The Gift of Free Will
This morning, I quickly became reminded of the free will granted to me by God. As you may have previously read, I am in the midst of a 90-Day Journey, a time of self-reflection and understanding of my past behaviors. The basis of the study is rooted in the recovery from substance abuse but blooms with rediscovery and an alternative lifestyle.
I tend to be quite compulsive, and I often make rash decisions that I frequently regret. Each decision I make is an example of my own free will. Even though I am learning to stop and think before I act, it is taking some time to learn.
This journey I am on is teaching me about my neuropathways, the automatic responses my brain has to every situation. In the past, whenever I have been fearful of anything, even if it is only a distant threat, my brain reacts with unhealthy responses.
Why does it react this way? Well, the short answer is this: I taught it to react this way; I exercised my free will. The world offered to me what looked like an escape or a way to cope but it didn’t whisk me away from it at all, and it certainly didn’t help me deal with the situation. Quite honestly, the situation only became worse because the condition was still there. Now I had guilt and shame added to the circumstance. I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage of the definition of insanity: Doing the same thing but expecting a different result. It is all a matter of exercising our free will. God gave us free will because He didn’t want robots, He wanted us to choose Him.
I have been on this path of sobriety for some time now, but this morning, as I just happened to pass by a news website on my way to my car loan website, I saw a headline that caught my eye. Just reading the first couple of lines which had the name of a foreign country and the word “nukes”, made my blood pressure rise and fear crept in. I instantly wanted to run to an old vice. Obviously, my old neuropathways are still quite intact BUT, even though my brain immediately “looked” at that old path, my new neuropathways, which are still under construction, quickly intervened. It’s working!
I was able to discern reality from fiction, truth from fear. Yes, there are things in this world that are frightening, always have been, always will be. But we can use our free will to react in a way that helps us get through these emotions in a healthy manner, or we can give in to those old (and regretful) neuropathways, compounding our fears with unhealthy responses.
This morning, I used my free will to choose my health. I chose the path God is illuminating before me. I didn’t let the thing that wanted to distract me gain a foothold in my psyche. I like this new path I am on, and every day that I exercise my free will to choose Him and how I can love and serve Him, my confidence soars, I am strengthened, and I am much, much less compulsive.
Right now, I am still a bit unsteady on my feet, kind of like learning to ride a bike for the first time, a little wobbly, but the training wheels are off and I am moving forward. It may be at a slower pace, but that pace is wonderful because it is offering me more time to enjoy the view. God gifting me free will gives me the power to choose Him and choosing Him is the most peaceful decision I have ever made.
“... Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.
For the Lord is your life…”