Everyday life, Faith, Family

The Tyranny of Choice

I was frozen in the Barbie aisle with no relief in sight.

Did she say she wanted the one with the red dress or the blue dress?

A perky woman passed by and without a care in the world she reached for the winter-dress Barbie, double-checked her list, and threw the doll in her cart.

Darn it. Why didn’t I write it down when she said it?

I agonized for another few minutes, holding the blue in one hand and the red in the other.

Red. Blue. Red. Blue.


Granted, it had been a long day, but I have never been reduced to crying in the doll section before. There’s a first time for everything.

Merry Christmas.

The day after Todd and I came back from our honeymoon, we made our inaugural trip to the grocery store as a married couple. I would love to say we reached for the same loaf of bread and giggled at the way we were made for each other.

There was a sweet moment as I was walking through the hair section, trying to choose a shampoo and conditioner. I popped open a bottle and sniffed it. Todd smiled.

“I’m going to run and get some yogurt. I’ll be right back.” He said.

I closed the cap and reached for the next bottle.

“Okay.” I kissed him on the cheek and smiled back. I don’t know why I smiled. Nothing was cute about the situation, but looking back it may have been the fact that I weighed as much as your average fourth grader. That’s a reason to smile all in itself.

He walked out of sight and I continued my quest. A few minutes later I saw him at the end of the aisle, grinning from ear to ear at his precious bride.

“You ready?” He called down.

“Almost. Let me just look for a few more minutes.” I waved and he disappeared again. Adorable.

This continued for about six more passes.


This time he looked afraid.

And I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that.

“Hmm? What? Hey-does this have a good vanilla smell or a bad vanilla smell?” I replied, oblivious to the look of man-panic that had overtaken him.

He hovered over the bottle and avoided eye contact, considering the fact that not only did he need to come up with the correct answer about $4 shampoo undertones, but also that he was looking at another 50 plus years of wandering around the store while crazy-pants sniffed for three hours.

It was, to say the least, a rude awakening.

Because quite frankly, you are ill-prepared for life when your biggest concerns involve 12A at all. I can’t imagine he was thinking about what a great mom I was going to be or all the ways I was going to live up to his expectations in everyday life. I mean, we were T minus 8 days into this sucker and I was already having a mental breakdown at Kroger. Fantastic.

As children filled our house, I got less particular about hair products. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t struggle through decisions. I have had this issue for as long as I can remember, and I see it every single day.

I can’t choose.

Because that means that something is right and something is wrong. And all of a sudden I’m a third grader standing there with my lunchtray in my hands and the lady with the net in her hair is asking if I want grilled cheese or a burger. The line is piling up behind me and my hands are holding a sweaty pile of coins.

Choose, Angela. Choose.

I stutter my answer and then sat at the table, eyeing my lunch and realizing I wanted the grilled cheese instead.

It’s not just lunches and dolls, is it?

Simply stated, we are inundated with the tyranny of choice. 

How can a trip to the store turn out okay when you are faced with 57 grape jelly options? In what world is that necessary?

What if you get the reduced-sugar and it tastes horrible?

What if you married the wrong man?

It sounds like a drastic jump, but I don’t think it is. I’ve been convicted and overwhelmed by this holiday season and the Lord has been speaking to me clearly about the nature of my humanity and the fickleness that is bred by entitlement. I’m not going to speak for you, because I don’t know you. But I am going to tell you a little about my heart and if any of it resonates with you, I am praying the Lord will use this post to speak to you.

It started a long, long time ago, in a garden where what God planned wasn’t good enough for what they wanted. Even the first man and woman felt entitled to a choice. And as soon as they saw one presented, they jumped.

What they needed in that moment, they already had access to.

God. Only God.

I admit that standing in the middle of Target clutching two Barbie dolls and screaming, “I only need Jesus!!!!!!” might not have the desired impact. But, still. The sentiment exists.

The ugly truth is that the color of that stupid dress matters to Kate. At least I thought it did. She probably doesn’t remember. But it made me ask myself if I was fostering a sense of entitlement in my children, not necessarily by giving them too much, but instead, too many.

Choices, that is.

I have a degree in developmental psychology. I won’t bore you with my GPA or my thesis topic, but I will say that I did pretty well and I think I’m a fairly smart cookie. I’ve read almost every parenting book that exists on planet Earth, and I do know that choices are important to help our children form opinions and feel autonomy.

Kate is not an easy child. She is strong-willed to the degree that water is damp.

I’m the first to admit it. And the last one to fall asleep crying because I am simply worn out. She is a walking litmus test for patience. And I fail regularly.

But I see something in her that breaks me because she can’t help herself any more than I can get that Tuesday burger special back.

I want her to know that she hasn’t failed me because she made a wrong choice.

She has inherited more than my dark brown eyes.

She is paralyzed by the choices of the world, and one stop at the dollar spot will put her in a tailspin for hours.

Yes, I’m talking about “stuff” here, but really, deep down underneath it all, it’s not just “stuff.”

It’s the voice inside us that longs for the other tree. 

Not just in marriage, but in our jobs, our schedules, our finances, our homes, our cars, our parenting style.

We are so tempted to believe that we are one step away from the thing that makes everything else go away. And if we can smell every single bottle of cheap shampoo we can get our hands on, we might find the one that makes him love us more.

I’m humbling myself here, friends. Not because I like the way it feels, but because I don’t.

I don’t want to spend my entire life worrying about the nit-picky stuff, because the more I do, the more I am convinced that I have a right to have a say in everything.

We live in a drive-thru, speed-dial, three different Walgreens in a half-mile radius kind of world. It doesn’t have to be bad. But it could be terrible.

Last week, after an afternoon of coat-shopping that could make Mother Theresa lose her mind, I realized that it should make her lose her mind. It’s stupid to let nine-year-olds chose their coats. I’m paying for it, and they are, you know, NINE.

Don’t think I’m saying you can’t give them choices, but rather, when they expect a choice in every situation, you need to reassess. I don’t know about you, but I’m hot and bothered when I don’t have options.

And today, God told me something that I want you to hear.

If you need to, go shout it from the ends of every aisle in town, and don’t stop until everyone is staring at you like your head is on fire.

He is enough. You have the ear of the One who created the heavens and spun stars into their places.

And when I came home with three coats that I chose for my daughters, I smiled when they tried them on and danced around the living room, thanking me and saying they loved them.

I don’t remember which Barbie she wants.

I also don’t remember the reason I thought it mattered all that much.

I don’t need a thousand choices in this life. I need Him.

I’m desperate for Him, actually.

And this season, when you are tempted to feel overwhelmed by what I am assuming are first-world problems, whisper that word under your breath until you feel your bones ache with truth. Him. Him. Him.

And you know what?

No matter how hard it is to imagine with all of the bazillions of people to walk this globe, He chose you.


He just walked in the door and handed you the gift you didn’t know you needed and now you can’t imagine life without it. There’s no time to wonder about what else He could have given you. It’s irrelevant. And because it’s irrelevant, it is also spectacular.

He gave Himself.

Live a life that loves Him back.

Merry Christmas to every single one of you….

Choose well.

All my love~


If any of this post resonated with you, I hasten to say you need to order this new book (7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess) by my friend Jen Hatmaker. No, she doesn’t know I’m writing this and it isn’t a sales pitch 🙂 I believe in her message and I think you will be blessed by it…in fact, you don’t have a choice. Just click over and buy it 🙂


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  • Reply Kelli December 20, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Thank you for this message. I needed to hear this tonight and it resonates deeply. Him. I have Him.

    And that is enough.

    Merry Christmas.

    • Reply Dana Moody December 23, 2011 at 10:49 am

      Especially during the holidays when every choice seems to overwhelm, this is what I needed to hear.  I feel (wrongly) that every choice I make will be remembered by my kids when the only thing they WILL remember is the love.  The way I look at them, speak to them, hug them.  Not what they got as a gift, food we ate at Christmas dinner, the color of the table cloth. Thank you Jesus.  You are enough.

    • Reply Aharrison687 January 26, 2012 at 2:00 am

      good post! yes decisions can be difficult sometimes, especially when you go to the store, and there are so many options, it can be confusing what to choose, like a gazillion different hair products! But as you said, the main thing is that the Lord is sufficient, and he can help us make good choices if we seek him, and help us to realize also when it is not a big deal

  • Reply Rebecca December 20, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    Yes, thank you.  Thank you for allowing Him to speak through you.  This was exactly what I needed, especially in this season of my life.  

    P.S.  Any chance you’ll be writing a parenting book in the future?  I’d be the first in line to buy it.  🙂

  • Reply robin December 20, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    I got to this line {He just walked in the door and handed you the gift you didn’t know you needed and now you can’t imagine life without it} and starting crying. That’s it right there. Oh thank you for this post. Merry Christmas to you and your family. 

  • Reply Blair December 20, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Oh, this is so me.  So me, right now.  Tonight I was thrilled that the menus at the restaurant stayed at the table and the waitress didn’t grab them away.  I have to look at my choices again to be sure I chose the right thing! 

    Every night I want to talk to my husband about the Christmas gifts.  Make sure I chose right.  Think about other options.  I could return that, and get that instead, maybe?  He wants nothing of it.  Just buy something and move on.

    But this is me, every Christmas.  I always say it will be better next year, but it’s always the same.  Good food for thought; thanks, Angie.

  • Reply Jesusistheparty! December 20, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Love this post!!!! It’s the enemy’s subtle way of controlling us by constantly throwing down seeds of doubt just like in the Garden! Did God really say……? Are you sure about that? “Shoulda, coulda, woulda” as well as “if only” is Satan speaking 99% of the time. I am printing this and sharing it with some of my fam and friends! Merry CHRISTmas!!! Dana.

  • Reply Alysa Bajenaru, RD December 21, 2011 at 12:03 am

    Angie!!! You so know how to speak to my heart. I feel like we have a lot in common with how we approach things, so I am totally thankful for the way you share your heart. He IS enough, and I feel like He has been speaking that truth to me through many different means, including you. The more I listen, the more He moves, and the more on fire I become. Thank you Angie.

  • Reply Michelle December 21, 2011 at 12:23 am

    This spoke to me in a piercing way.  And this:”We are so tempted to believe that we are one step away from the thing that makes everything else go away.”

    I have always had an issue with making decisions but tonight, you articulated the whys so clearly. Sometimes I have a hard time making a decision because I’m fatigued or not feeling well, but other times, I am paralyzed even when feeling well.

    Have a Merry Christmas, Angie.

  • Reply Megan M B December 21, 2011 at 12:50 am

    Wow, just wow!
    This part speaks to me in a way I can’t even explain.”But that doesn’t mean I didn’t struggle through decisions. I have had this issue for as long as I can remember, and I see it every single day.

    I can’t choose.

    Because that means that something is right and something is wrong.”

    I was faced with one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make in the past few weeks. I have been paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong choice. I have felt like I just couldn’t choose.

  • Reply Alicia December 21, 2011 at 5:11 am

    I SO get this! I’m a teacher at a private Christian school & this year I taught Grade 5. I loved them & they loved me, but they had such a sense of entitlement about them- as if they “deserved” everything & anything their hearts desired. And if they decided they didn’t want to listen or do what I asked them to, well that was their right as well 😉

    I’ve just been thinking recently that maybe if we took away some of the choices we give children- not all, just some- then we might have children who appreciate what they have that little bit more, and are so much more grateful when they do get to choose.

    I thought this when babysitting a little 1 year old girl recently- why do I keep asking her what she wants, or which one she prefers? She’s 1! Isn’t that just setting her up to be a little spoiled & entitled, instead of respecting what she already has?

    And we are exactly the same. I love the way you have put all your thoughts into words in this post. Being Christmas, it’s even more meaningful. So many bloggers are posting about the ways they are contributing to the community and showing love and kindness in unexpected ways this season- and this fits right in! Love it.

  • Reply marije December 21, 2011 at 5:58 am

    um, hello!!! HIM. yes. only Him.
    amazing, angie.

  • Reply Ang December 21, 2011 at 8:17 am

    This is just so beautiful, Angie. Thank you for sharing your heart. You and your books have helped me through so much this year. I am thankful for you. 

  • Reply Saudamini Deo December 21, 2011 at 8:23 am

    I continue to be amazed by the obliviousness of Christian blogs. I sometimes wonder if you ever get out of your Jesus bubble and look at the real problems of the world which, to your utter surprise I think, cannot be solved by sending messages about Jesus Christ. I respect all religions and am an agnostic myself but this is just ridiculous. Have you ever considered or thought about the impact Christian missionaries have on local cultures and customs?!  This is beyond pathetic!! 

    • Reply Jamie December 21, 2011 at 9:10 am

      Jesus is the answer for everything!! Will be praying for you. 🙂

    • Reply Mommyof4Kelleys December 21, 2011 at 11:16 am

      The beauty of Jesus is that He meets you where you are.  If you consider yourself an agnostic, take the time to read the bible for yourself and see if it speaks to you.  I like the book of James.  Maybe start there?  You will learn why we (Christians) love Him.  If in your reading you are moved to begin a relationship with the one and only Jesus, click here:   http://www.sbc.net/knowjesus/theplan.asp  and find a local, loving church to call home.  I’ll be praying for you ~ Cortni

    • Reply AshleyB December 21, 2011 at 3:20 pm

      I definitely agree with you that all too often we as Christians think we can just “send out the message of Jesus,” as if just putting it out there is a panacea.  This one post though is a tiny glimpse into the everyday, moment to moment life of one Believer — and apparently several with whom this resonated — to paint her life, or all Christians with such a broad brush based on 1500 words is a bit presumptuous.  It’s hard to get a big picture view of what any Christian’s life is like by reading her words from one day (as good as they may be in my mind or others’ minds); and I’d venture to say that if I looked at one moment in a day of your life it wouldn’t be a complete picture of you, your loves, your beliefs, your hopes, and your dreams. 
      I’ll gently offer a little nudge to read further, look back and see that “just sending out the message of Jesus” is a far cry from what you’ll read here. 
      Best to you,

  • Reply Sheilannpat December 21, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I too have a daughter who is very much like me, so much like me that we bump heads, often.  She is now nine, so to be 10 and we are finding out way.  LOL, oh how I love her!  This was the child who could make me laugh so hard and then an hour later, want to cry and perhaps I even did.  I no longer take her shoe shopping, after The Great Shoe Trip of 2007.  I now bring home two pairs and she chooses from them, haha.  thank you for your words, I want to be satisfied and filled-up with Jesus, so full He is spilling over.  I want to show my children that He is enough.  God bless you and your family this Christmas season.  In God’s Love, sheila

  • Reply Sheilannpat December 21, 2011 at 9:55 am

    God bless you!  It’s your honesty that is compelling.  And how God uses others to help us on our journey.  May you have a wonderful Christmas, God-filled.  Sheila

  • Reply Amanda December 21, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Amazing.  This was a drink of living water this morning.  Thank you so much!!

  • Reply JustJess December 21, 2011 at 10:08 am

    So beautiful, as always. Thank you for the reminder. Shared with my FB friends today, knowing they, too, need it as much as I did. Merry Christmas.

  • Reply Lisa December 21, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Thank you so much for this post!  I so needed to be reminded that He is all that I need! 

  • Reply Taylor December 21, 2011 at 10:15 am

    This spoke volumes to me. Thank you Angie! And Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

  • Reply Stacy December 21, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Awesome post.  My three children, sadly, are prone to feel entitlement, and, if I am honest, I do sometimes.  My husband and I now have as our mission to break this in our children and we know we are going to have to do something radical for it to be accomplished.  We want them to have the security of knowing that Jesus is truly all they need – not video games, the latest toys, etc.  But, in reality, my husband and I need to learn this as well.

    On a side note, I’ve been meaning to tell you that I LOVE your book What Women Fear.  I feel like you nailed every single fear in my life.  The book has given me such encouragement.  I told my husband the week of Thanksgiving that I’d love to be able to tell you how grateful I was for this book, and coincidentally, I saw you at Target on Black Friday with your sweet girls.  I was tempted to tell you then, but I chickened out because I didn’t want to intrude on your precious time with them.  They are adorable 🙂

  • Reply Coby December 21, 2011 at 10:40 am

    This so resonated with me – as someone who is afraid to make choices in the most foolish of things (because what if I make the wrong one and the BETTER option is still out there…so I don’t make a choice at all) and as a mommy who wants to give my children options but not a sense of entitlement.

    This echoed what I’ve been mulling over the past couple of weeks – I just need HIM.  The eternal things that are of true significance – what eternal things am I building into my children, with my husband, into my heart…whether or not I buy black flats or boots with my birthday money (a “difficult choice” ’cause I won’t get another chance to make that choice until my birthday rolls around again ’cause money is tight!) isn’t all that important, huh?

  • Reply Kelli_d_sellers December 21, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Thank you. I really needed this!

  • Reply Mommyof4Kelleys December 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I love this!  This is my life in a few short paragraphs.  I know what God needed me to hear and I’m holding that close, but I have to admit – this one sentence, ‘
    She is strong-willed to the degree that water is damp.’  describes my 2nd (of 4) kids to a ‘T’!  It’s comforting that I’m not alone!  I’m still giggling about that comparison! Thank you for pouring your heart out and letting God use you to not only brighten my day, but teach me something in the process!

    • Reply Sheilannpat December 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      Hold everthing, we may be onto something, Second Child, oh my.  Kate does fall into that catagory too, considering the first two were born together.  And they seem to be girls, hmmm.  God bless, sheila

    • Reply robin December 21, 2011 at 7:57 pm

      Me too! 2nd kid, daughter, too, strong-willed as can be. It comforted me to know that another mother’s patience is tested as much as mine. 🙂

  • Reply Connorcolesmom December 21, 2011 at 11:13 am

    beautifully written!! 
    God is all we need – AMEN!!!
    Merry Christmas sweet Angie! 

  • Reply Jessica Miller Kelley December 21, 2011 at 11:23 am

    One of my favorite Christmas-song lyrics is actually from Walking in a Winter Wonderland (not the most spiritual, but whatever). “To face unafraid the plans that we made…” because the choices that we make in life are easy to second-guess, but we’ve got to just move forward in perseverance and faith. 

  • Reply Wick December 21, 2011 at 11:36 am

    We are definitely inundated with a large amount of choices on a daily basis.  Usually, I can decided using the “what is cheapest?” method.  This becomes difficult with a wife who has “gift-giving” as a love language…or when we have 20 restaurants to choose from and no kids with us for the first time in ages for our anniversary this past week…that was fun. 🙂

  • Reply Kristen Maddux December 21, 2011 at 11:56 am

    I think this needs to be the topic of your next book. I’m not kidding! As women especially, this is huge. Many live constantly wondering if we made the wrong choice at some point; continually regretting and ruminating over what might have been. “What if I married the wrong man”….”What if I hadn’t gotten in that car?” etc. etc.  And it paralyzes us.  In first chapter of “What Women Fear,” you touched on it briefly and I soooooo wanted to hear more. I thought then that this should to be your next book topic!!  SO, when I saw this post, I just had to throw it out there!!  There is much to be said, and I for one would love to hear it! 🙂

  • Reply Carla Schwartz December 21, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Angie, sometimes I think we are one in the same! I felt like ‘What Women Fear’ was written directly for me 🙂 This post could be just for me also. I have (through God’s gracious prodding) traced the root of so many “issues” to my extreme perfectionism. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that making a choice feels like you’re indicating “one thing is right, and the other thing is wrong.” In reality, reaching for one type of grape jelly off the shelf doesn’t reflect on us as people, but we often internalize it as if it does. I didn’t even realize how hard I was being on myself because my internal monologue was so subconscious and ingrained, but I found myself being a perfectionist not only on the big obvious issues, but the miniscule ones. In the back of my mind it would constantly play on a loop. “Why did you buy THAT type of grape jelly? You knew you liked the taste of the other one better. You just have to sample everything, and you just wasted $3.” It’s sad, really! My heart breaks for the grace we deny ourselves in the face of a loving Father who accepts us just as we are.
    I also get really stressed out about the overabundance of choice in our consumerist economy. It seems like a waste of time, money and energy to produce so many types of goods. I’m a girl who likes to shop and so if there are 57 types of mascara at the  drugstore (plus 57 more types at Sephora) I want to try them all! Sometimes I feel like I’d be more at peace if there were just 3 types of mascara. I would go to the store, get what I needed and leave. I don’t wish for our economy to be less successful, just for some sweet simplification. It may seem silly to focus on these small things, but the sheer fact that we have to sort through 57 types of mascara just to find one we like is a symbol of an overabundance that permeates every aspect of our lives.

  • Reply Karen December 21, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    I got here through minivansarehot.com   A GREAT post!  I also cruised over to Jen’s blog and DID order her book.  My hubby and I are on a journey…..not sure what it looks like exactly, but we are desperately trying to follow HIM and HIM alone!

  • Reply Eleanor December 21, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    You never, ever fail to make me think. Thank you!

  • Reply Jacks December 21, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    THIS IS ME!!!!!! Thank you for sharing your heart (HIS heart) and making me realize I am not alone in this struggle—a crazy psycho of a hormonal woman (though some days my hubby may say otherwise!) :op May I always come back to this truth: He IS enough…ALL I “need” is Him!

  • Reply Amy von Borstel December 21, 2011 at 1:19 pm


    Yes, Jesus is more than enough…I discovered this through some years of extreme hardship. I would relive every trial from my past for the treasure I have discovered in Jesus!

    Merry Christmas!

  • Reply No Greater Love December 21, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I just wrote a post about how I went to Ikea and came back with NOTHING, because it was too overwhelming for me to decide on something.  And, I wrote it as a joke…but honestly it was a total pain.  I do really keep crying out to the Lord to help me get the right perspective…that everything burns, except our relationships with Him and with His people…and therefore, not to get so hung up on the everyday piddly stuff.  But it is sooooo hard sometimes.  🙂

  • Reply steph December 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm

    chills and tears as i read this. “He is enough. You have the ear of the One who created the heavens and spun stars into their places.” yes.

    thank you for this post.

    merry christmas!

  • Reply Letti December 21, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Wow, I thought I was the only one that struggles to make choices even the ones that seem so simple like which brand of mustard to buy, because I don’t want to get the wrong one! And I loved the rest of your post…you are such an inspiration! Hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas! 

  • Reply Leslie December 21, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    Your post, and all the comments too, are validating. I feel normal. I remember my father taking me to the penny candy aisle when I was little and I would feel sick and cry not knowing what to choose. One big treat, or a variety of little ones I could spread out over several days. 

    This year for Christmas, my in-laws and the great-grands mailed checks for me to “get the kids whatever they would like”. I felt overwhelmed at the many choices that landed in my lap. I did find peace when God reminded me that even though they are my choices, it NOT all up to me. I do my best and let him care for the rest. It has worked out nicely. I only had one emotional breakdown. 🙂

  • Reply Angela December 21, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    Oh thank you. What a refreshing and needed word today.  🙂

  • Reply Ginny December 21, 2011 at 5:35 pm

    Ha! Funny Lady!

    I grew up (well, 13 – 23 years) in Kenya, East Africa. I remember

  • Reply Erin December 21, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    I love this post.  I have prayed over which olive oil to buy, God help me.  And not because I want the best so much, but that there are TOO many choices and I can’t choose.  I love this.  It reminds me of a book I read a few years back and need to read again – Margin by Richard Swenson.  And – I am very excited about  7.

  • Reply Ginny December 21, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Ha! Funny Lady!

    I grew up (well, 13 – 23 years) in Kenya, East Africa. I remember going all over Nairobi looking for tomato ketchup. Then, when coming back to the UK, going to the supermarket and seeing rows and rows of different types and brands of tomato ketchup and laughing out loud at the ridiculousness of the situation! Because I had the two experiences so close together, I’ve learnt to try and educate myself, but still only give myself the choices I can deal with! Again, with the children, I try to only give them choices where I’m happy with all the outcomes! Eg. To the children – “Do you want to wear your thick jumper and hat to go out in, or your coat?”(I’m not allowing the possibility of going out without either!) For me, it’s usually “Should I have fresh fruit or dried fruit for my snack?” (Cookies and cake are not an option!).
    It’s good sometimes to remember that choice is a blessing, even though too much choice is stressful!

  • Reply Debra December 21, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    My boys are grown – 20, 23, 26.  Reading this reminded me of a Christmas card I selected one year when they were young.  Selecting the family card that would be sent to many was a big deal to me.  This particular one said it all.  The front had a picture of a small child holding a teddy bear as I recall and peering up at a nativity displayed high on the fireplace mantel.  A fire was gently burning, and the setting seemed from years past – very simply accommodations. The inside of the card read: “When you get right down to it, the only thing that really matters is Jesus.”  I got more comments that year than any other from this very humble card. Thank you for reminding me of it.

  • Reply Renee Southern Gal December 21, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    Oh my.  I’ll have to buy that book.  You could have been writing my story there.  The choice thing is so me.  I hate to make the wrong decision.  So much so that I lose sleep wondering why I chose what I did – be it concert tickets, Christmas card pictures, or food – and if I would have been happier and able to sleep if I had made another choice.   Right now I have yet to buy a new jacket this winter because I can’t decide if it should be more casual or dressy.   When it all comes down to Him.  Being content in Him and who I am in Him.  Thank you for this, Angie.  I’m going to read it again…slowly this time.

  • Reply Sonya13 December 21, 2011 at 8:25 pm

    YES! I just wrote a post about how I wanted to get away from my wants and needs because all that I really need is Jesus! Great post!

  • Reply Melanie Cantelmo December 21, 2011 at 11:02 pm

    This was such a good post for me to hear (or read) today. I struggle with these choices and am always paralyzed by choices too 🙂

  • Reply Naelrod December 22, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    What an awesome post and exactly what I needed! Thanks for sharing your heart. Just ordered your friends book from amazon. Looking forward to what good things God shows me in the book! With three little ones I had such great intentions this Christmas… Why do we let it get so complicated?! Again, thanks for tryout words! Merry Christmas!

  • Reply Michelle Reese December 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Oh, Angie. I can so relate. My 6-year-old and I are the same way and I’m struggling to parent her through her indecision as I try to weave my way through it myself. Thank you for the post.

  • Reply Scubagirl December 22, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    You’re right, you know:  we do give our kids too many choices.  BUT, they should never have a choice on whether we’re going to go to church.  We never made that an option, and our kids have always (25 years now) just assumed that if it’s Sunday, it’s church. 

  • Reply Connie L Amato-Mahle December 22, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    Struggle with choices.  Every.  Day.  It does not matter how great or small:  I struggle.

    And it makes me anxious.

    Godspeed, friend!

    And have a blessed, safe, healthy and merry Christmas!!

  • Reply Michelle M. December 22, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    I came to a point today when I all I could do it sit on the floor in my kitchen and cry out “I can’t do this on my own, Lord. I need You!”  I know he sent me directly to your blog. I struggle with major insecurities, making choices and depending on the Lord. My husband lost his job 2 weeks ago and I am a stay at home mom. This news was shocking to me with Christmas around the corner. It;s been a great opportunity to put my focus, along with my kids’ on the REAL meaning of Christmas. Thank you so much for allowing God to use you through writing. I needed this tonight! Merry Christmas to you and yours!

  • Reply Amber Hudler December 22, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    beautifully written. thank you for sharing.

  • Reply sheila rye December 23, 2011 at 8:36 am

    Oh, Angie, so well written!  I have one who is not a good decision maker, I laughed with some of your illustrations!  I have been reading you since before Audrey was born (in fact, if you remember, I was the “chick with the dog” back in the days of “B”).  Anyway, this post was SO good.  You see, though I don’t usually struggle with choices to the extent you mention, this Christmas finds me wishing for those choices, withing for “someone else’s” Christmas, or wishing to go back to a time when Christmas was NORMAL.  And then, I’m reminded AGAIN that the LORD is my CHOICE – it is up to me to CHOOSE HIM!  To CHOOSE to trust HIM – He rocked our world on November 5 when he took my dear husband home to Heaven.  Leaving me a single mom to 3 beautiful daughters (17, 14 and 12).   I have many days said, I MUST CHOOSE HIM to survive!  You can read about our journey here: 
    http://ourjourneytoanewnormal.blogspot.com/  Thanks for this beautiful post – you always encourage me!

  • Reply Melissa December 24, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Angie – thank you for taking the time to write this!! You touched deep into my heart. I just want you to know that the Lord spoke to me through your words!! Many Blessings and a very Merry Christmas!!!!

  • Reply Jordan Whitlach December 24, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    ahh, choices. i tend to dwell on the right and wrong of them, always second-guessing and regretting. thank you for the reminder today!

  • Reply Debra December 24, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I already commented once but just have to say thank you again for inspiring my reflection.

  • Reply Cathy December 25, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Oh my goodness, Angie. You have such a way with words and you move me to tears, good tears, more times than I can remember. You speak so much truth into the every day for me, things I can relate to as well and I NEED that. Thank you. Your post entitled “Sketched” is one I will never forget and intend to bookmark and share many times. Merry Christmas to you and your family. May it be blessed and very memorable.


  • Reply Casey December 26, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Shout it from the rooftops girl!  I am so there, well and HERE.  I have had it with the stuff under the tree and all year long.  And I need to know it–more than I do—that HE picked ME!  I can’t wait to get my hands on Jen’s book.  I am trying desperately to create less stuff in my home and less for my kids.  I don’t enjoy the little greed mongers they are by nature.  Merry Christmas!

  • Reply Tess December 27, 2011 at 8:39 am

    WELL SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Reply Kristen December 27, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Angie.  God is amazing.  Just this morning I lost my temper with my son who struggles with making the smallest of decisions.  He is four and today the struggle was deciding which fruit snack to have.  He struggles with making decisions  daily.  Do you have any suggestions or books to read about this?  I really can’t relate to his problem which is why I am less patient with him. I really want to help him through this.  Any advice?

  • Reply ~va~ December 28, 2011 at 11:51 am

    I struggle with choices too, but I thought it was part of my social anxiety. I am super glad to hear that other people struggle with things that feel like they should be inconsequential but aren’t…like the jillions of shampoo choices…thank you target for only putting one scent of the cheapest shampoo on sale last time I was there–that saved a lot of time.

  • Reply Tena December 28, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Adults have too many choices too! Sometimes I truly think I need medication for my inability to make a stress free choice over the simplest of things. I think God just laughs at me sometimes.

  • Reply Mnmeyes December 28, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Hi Angie! I have a question about your book ‘What Women Fear’. I am leading a women’s bible study group and your book is our next choice. Is there a work book that corresponds with your book or any list of questions for each chapter, that our group can discuss? Thank you in advance! You’re amazing!

  • Reply Rachel December 30, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Hi Angie – I have never commented on your blog before but have been reading for quite awhile 🙂  This post really resonated with me as I, too, often have trouble making decisions (big and small).  A book I have found very interesting about this topic is “The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less – How the Culture of Abundance Robs Us of Satisfaction” by Barry Schwartz.  I agree with a previous commenter that the topic of making choices in a spiritual context would be a great topic for your next book 🙂  God bless for the New Year!

  • Reply Feeling really really blessed « madigan.e.photography.blog December 31, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    […] Jen. I’m pretty sure we’d be friends if we met though. I think.). The link took me to this blog post and I read it thinking it sounded awfully familiar. In front of the pizza that night […]

  • Reply Janice December 31, 2011 at 9:21 pm

    Resonated?  Just about knocked me over this evening, Angie.  Clicked on your blog longing for one of your posts that, to say the very least, resonate w/me.  Begged for my heart and soul to be open and for God’s love, grace, mercy and peace to fill me this evening as I asked my brother to say mass for me. Fought w/my husband about…our decision making communication-which at the heart of that is CHOICE.  Don’t know how it happens w/you Miss Ang but you are most certainly put here in this internet world to be a tool for God’s voice to reach us…me.  “You haven’t failed Me because you made a wrong choice,” may as well come directly from our Lord-I just wrote, hours ago to my brother, that I am recently burdened w/past mistakes.  It is a weight that I have been trying to rid myself of for months, even after confession.  He is enough!  Praise the Lord, He is enough.  And I praise Him this evening for the gift He has given us in your writing.  I know you speak to millions but you speak to each ONE of us, He speaks to each one of us.  I asked for a clear sign, this was like having Him write me an email back answering every one of my worries/burdens that were so heavy on me today.  Too cool, He uses the internet these days…so appropriate for 2012.  Happy New Year.  Thank You!

  • Reply Mariah Magagnotti January 2, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    Fantastic.  I’m going to bookmark this one and read it again a few times.  So good.  So true.  Thanks.

  • Reply Megan January 2, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    I needed this. I forgot about your blog and how much I used to grow from it. Something (or someone 🙂 led me here tonight just for this post. I am overwhelmed with choices and trying to make the right ones. They are important, life changing choices and I’m completely overwhelmed. Thank you for allowing our creator to speak through you. You are his vessel.

  • Reply Allyson Butler January 3, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    This post was just incredible.  I can totally relate to feeling overwhelmed by choices, but now the next time I’m waffling over which yogurt or juice I want at the store, I’m going to think about this.  I need to be reminded every day, that the choice I need to make is not “store brand or name brand” but “listen or not.”  Thank you for continuing to share your heart with us and using the incredible gift of writing that you’ve been given.


  • Reply Michelle January 3, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    I just heard a snippet of you on K-Love and as soon as I heard your voice, I knew it was you.  Although I have never met you or talked to you in person, I knew it was you.  Then the announcer said something to the affect of “If you want to hear more life encouragement by Angie Smith, log on to K-Love.com.  How awesome to hear you on the radio.  I have lost touch with your blog since I never updated the new website on my blog so it said you had never updated for the last 6 months.  Now I will be sure to catch up with you.  Love this post Angie.  Hits home for so many of us.  Thank you again for sharing your heart.  By the way, are you coming to any western states for Women of Faith this year?  If so, I will be there.

  • Reply Monica January 3, 2012 at 10:21 pm

    I love this post.Trying to decide to homeschool or not to homeschool? This is our lastest endeavour with what is best for our kids.The last post I read of yours was on your homeschooling adventures..Angie,do you still homeschool the girls? If so,are you happy with where their are with their education? We want to do it but will we do it right!!! Will we teach them everything they will need to know for college!!! Gosh,I could use your advice.   

  • Reply Julie January 4, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I really loved this! I am the same way – I get stressed trying to buy floss because there are 500 little boxes of them to look through in the store! Too many choices.  

    I had the privilege and joy of hearing you speak at WOF in Hartford (you are hilarious and added so much to the conference!), and I’ve been reading up on your blog and currently in the middle of “What Women Fear”.  You are beautiful, inside and out – I hope I will have the same grace and security in Christ that you have when I encounter the rough times or doubt myself in my life as a mom.  I have 4 children – 1,2,4, and 6 and God has really been speaking to me lately about depending on Him and not my own strength.  

    Through your story, your writing, your beautiful example, I really believe I am growing closer to the Lord and He is using you to teach me more about Himself.  So thank you for that!

    I also got the Jesus Storybook Bible after I saw you mentioned it, and my 6 year old and I have been loving it.  

    Happy New Year to you and your precious family!    

  • Reply carissalayla January 4, 2012 at 10:44 pm

    a simple Thank you is not enough, can I rlate to this post? YES!  I actually start Prozac tomorrow, I am having so many  conflicted thoughts and feeling about this but even though I know God choose me, it’s hard for me to see why.  I am so disappointed about the direction of my life, why other around me are being blessed with what I want (3rd baby, new house, higher income, etc.0  I want to be content and appreciate what I have but it’s been so hard.  Thanks for you beautiful post!

  • Reply Tina January 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm

    Thank you, so much. For answering His call, for sharing with all of us what He places on your heart. I can relate so much with things you bring up & about your sweet daughter’s personality. There are so many days that I feel like I fail her & at everything that I try to accomplish. So often, I feel like the only person with these struggles. But, thanks to your blog and those who read & comment to let us know that we are all in this & oh how He loves us all!

  • Reply kharper522 January 7, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Thank you so much for this entry. It was exactly what I needed to read. I am so off track lately it isn’t funny but this really resonated with me.

  • Reply Wick January 10, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Amen to that.  May we continue to recognize that our “freedom in Christ” is not always that we have more choices, but often that we have the freedom not to approach the buffet…:)

  • Reply Melissa January 10, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    I can totally relate!

  • Reply Her M. February 7, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Umm, did you read my diary? I so relate to this. I feel paralyzed by having options at all, much of the time. To the extreme that I long to be able to delegate and push off responsibility and decision making onto someone else, someone wiser who must know the right thing to do. But I never can seem to find that mystical person here. I’ll often get myself in anguish over what to do. Big things. Little things. ‘Should I go back to work or stay home? Public school or private school? Do I pack him the cashews or the jerky in his lunch? Which is better for his brain? What if he’s not getting enough protein? Do I put him on ADHD meds or not? Do I force him to listen to me read his bible to him tonight or let him go to bed grumpy?’ And even in situations where I really don’t have choice, one day hindsight will feed me the lie that ‘maybe I did have a choice? Maybe I wasn’t paying enough attention? What if there was another way and I missed it?’. I’m so impatient. I want Jesus here. Now. Making my son’s lunch. Picking the school. He’ll always know the right thing, so rather than praying in every moment, asking for wisdom and seeking the Spirit’s direction…I want Him to come right down here and do it for me so I don’t have to wonder if I heard Him correctly. And He keeps gently pulling me closer to Himself, telling me He’s with me and we’re going to do this together.

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