Ravioli or Tortellini

Colin doesn’t like choice. It takes him ages to choose which shape of pasta to have from Tesco, or which fragrance of shower gel to buy, before going for the one he always has. He thinks I’m impulsive because I buy without checking reviews and, in his eyes, too quickly, and I’ll try new things. It doesn’t always work out but at least I tried and sometimes I’ve found something wonderful that I would miss if I hadn’t tried.

It’s a privilege to have choice. I was reading about a couple from Eritrea who came over to England to stay with friends. One day the wife went with her host to the local supermarket. As she walked in she stopped, staring around her. “Wow what a choice you have.” She explained that in her village she walked to the market each morning and bought whatever there was. If it was carrots that’s what the family ate for every meal that day and possibly the next.

We can choose how to look at things too. Usually if an insect landed on my arm I would brush it off immediately I felt the tickle to tell me it was there but recently, because I’m watching Spring Watch and reading books about how nature helps with mental health, I’ve chosen to looking at each one. This week I had the pleasure of watching a beautiful thick legged flower beetle walking across my hand; it’s back an iridescent green shining in the sun.

It isn’t only material things that we have choice about. We make a choice about our attitudes too. We can choose to see things negatively or positively. When I see that the grass needs cutting and there are weeds in the flower beds I can choose to be thankful that I have outdoor space to spend time in or I can complain that the grass and weeds have grown. If I see that the house is untidy I can choose to be grateful that I have a home and a roof over my head or complain at the untidiness, and if I don’t want to get up in the morning I can be grateful that I have a nice, warm, comfortable bed to sleep in or complain that morning has come too quickly.

We can blame Covid 19 for a lot of things but we have to take responsibility for our own attitudes. We may not choose our circumstances, but we do have a choice of how to respond to them. So, how do we choose?
Hebrews 4 says that “Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart”.

The thoughts and attitudes of the heart are coloured and shaped by the mind which is a powerful thing. We win and lose battles in our mind as we intentionally and consciously choose how to respond to situations. Do we respond with love, joy, grace, forgiveness, kindness; the responses which will lead us away from fear and distress. Or do we react in anger and hurt, trying to find someone or something else to blame?

When I did wrong as a child my mum would send me to my bedroom to think about my attitude saying “when you have decided to change your attitude you can come down”. Sometimes it took longer than others as I seethed upstairs; sometimes crying and sometimes muttering about the unfairness of it all.

It’s now Jesus who reminds me that I need to change attitude. In Him I can all find a new perspective that creates a new response to help me to choose a new way of living, a new attitude to life.

Choice is part of life and God’s choices are far more important than the shape of our pasta or the fragrance or our shower gel. Are you for Him or against Him?

Jane