Dena Johnson Martin Christian Blog and Commentary

Choices, Choices

  • Dena Johnson Martin
    Dena Johnson is a former single mom to three amazing kids: Blake, Cole, and Cassie and wife to her high school friend, Roy. She strives to follow Christ each day and to lead her children to do the same. She delights in taking the every day experiences of life and turning them into biblical lessons for her children. Dena's daily prayer is simple: Lord, my life is yours. Live through me. Love through me. Parent through me. Let me decrease that you might increase. Dena is the founder of Dena Johnson Ministries, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people find beauty through the brokenness of this life. Her heart's desire is to use her own pain to point others to the power of God who redeems every hurt, every pain. You can contact Dena at Dena@denajohnson.com. You can also find her blog at Dena Johnson Ministries.
  • 2019 Aug 28
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Choices.

We make many choices every single day. I recently listened a sermon stating adults make nearly 30,000 choices every single day. Some choices are small such as what will I eat for lunch. Others can be potentially life-altering such as who am I going to marry.

Making choices as a single parent can be one the most difficult pieces of life. When you are single and bear the entire weight of properly raising your family, you carry the responsibility of all decisions without the benefit of another adult’s input. Sure, we can reach out to friends and family in the midst of big decisions, but there’s nothing like having someone who is as heavily invested in your family as you are.  

Another big choice is when to trust. Those of us who have been betrayed and devastated by someone we love can find it very difficult to let our walls down and trust God or another individual. The deeper the betrayal, the more difficult it is to trust. Even when you have learned to trust someone, little thigs can come along and shatter your ability to trust without warning.

Perhaps that’s why I’ve been contemplating choices so much recently. It seems betrayals suffered in my past have found ways to sneak back in and challenge my ability to trust others. I certainly didn’t see it coming, and I’ve found myself wavering in ways I shouldn’t. I’ve reached the decision that trust is a choice I must make.

What other choices do we need to make? Scriptures outline a variety of choices we must make regularly. If we want the abundant life God created for us, we must learn to make these decisions and move forward, leaving the past behind us.

Forgiveness or resentment. It’s so easy to choose resentment and bitterness. We are so often justified in our anger, especially when the one who has offended us shows no signs of repentance. We cling to our right to be angry, and rightfully so.

But anger and bitterness does nothing but destroy us. It may seem simplistic to choose forgiveness, but it is a choice. A choice to follow God’s way instead of our own. A choice to let God deal with the one who has offended us instead of holding onto our right for revenge. A choice to see our offender as one made in the image of God just like we are. A choice to remember we all have sinned and God chose to forgive us just as we must choose to forgive others.

The day I chose obedience to God in forgiving the other woman was the day I was set free from my prison of bitterness. I didn’t even recognize my bondage. I didn’t want to forgive. But I chose obedience to God, and He did the hard work of forgiveness through me. What an amazing moment and a choice I will never regret!

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15

Faith or fear. Have you ever known someone who lived in a constant state of fear? Fear of the unknown. Fear of the known. Fear of the future. Fear of the truth. Fear of lies.

There’s so much that can cause us to fear in this life. Being paralyzed by fear is a common problem in our society. And yet God did not design us to live in fear. Throughout scripture, He tells us to fear not but instead to trust Him.

Faith tells us that God is for us, no one and nothing can overcome us. Scripture tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God and that He will never leave us nor forsake us. He tells us He has good plans for us and we were created for great things He planned for us before time began.

We must simply choose to believe His word. We must simply choose faith over fear. We must simply choose to constantly remind ourselves and our enemy that we choose faith in our Savior over fear of the things this world throws at us.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2Timothy 1:7

Trust or doubt. Doubt is a very real problem for me. Doubting others and their words. Doubting God will come through. It’s so easy to look at the circumstances around me and doubt God is who He says He is. It’s easy to lose sight of who people are and allow my past hurts and betrayals to cloud my sight.

For me, this choice is probably one of the hardest ones. I have found myself fighting with doubts this week, and I am trying to choose trust—trust in the God who wants good things for me and trust in people around me who love me fully and completely. I must remind myself that when I trust God, He will be faithful to show me the way to go.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Proverbs 3:5-6

Love or hatred. As Christians, we are called to live lives of love. Love God. Love our neighbors. Love ourselves.

How easy it is to slip into a judgmental attitude, one that shows favoritism to certain groups of individuals based on skin color or socioeconomic position or any number of other characteristics.

Yesterday on my way to work, I had a blow out on one of my tires. I pulled into the nearest Circle K where a gentleman I had never met showed me love. He was different from me in so many ways: he was of a different race, a different socioeconomic status, a different educational level. Yet, without a second of hesitation, he came to my rescue and changed my tire. I was overwhelmed with his kindness. He didn’t have anything to gain. He was unassumingly going about his day, working to provide for his family. Yet, he took 30 minutes of his time and a whole lot of physical energy for me, someone who just happened across his path. I want to be more like him. I want to be more like Marcus.

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? 1 John 4:20

Narrow way or wide way. Yes, God calls us to live our lives on the narrow way. We are told there is only one way, one truth and that is our Savior Jesus Christ. It is only be following His way—a very narrow way—we are able to successfully navigate this life and enjoy the abundance He wants us to have.

We must choose His way. We must choose the gift of forgiveness. We must choose to seek His face, to know His heart, so we can know the narrow way.

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. Matthew 7:13

Hope or hopelessness. This world is a mess. It would be so easy to fall into hopelessness, to feel like there’s nothing good in our future, to think we will never be able to escape our current condition. Yet with God, we are promised there is always hope.

We must choose the God of hope. We must choose to believe scripture, to believe the character of God. It is in choosing hope we get to experience the overflowing power and joy and peace of the Holy Spirit.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

I don’t know where you are today, but I know we all must work on making good choices, God choices. It’s a daily—really a moment by moment—choice to follow God, to cling to the hope He brings. I don’t know about you, but I’m working on making the right choices.

Choose today whom you will serve…. But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15



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