Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. John Lennon
For some reason, I started thinking about that line from John Lennon’s song Beautiful Boy recently.
Life is what happens to you? Really? Are we passive players in the whole process of life?
There are things that happen in life where we have no control but there are many more times that we are given the privilege of choice. It’s at those times we need to learn how to choose well.
I’ve met many people in developing countries who don’t have the luxury of choice. They don’t have options. That’s a big part of poverty. That makes me appreciate the opportunities I have for choices in life all the more.
Choosing to choose
Sometimes we simply need to choose to choose. We need to choose to decide on the options in front of us knowing if we choose not to choose, there are many other people ready to step in and make decisions for us — and their decisions probably won’t be for our benefit.
Choosing isn’t always comfortable
On Monday morning my alarm went off at 5am.
It was a public holiday. Outside it was dark, wet and so very cold. In my bed, it was warm, dry and oh so lovely.
I had to choose to take hold of the day rather than letting life happen to me.
I got out of bed. I tried to move around quietly so that I didn’t wake my wife. Our cats thought I was mad. They were probably right.
I put on my cycling gear, including my rain jacket, and headed out the door to ride.
The rain bucketed down. I rode. I met with some other cyclist. We rode together.
There’s something about being drenched to the skin, covered in sand and pushing hard against headwinds that lets you know you’re alive.
Sometimes choosing to stay in bed and catch up on rest is the choice we need to make. When the weather gets too wild it’s dangerous to be out there on a bike and so the choice to stay home makes more sense.
But sometimes we need to choose to take the hard way. Sometimes we need to step out of what’s comfortable into what we know we should be doing.
I have a six-day ride coming up in a few weeks and I need to be trained and ready. I need to choose to do what it takes to be fit enough to tackle a week on the road.
This time next year I’ll be halfway between Perth and Newcastle on a four-and-a-half week cycling journey across Australia. I’ll have to choose the hard road many times in the months leading up to that adventure.
Refusing to make choices is a choice in itself
If I don’t choose to train, I won’t be ready to achieve what I want to achieve. If I don’t choose to watch what I eat and take other steps to get fitter, I won’t be able to ride into Newcastle next year knowing I’ve conquered the challenge.
Sometimes our choices are between comfort or challenge. Sometimes we choose between good and bad and at other times we choose between better or best.
Do we want to live passively or proactively?
Every day we need to make choices. Those choices let us know we’re truly alive.
You can make a choice right now.
You can choose to let life happen to you while you’re busy making other plans…or you can choose to decide what paths you take.
I pray that you’ll choose to choose.
What choices do you need to take today?
Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist and blogger from Perth.
He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. rodneyolsen.net | Follow Rodney on Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Google+