I started writing this from a hotel restaurant that overlooks the city, after a week that could easily be classified as one of the most exhausting of my life.
I kept thinking back to a morning a few weeks ago. After waking up, I drug myself upstairs to find my roommate brewing a fresh pot of coffee and wiping down the countertops.
I plopped down on our little stool that sits next to the refrigerator and let out a deep sigh, “I don’t like my life.” I said it so casually, as if it were typical words for a person to spit out first thing in the morning.
She turned with a raised brow, “Why?”
I leaned my head on the fridge and closed my sleepy eyes, “Because I’ve let everything and everyone else build it.”
She waited, like she always does, knowing I had so much more to process.
“I’ve lived most of my life basing my decisions off of other people. I live my life reacting to people and circumstances. I can’t remember the last time I made a decision simply because I wanted to and not because I felt that I had to!”
And she gave me this look, that without her even saying a word, I knew she was asking me “So, what are you going to do about it?”
All of that led me to this moment. This moment of eating fries in a hotel restaurant and making decisions that I’ve been afraid to make for a very long time.
I’m moving my feet and going places that I couldn’t have imagined because I woke up one day and realized that I needed to own my life and take responsibility for my decisions.
If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve probably noticed that I am not a fan of making decisions. I am the person who thinks multiple-choice tests are cruel and unusual punishment. They are the one kind of test that continuously makes me doubt myself because it presents me with so many options, with things that could be right. But if I choose wrong, it could lead to utter failure.
And that’s how I’ve lived my life: like a multiple choice test. One of these four answers is God and I’ve got figure out which one is Him or I’m going to fail.
And I’ve been taking this test like a contestant who is always trying to phone-a-friend. Even when Regis is yelling at me and telling me that I don’t have any lifelines left, I’m over here trying to pawn this decision off on anyone but me.
Because choices and options have always made me bleed doubt. Life often feels like a big test where I can’t just write a paragraph based on what I know and possibly get lucky with a professor who will believe the nonsense I just presented. No, for me, life feels like this concrete question that is going to give me choices that are all close together and could be the right thing, but could just as easily be wrong.
And so I’ve waited. I’ve waited for people and circumstances to happen to me so I could respond appropriately. I’ve needed a cause for every effect; I’ve needed a good and logical reason for every decision I’ve ever made. I will choose the correct answer once I’m able to rule all the other ones out, or until I’ve run out of time and am just forced to circle something.
But when you live that way, sometimes you just wake up and realize that you built a life compiled by reaction; a life that isn’t full of passion, drive, ambition, or dreaming. You stifled all of your dreams because they might have been the wrong answer.
I do it at restaurants. I have three or four options in my head and I wait until the waiter is staring at me and then I blurt out a decision. I rarely know what I’m going to choose until that moment. The only way I choose is because I am forced to react to a deadline, to a frustrated stare, to someone expecting me to answer.
But life isn’t like a waiter; life is more like take-out. You have to pick up the phone and make the call whenever you’re ready—no one is going to force you to do this thing, to decide who you are and what you want. When it comes to the big things, no one is going to scream in your face and tell you to let go, move on, or make a choice.
It’s like we’ve been waiting for someone to walk by with a script that will lead us to our happy ending. We just want someone to tell us what to say, where to live, what career to have, who to marry.
But this isn’t a multiple-choice test and God isn’t a teacher with a big red marker waiting to write an F on your paper. He isn’t a waiter who is glaring at you, tapping his toe with impatience while you wring your hands over chicken or steak.
God’s the one you call when you are ready make that decision. He’s given you a menu and He’s happy to recommend the best choices, but He loves you and will stay with you whether you choose soup or salad.
Stop waiting to see what everyone else is going to order. And stop waiting for God to force-feed you the better choice. The choices of life are yours and refusing to make them or putting it off are only going to keep you hungry.
3 thoughts on “Life Is More Like Take-Out…”
Hi Ashlin I love your blatant honesty. Yes God ‘s love for us is certainly not based on completing the correct multiple choice options (in South Africa known as monkey puzzles). His 7 billion reasons for grace (that statement may ring a bell…) also cover incorrect choices and incorrect choices certainly let us appreciate His grace (although it may lead to short term hardship). Go and live
So true and so encouraging. Thanks for reading and commenting!
The title of this article made me so happy.