My wife, Jan, was doing a project in our backyard. She asked me to go to a local home improvement store and pick up a piece of lumber to create a border for her project. I loaded my dog in my pickup and went on my honey-do errand. When I arrived at the store, I stood before a pile of lumber and grabbed the first one on top. Unthinking, I placed it atop my cart and started for the checkout. As I prepared to leave the lumber pile, I had a sense in my gut to hold up the board to check its straightness. I discovered it had a bow of about 2 inches. It was anything but straight. I put the board back in the pile and checked out other options until I found a straight one.
On the drive home I thought how easy it is for us to take the first thing on the pile of life’s options thinking that is our only option. It isn’t, nor is it always God’s choice for us. Options bent from the influence dishonor and untruth are like bent boards that surround a garden project. They inaccurately define the life we want to create.
In so many instances we are being asked to take the first board on the cultural and religious lumber pile without challenging the straightness of those options. Character requires that we pick through the pile and find one that aligns with the integrity the Lord has asked us to carry and use to build our lives. We don’t have to settle for what we know is not straight no matter who gets upset with our decision and what threats come with our rejection of those offerings.
Fear drives so many to be compliant and unquestioning followers of whatever is placed before them. It has become a “take it or we will label you a social or religious heretic” kind of interaction. When someone decides to reject a crooked option and searches for something straight, the heat of displeasure demonstrated by those who are selling the crooked lumber, and those who took it home without an inquiry will be intense. In the end, the garden of your life is about your choice, not what is forced upon you as the only acceptable option. Take heart. If you choose to pick through the pile, you are not alone. The pile of rejected lumber is growing.