CHOCOLATE OR VANILLA?
“Liberty, taking the word in its concrete sense, consists in the ability to choose.” — Simone Weil
“You have two options,” he said, “chocolate or vanilla ice cream. Which do you choose?”
“Chocolate,” she replied.
He asked why, and then she gave her reason.
He repeated his initial question: chocolate or vanilla? Her answer came with a different reason. They repeated this back and forth twenty or so times.
Finally, having asked “Chocolate or vanilla?” and hearing the response “chocolate” once more, he again asked why.
“Because I choose chocolate! That’s why.”
“Good. You’ve just made the first choice of your life.”
Choosing is difficult. We usually don’t. We place a matrix of criteria over our options and pick what aligns most closely. That way, when things go sour, we look back at the moment of choice and say, “Well, it seemed like the best option at the time.” We don’t invest in our answer, so over time, we have no ownership in our lives.
These choices show up every day. Choices about where to go to school, what fraternity to pledge, what job to take, whom to date, whom to marry, where to live, or what to eat for dinner. We cannot say, “I choose this path, this person, this behavior.”
Whether because of our selfishness or neurotic attempts to select the very best available, we stop at the precipice of choosing. Such decisions don’t constitute a life of purpose.
The Spirit enables us to choose. The Spirit helps us see through the haze of life’s options and know which way to go. The Helper, as Jesus called Him (see John chapters 14, 15 and 16), makes options distinct. Per usual, a paradox exists in God’s business dealings: we gain some sort of ownership in our life when we give ownership to Him.
What does this yield? If we listen closely, and if we’ll obey, we can act with some measure of boldness, of decisiveness. We can make distinctions and act on them as we walk with this guiding Spirit. We can discern truth and the good.
Finally, once we choose, we begin authentic living, because we have started our true volition. Option elimination doesn’t determine action. We enter into a different kind of adulthood where we assume some ownership over our lives. These are the first steps. And these only come when we listen for and follow the Spirit’s guiding.
So what’ll it be: chocolate or vanilla?
How do you choose?
Do you feel peace with your choices?
Do you ever feel (and respond to) a leading regarding a choice?
© Revolworks 2006