Choose Your Own Adventure


Down By the River (Oil on Canvas) 

From the Archives:  painted circa 1996 to 2000 while I was in undergrad.

When I was a child I regularly read the Choose Your Own Adventure Books.  I loved how you had a choice in what happened to the characters.  The books were dynamic and could be read over and over again with different outcomes.  “Choose Your Own Adventure is a series of children's gamebooks where each story is written from a second-person point of view, with the reader assuming the role of the protagonist and making choices that determine the main character's actions and the plot's outcome.”*  The way they worked:  You would start reading and then you would get to a certain point.  Then the book would present you with a choice, saying something like . . . “If you want to do this, turn to page ___.  Or if you want to do this, turn to page ____.”  This choosing would happen periodically through the book.  You could literally go back and re read the book many times and it would feel like a whole different story depending on your choices.

Our walk with God is like a Choose Your Own Adventure Way of Life.  We get to junctures in our life and we choose which way we will go.  Are there life circumstances where we do not have control or choice as to what happens to us?  Absolutely.  However, we do have some choice in how we respond.  We cannot control other people or life’s circumstances.  Yet we can choose our journey in the sense that we can choose joy even when life’s circumstances are not what we thought they would be.  We can choose peace even in the midst of conflict.  We can choose to hope even though life is full of things that could cause despair.  We can choose to love even in a world filled with hate.  We can choose to live out of our passions and not fall into the patterns of apathy.  We choose to surrender to God and there we find an incredible journey and adventure.

William Ernest Henley writes in his famous poem Invictus:  


                                    I am the master of my fate:

                                    I am the captain of my soul. 


With all due respect, I slightly disagree with this sentiment.  God is the master of my fate and the captain of my soul, but I have a choice in how I respond to life’s circumstances.  So on a daily basis I work to choose joy, to choose peace, to choose hope, to choose love, and to choose passion. 

On my last trip to Jamaica (January of this year), my husband and I had the opportunity to tube down the White River . . . just the two of us and a guide.  As we flowed down the stream, there were times that we had to paddle and work to stay in the flow of the river.  It was easy to get off course.  Yet with a little effort and some guidance, it was not that hard to paddle back into the flow of the stream. 

So it is with life.  As we flow through life, the challenge is to keep putting ourselves in the stream of God’s presence and let it wash over us and direct us.  This pattern of life is best done not in isolation but with companions along the way.  And sometimes we need a guide, some one who has journeyed through similar waters, who can ask the right questions and help us discover from within where we need to go.  Choosing our own adventure in the Christian way means choosing the path of surrender, the path of living knowing Jesus is Lord of all creation, Lord of the cosmos, and Lord of our lives.  At its best, when we are living into that surrender those are the times we are right in the middle of the flow cruising along.  Does that mean there won’t be rocks and current shifts along the way?  Of course there will be things that try to send us off course.  And the course is not some predestined set out path before us but rather the conscious choice to be about the work of God and be led by God’s abiding presence and love.  It is a life of surrender, obedience, and true freedom.  The practice of spiritual disciplines is what keeps bringing us back to the flow.  As we cultivate these habits it is as if we are paddling back toward the presence of God that is always there whether we are aware or not.  God loves you (and me) and wants what is best for you (and me)!  The real adventure is choosing to live in the awareness of God as master of where we are going and captain of our soul.

Just as life involves choosing your own adventure so it is with your spiritual disciplines.  We are each unique and wonderfully made; and therefore, we will each connect with God in unique and wonderful ways.  That is what Grace Works Studio is all about.  On a regular basis I will be posting ongoing creative ways to connect with God.  I will invite you to Delve Deeper.  Check out this NEW page on my site and start choosing your own adventure in how you connect with God.

Gracious and Loving God, source of Living Water, guide us direct us, fill us and be with us through the course of life.  Help us to keep choosing you and to keep choosing to be about Your business here on earth as it is in heaven.  When we veer away from your presence send us guides to gently nudge us back into the stream of your love and presence.  Give us eyes to see and ears to hear.  May your renewing waters continue to wash over us day after day.  And may our lives be cultivated habits of surrender.  We want to encounter you.  Meet us in the waters of life.  Amen.




*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choose_Your_Own_Adventure


 All paintings, drawings, Ideas, and wording on this webpage are copyrighted by the artist.  
© 2010 Charissa Jaeger-Sanders.  All Rights Reserved.  You are welcome to use the ideas and suggestions found on this website, for no fee, as long as you give credit to Grace Works Studio.  However, if you Find this Website helpful, please consider giving a donation to Grace Works Studio to help continue its ministry.