was the pattern in my family when I was a little girl. If something happened, it would have been a catastrophe. My Dad’s mood would have changed. He’d have gotten sick, a fight would have ensued, and we’d have driven home in uncomfortable silence. Inside, I could feel myself bracing for this outcome.
Then it occurred to me: I’m the adult. We choose how this story ends. We decide how we respond. That day (after we were out of the sand and we knew the car was fine), we decided that we’d make a different choice. We chose to put our mistake behind us and go on with our trip. No drama. No argument. No tension or assigning blame. We just admitted we were wrong and went back on our way.
As we were driving home later that night, I began thinking about how awesome it is that, as adult women, we can make choices that determine the outcome of our lives. Obviously, this applies to far more important areas than how we respond when we get stuck in the sand at the beach. Instead, we get to choose how we will respond to all situations in life.
We choose how we will spend our time. We choose how we spend our money.
We decide how we want to be treated by what we tolerate in our relationships and with whom we surround ourselves.
If we don’t like our job, we can change it.
Don’t like the path you’re on? You can take a different one. You’re never too old to make a change, learn something new, or start a new adventure.
One of the greatest gifts God has given us is free will. Each day, we exercise it as we choose the path for our lives.
Two of the most important decisions that I have made in my own life are that I want to live my life completely surrendered to Jesus. This means more than just saying a sinner’s prayer and calling myself a Christian. It means that I submit every part of my life to God’s will, to commit to living a life worthy of my calling, and fulfilling God’s purpose for my life.
Part of this commitment means I am committed to understanding and living by the principles taught in the Bible. I believe that the Bible is God’s Word. More than just an inspirational book, it is meant to be our guide through life. I take what it says literally. If it says something is sin, then I try to avoid it. When the Bible says to do something, I try my best to make it a part of my life.
Doesn’t this make my life a little different than the average American? Doesn’t it keep me from doing things others say are acceptable?
But I’m okay with that because I believe God’s ways are best. Just like I don’t want to drink poison, I don’t want to do anything that will damage my relationship with God or keep me from walking in His perfect will.
This is my choice. Even though it has required sacrifice throughout the years, I continue to make it over and over again.
Today, as we’re near the beginning of our journey, I encourage you to make the same choice. Choose to live your life for Jesus. Submit your life entirely to Him and commit to following the principles in the Bible. Determine that whatever it takes, you will be a radical, sold-out, wholehearted follower of Jesus.
Center your life choices around His will.
Don’t just read the Bible: obey it.
Develop an intimate, personal relationship with God in prayer.
Commit that, whatever it takes, you will be the woman God created you to be, fulfilling the destiny He has for you in His kingdom. At the end of your life, it’s the only decision that matters.
The older I get, and the more I walk with Jesus, the more I understand that living for Him is truly the only thing that matters.
If God is pleased with me, than life is good. I can lay my head down at the end of the day, knowing that I can sleep in peace.
At the end of the day, when you take off your makeup and put on your pj’s, you need to be able to look yourself in the mirror and like what you see. You need to be content with yourself, and be able to say with a clear conscience that you did all you could to live a life worthy of your calling.
You need to know that you and God are okay, that you’ve done all you can to live in a way that pleases Him, that you’ve avoided sin, and that you are walking in His plan for your life.
It’s important that when everything else is stripped away, and you turn off the lights that you can genuinely say it is well with your soul. That is the best choice you will ever make in life.
Write in your journal how these verses apply to this chapter’s topic:
“So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14-15, NLT)
“Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.” (Ephesians 4:1, NLT)
“Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:12-13, NLT)
You have just read an excerpt from the new 21-day Devotional, "Ageless Truths: Lessons I Learned in My Forties that I Wish I Knew in My Twenties".
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.