About six years ago, I declared myself a Vegetarian. I chose this for multiple reasons, none of them having to do with a dislike of meat (I love meat. Especially of the venison variety). I made the switch to pay closer attention to what I put in my body, to be a good steward of the world’s resources, and to support my then-14-year-old sister whose new-found vegetarian lifestyle was negatively affecting her health.
Three years ago, when I was unemployed and technically homeless (my home was the homes of friends), I lived day-to-day, trusting that money and resources would be available as I needed them. I’m thankful that I only stayed in that situation for a few months, and although I lived those months entirely confident that God would care for me, I experienced a few days when I wasn’t sure what I would eat.
Sticking to a vegetarian diet became less of a priority that summer. Granted, I’ve never been a strict vegetarian. Strict anything becomes an idol for me, and takes away from relationships. If a new friend invites me to her home for dinner, not knowing I’m vegetarian, I won’t sit at the table and eat only the bread. If a family spends an entire week’s wages to feed me, they won’t hear the words, “thanks, but no thanks”.
Beggars can’t be choosers.
That phrase carries a great deal of weight. On a day when I had ten dollars in my pocket and needed that ten dollars for something other than food, I would gladly accept any meal no matter the contents.
This applies to any situation. Physical, emotional, or spiritual. When a person is left in desperate longing, even bad options seem miraculous. And in that moment, they are.
The greatest gift in life is the gift of choice.
When choices are taken away, we become slaves to our needs and desires.
Many of the people we ignore every day, or, dare I say, all of the people we cross paths with each day, are contemplating choices. Some people have so many choices that they become overwhelmed with the options. If you’ve ever stood in the cereal aisle of a supermarket in a prosperous country after living in a third world country, you understand the emotion of too many options.
Others have no options at all. If you are a starving vegetarian and someone offers you a hamburger, you’re going to eat it.
The greatest gift you can give a person is the gift of a choice. We tend to think that choices are a thing to be earned, but that thought is a trap door leading us to claiming power we should never own.
No. Choices are a gift. Not to be given recklessly, but to be given freely.