Having a choice means there are multiple options available. So how can one be faced with an 'only choice?'
An oxymoron occurs when contradictory words are used together. In this case, there are multiple options when it comes to "choice." And when we say "only," we mean one thing only. You see how they are very different, almost opposing? In reality, there will always be more than one choice. So what in the dickens can I be meaning? I'm glad you asked; stay tuned!
The year was 2014, and I remember my ambulance ride to the hospital after having a fainting spell at the doctor's office. When I tell you I felt worse than I looked, believe me when I say looked a mess—like a motherless child, as my fellow islanders would say.
Anyhew, I remember laying on a gurney in A & E, shivering from the cold but unable to move and no hospital personnel insight to ask for a blanket. From my view, I watched the frenzy unfold when a gunshot victim came in, all while an irate mother of a sick child was bringing the thunder over being there from the previous night. Then amidst all that hullabaloo, a man proceeded to pee on the floor—I'm talking smack-dab in the middle of all the happenings.
There was so much going on; I found it hard to decide where to focus my attention. In any event, it all made me feel my issue paled in comparison to the problems around me.
The more I witnessed, the more I wanted to leave. Surely, my situation wasn't as dire as these folks. After several hours of waiting and one raggedy blanket later, a doctor finally came to see about me. Who, I might add, seemed not to be interested in being at work that day. As she checked my vitals, I don't know if it was the lack of due care and attention or the issues of others that made me feel miraculously better. Doc was still very much unbothered.
Somehow, I thought it a brilliant idea to express my miraculous improvement. So I asked the good doctor if I had to stay for further treatment since my initial symptoms had subsided. To my shock and awe, she answered rather curtly and in a matter a fact tone, "You don't have to do anything you don't want to but stay black and die." and she walked callously out of the room. (insert mouth on the dirty hospital floor). #thenerve #theaudacity
Ma'am, excuse me! Pardon!! Like, what does that even mean?? 'Cause clearly... Hold on, have you seen Michael Jackson? #sorrytothisman #ripSir Focus Raquel! Listen, I had never called my ride so quick in all my life. 'Cause, let me tell you, at that moment, cheaper I go head and call on the Great Physician Himself! This was NOT it!
EITHER | OR...
Obviously, there are many things one can do based on personal preference. However, some of them will not achieve our desired results, and those around us can become collateral damage. There is often only one choice to make out of the many in such a case because it is the best choice. (i.e. do I ask my co-worker for a ride home, or do I walk 5 miles, at night, down a poorly lit road?)
Although there isn't always one choice, sometimes there is a more obvious and better choice than the alternatives. Thus making it the "only choice" that any reasonable person would choose because it's the thing that results in minimal damage.
We often hear people say, "I didn't have a choice!" which isn't the actual case, but I suppose the alternative lacked benefits even more so. It's what's known as a catch 22 (two contradictory conditions). Like if your employer says, we can fire you, or you can resign. Either way, you left with no job! Or when people say you have to spend money to make money, but then the money is your rainy-day fund! So, how do you start the business to make more money? In any case, what does one do?
So there I was dating home skillet. "In love" has to be the understatement of the decade! I mean, this was the guy that always said two things that made me blush from ear to ear: "You can't go nowhere, and I'm gonna make an honest woman outta you?" Grown heffa like me, being hornswoggled! After all that, can I tell you someone else is now carrying his last name? (insert shook-eth emoji) Could it be then that I had settled on him being my final choice, but he was, in fact, still weighing his options? #mindblown
Folks, I thought this one was in the bag. That it was a no-brainer; I was unicorn bae if there ever was one. I was top shelf, the finest rarest of bottled womanhood that one could be found this side of the Mississippi. Sis, in her mind, was irreplaceable! (insert a harsh dose of reality) Ahhh, it took me about three years to recover from the shock, aye!
That's the thing about choices; if it involves others, the power of agreement is paramount. How can two walk together unless they agree? (Amos 3:3) You can't will anyone to want what you want, when you want, how you want it. But you would like someone to say, "Of all the people, in all the world, I choose you!"
Lesson 1: The dating pool has multiple choices. However, the answers are not graded on standard testing or on the curve. For most, it's based on preference and for others on timing.
A FLAWED PLAN
Now, the only choice is not to be confused with the first choice. History has shown us marriages have long been decided on efficacy (being useful) rather than the ability to choose. We witnessed Prince Charles marry Diana out of how she looked for the Monarchy. Young, beautiful and squeaky clean. And because of her naivety, she could possibly be controlled. Then, there was Princess Margaret, who was not allowed to marry her first choice because he was divorced. We also find this in the age-old story of Rachel and Jacob, where it was custom that the older be married before the younger. And we all know he got 'blindsided' into marrying Leah.
It is said, "Most men don't marry the woman they love or love the most. They marry the woman that's in their life when they're ready to marry." I don't know how true this is because I'm not a man, but I do know that the same can be said for women who marry for security and not always their feelings. "Alexia, play Bills by Destiny's Child." In either scenario, the chooser can't be faulted, cause in actuality, love should not be the foundation on which your choice is built. #thankmelater Every divorced couple was once in love, which says to me, love is not always enough.
So what then should this most life-altering decision be founded on? According to the late Myles Munroe, one block, knowledge. He notes: As a man or woman, you must understand what it means to be a woman; you must know what it means to be a man; you must know how to manage emotions and handle anger; you must know the dynamics of disagreement; you must know how to deal with unfaithfulness. If you are unable to understand those things, your marriage cannot survive. Whew, chall, a word!
Lesson 2: While your choices may all be flawed, choosing someone is not a one-time deal. You must choose them, all day, every day, 'til Jesus calls one of you'll home.
I remember deciding whether or not to leave a job. The money wasn't half bad, and it was one of those places where I didn't have an overbearing boss hovering over my shoulder. So there was no real immediate need for me to go searching. However, I kept feeling a nudge to start looking, and that's what I did.
I sent out resumes, went on interviews; I mean, I was going hard in the paint as if I had a dire need. The long and short of it all, six months after leaving, the company merged with its parent company, and my position was made redundant. While being employed, there was no need to contemplate whether or not there were other choices; but that one act of listening to my still small voice meant that there was no interruption in my ability to remain independent.
Lesson 3: Sometimes, your decisions won't have immediate clarity. While life is lived forward, it's understood backwards.
NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE
If I'm honest, choosing to live a Christian life was not on my list of top 5 things to do. I would often tell people; God really knows who He can give what to. If I'd looked a little different or my love for dancing translated into a real-life ability, I would have been even more hard-pressed to show up for church when I did. I mean, don't get me wrong, I was nice and wishy-washy, but even that would have been ten times worse.
The truth is, I sat in the church pews for many years lukewarm, betwixt and between—wanting to be worldly but also wanting God. I wanted to fornicate and, in a sense, be free to do me and still reap the benefits of kingdom living. I wanted to be free to live looser than Lucy without the consequences, but church people are not gonna admit that.
I wanted to chase the clout and the clicks, the glitz and the glamour. While I'm not sure if I would have made it in that life or not, thankfully, those doors never opened for me—so I'll never know. I'm not God, but I know me well enough to know that I would have been so far gone that I would have reached levels of no return. Hence there would be no Raquel here telling you how God is able to check desires and keep you if you want to be kept.
So here I am, lousy choice, after godawful decisions, after a series of unfortunate events, my whole life really came down to the clear choice—the ONLY choice, rather—choose ye this day whom you will serve. (Joshua 24:15)
What's the final lesson? Well,
Lesson 4: —“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster, for I command you this day to love the Lord your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the Lord, your God, will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy." (Deuteronomy 30:15-16 NLT) All I'm saying is, make the right choice.