Taking the higher road.

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Sometimes you have a choice to take the high road.

In my birthday post last week, I mentioned if I knew then what I know now that I’d “Forgive faster. Forgive even if you think the other person is wrong. Forgive even if the other person IS wrong. Trust me. Swallow your pride on this one.” Less than 24-hours later, I received a phone call that would make me prove it.

Seven years ago this week, my biological mother hung up on me. At that point, I hadn’t lived with her for 10 years and I had been trying my best to be a decent daughter and protect (my heart, my emotions) myself at the same time. Unfortunately, healthy boundaries are not my specialty.

After her usual verbal face slap, she hung up and I moved on.

Happily, I might add. I had been praying for years that I’d get some freedom from the guilt, shame and expectations that she continued to pile on my shoulders and I finally got it. I knew the silence would end at some point. I figured it would take some kind of crisis to have her call me, which is exactly what happened.

On my 30th birthday, I received the long dreaded phone call. Luckily for me, at the time, I had been out of the room so the call went to voicemail. An emotional landmine waiting for me on returning. The content of the message was brief and straight forward. After some birthday greetings, I was told I should call my grandmother who I had not talked to in that time, either.

I wish I could tell you my immediate reaction was full of forgiveness, love and grace.

It wasn’t.

Not even a little bit.

Spent some time talking to my parents about the phone call. Actually, they did most of the talking, since I didn’t have much more to say than “That pissed me off.” I was encouraged to pray about my response and consider taking the higher road in the matter. I didn’t like most of what they said, but because I know they love Jesus and they love me I figured I should at least consider their wisdom in the matter.

So, I prayed. Although, that sounds much more formal that anything I tend to do. My prayers very often start off like this, “Are you kidding me, Jesus?!?!” After that, it’s followed by something awesome that happened. “Are you kidding me, Jesus?!?! A parking spot in the very FRONT!! Awesome! Thanks!” Mostly, though, its followed with my displeasure of a recent event, like “Are you kidding me, Jesus?!?! Only 3 lines open at Walmart the week before Christmas” or in this case “Are you kidding me, Jesus?!?! I need to forgive these people? These same people who hurt me time and time again?”

I’ve learned I don’t need to be long winded in my complaints. He gets the gist–I don’t like this.

But, He also knows my heart.

God knows that in the midst of this unexpected opening of old scars, that I’d want to be faithful to whatever it was He was asking of me. Somehow I feel compelled to at least TRY and give Him Lordship of my life. To at least TRY and obey His voice when I hear it. To at least attempt to forgive my enemies and not only forgive them but treat them better than they treated me.

So, I called my grandma.

I chose the higher road. Save the parade and hand clapping though. I’m not looking for that and don’t deserve it. All I did was make a step in the right direction. A very SMALL step. A step that tells Jesus, “I’m willing to do what you ask, even if it gets me hurt.” That’s a whole other blog post there, but its the place I had to get to in order to take the first step in this situation.

I know my life is an extreme example, but we are all faced with decisions everyday to take the higher road. Maybe its not giving the guy who cut you off the middle finger. Or not screaming at your kids when they do something you’ve told them NOT to for the millionth time today. It could be giving a smile to a frazzled looking woman in the toy section at Target.

You don’t need me to give you scenarios though. I think most of us recognize the moments day-to-day that could be opportunities to shine a little brighter. To give a little love, even when it hurts.

I choose You anyway.

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Sitting in church a few weeks ago, I found myself undone in the presence of God.

For weeks, I had found myself struggling. My daily schedule that had been managed down to the minute some days had worn me down. Most mornings began with a grunt and an overpowering urge to hit the snooze just one more time. My days were full of hustle– from work, to ministry, to more work. Nights were sprinkled with friends and my determination to keep up with everyone.

And for awhile as I sat there, I missed it. I recognized it certainly, but felt like everyone else was getting to experience it and not me. Mentally, my reaction was a lot like Clark Griswold’s when he found out his Christmas bonus was a subscription to the Jelly of the Month club instead of the huge check he was expecting.

After my internal outburst and temper tantrum, God dropped this Truth into my lap. I won’t pretend to be some kind of poet. I’m not. This is just the way God spoke to me in that moment. I imagine He was using short sentences so my simple mind could grasp it and repetition so it might actually sink in.

You took the man I love,

I choose You anyway.

My finances are bleak,

I choose You anyway.

My heart is broken and crumpled,

I choose You anyway.

I’ve gotten weary in doing good,

I choose you anyway.

I feel all alone in life,

I choose You anyway.

I’ve desired other things beside you,

I choose You anyway.

My car is a piece of crap,

I choose You anyway.

The unrighteous seem to prosper,

I choose You anyway.

My attitude sucks,

I choose You anyway.

I don’t understand why things happen the way they do. I don’t understand why life feels harder for some than others. Why some people die young. Why those who break hearts get the happily ever after. Why those who want children can’t have them and those who don’t want them can.These situations, feelings, questions may never change.

My checking account may never be nicely padded. I may never have a brand new car. I may never have my crap all together. I may be single the rest of my life. Yet my broken, determined heart remains steadfast on Him. I choose to trust Him, love Him, seek Him.