The Choice

A year ago, my Spanish teacher told my class that we had a choice.

“If you work hard on your conversations,” she explained. “You could all get 100 % on the oral part of the final exam.”

The choice was ours. Some of us took it. I know that her words inspired me. I worked hard and received my 100 %. Now, a year later, it is a reminder of what the choice of hard work and perserverance can do.

Today, I told the Intro Spanish class the same thing. I’m a Student Aide now and it’s my job to motivate, inspire, and help teach similar lessons. As the kids worked this afternoon, I reminded them of the choice that they have. It doesn’t matter if they have 50 % or 98 %, they are all capable of making the choice to succeed on this final exam.

Most of them didn’t believe me. They said they’d fail anyway and that it wouldn’t make a difference. A lot of them were stuck in their past mistakes and the fear that they wouldn’t be able to move on. Some felt like they didn’t have a choice. Others just didn’t feel like trying. They made the choice to talk to their friends or go on their iPods instead of studying. Regardless of what they told me today, all of my students had a choice.

At the end of class, I was pleased to see that some of them had chosen to believe me. Even some of the disbelieving students had worked hard, perseveared, and finished. They made the choice for success today, and I can only pray that they will continue in it next week and all the days of their lives.

But its not just Spanish students with oral final exams who have choices to make. As Christians, we all have choices everyday. Yes, God is in ultimate control. However, He has given us free will and the choice to follow Him.

When we wake up in the morning, we can choose to be lazy or dilligent. If something doesn’t go our way, we can either choose between joy or complaining. Throughout our days we choose our socks, lunch meals, friends, and plans for the future. In many cases, the choice is ours.

But what if we went beyond those simple decisions and chose to glorify God in all of our choices? What if we chose to read the Bible everyday? What would happen if we chose to pray about everything? Because everyday there is the choice to love, encourage, give, and live to the fullest.

It doesn’t matter how hard we’ve failed in the past. Just like the kids with 45 % in Spanish, we can also make God our 100 % choice. Because love and grace are the choices that He made on the cross. But just as the exam date will one day past, our time on earth is short. The choice to follow and love God today is the most important choice we will ever make.

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Part 3: Brimming Over

This is the third part of a series about my travels in Mexico last summer,  a trip that God used to teach me many lessons in love, humility, beauty, and wealth. If you missed the first two parts, click here.

A girl in bright pink shorts with braided hair and a sun-burned face, collecting garbage in a big, black bag on a mountainside full of people, waving “Hola” and introducing herself and asking others their names in broken Spanish and telling them that they or something about them is “bonita” must be a laughable sight. After all, the people around her–mostly Mexicans couldn’t help but giggle at her strange friendliness or looks. And when the girl thinks on the situation now, seven months later, she laughs aloud and recalls fondly. But it doesn’t matter to her that she made a fool of herself because she had been filled so full that she was unquenchable, she was crammed to the top, she was brimming over.

That girl was me on my third day in Mexico. It was my first YWAM outreach, the first time that I had a Spanish conversation with someone who didn’t speak English, the first time that my hair was a mess, my face was bright red and I wore geeky shorts and didn’t care, the first time I told a stranger that I loved them…the first time that my cup spilled over.

It was a day of many firsts, of many laughs, of joy after pain. It was the day that I put my fears asside and replaced them with boldness. It was a time that I threw my insecurity away and adopted confidence. It was a moment and a place that I was just myself and no one else. I didn’t worry about what others thought or that I wasn’t good enough–I just did what I could do whether it was in my comfort zone or not, and because of that and the God that made me, I overflowed that day.

Two of my first Mexican amigas and me.

I met new friends who did not speak a single syllable in English. I told one of these friends that I liked her purse and asked her if she had made it (I actually have no idea how I did this!) I told a girl that I loved her and watched her face break into a smile. I saw the surprised but happy toothless grin of a woman when I told her that she was bonita. I played futbol (soccer) for the first time in a long time, without worrying about how unathletic I was. I danced like no one was watching me. I picked up garbage in the hot, Mexican sun with two girls and I smiled and laughed instead of complaining. I was swarmed with little girls and mothers who wanted the hair clips and stickers that I had. I watched two young girls faces explode with happiness when I gave them two simple things–a mirror and a comb. I was brimming over by the simplest, most ordinary but ever wonderful things of life.

When people ask me about Mexico I think of this day and all of the fun that I had. I try to re-tell it the way I saw and loved it but it never works. I always just get blank looks or smiles that don’t understand. It’s not the peoples fault or anyone’s really, it’s just that sometimes things are impossible to understand without the experience and I guess the feeling over being overflowed in love is just that kind of one. But that’s OK with me because God has given me a memory and a time in which I spilled over in abundance with simple joys, with new friends and beautiful smiles…with love I overflowed.