It's Easter y'all. And that means Choose Love. Every day we are faced with hundreds and hundreds of choices. Some choices are trivial, seemingly meaningless, and others are life-changing. In all of these, no matter how mundane or significant, we ultimately make a choice based in love or fear. Think about it. Fear of failing. Fear of losing. Fear of being last. Fear of being alone. Fear of being less than. Fear of not being enough. We make choices based on our fears of what other people will think, or how they will treat us, or what they will do. We choose things based on our fears of the unknown, the uncertain, the unpleasant, the unwanted. Choices that we make in fear manifest in anger, manipulation, discrimination, neglect, gossip, envy, hurt, lies, revenge, back-stabbing, meanness, and self-centeredness. All of these take us away from God. Away from our Higher Power. Away from our Highest Self. Choices made in love manifest in kindness, compassion, forgiveness, understanding, patience, empathy, tenderness, respect, gentleness, and concern for others. Love is always the choice that takes us closer to God. Closer to Godliness. Love is always the Higher Choice. Love is always the God-choice. In the Christian faith, we celebrate Easter to commemorate and remember the death and resurrection of Jesus. He chose love. Without fail. Without exception. Above the law, he chose love. Above society's norms, he chose love. Above his own safety and suffering, he chose love. Above the loss of friends and family, he chose love. Above his own will and his own fears, he chose love. Even above death. He chose love in the ultimate sacrifice any human being can offer, giving his life for others. He was our example, our teacher, our way-shower. And he taught us to choose love. In fact, it was his greatest commandment for us to fulfill. "Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples--when they see the love you have for each other." John 13:34-35 MSG So on Easter, I am reminded to Choose Love. When I am in heavy traffic, or the lines at Publix are unbelievably long, I am to choose love. When I am at work, and others annoy the crap out of me or take credit for something they didn't do, I am to choose love. When I disagree with someone--their decisions, their actions, their life--I am still to choose love. When I have been hurt, when I have been wronged, I am to choose love. When I am tired, or hungry, or short on funds or time, I am still to choose love. In all things, choose love. In the way you treat family and friends, choose love. In the way you treat strangers, choose love. In the way you treat those different from you, choose love. If you need to have a difficult conversation with someone, choose love in your words and approach. If you need to set boundaries or distance yourself from someone, choose love in your method and your actions. In each decision you make throughout your day, ask yourself: Which is the love choice? Which is the higher choice? Which is the God-choice? And choose love. Whether that is as small as letting in the idiot driver that waited til the very last minute to cut in, or not groaning when the British family doesn't see the "10 items or less" sign at Publix, or whether it is as big as offering forgiveness for a blatant wrong or extending kindness to someone who may not deserve it in your eyes. In all things, Choose Love. It may be hard to fathom, but we must also choose love for ourselves. When we pick what foods to eat, how much sleep to get, or whether or not we have time to exercise. Choose love when it comes to learning when to say no, or protecting yourself from people who suck the life out of you. Choose love when it comes to relationships and people who make it hard for you to be healthy. You have to choose love in how you treat them, but you also have to choose it for yourself. You are best able to help others when you are healthy first. I cannot really fathom how difficult it must have been to live His life. I have no way to measure the pain of being whipped, crowned with thorns, beaten, and crucified. I really have nothing in my life, even at my worst of times, to relate to what all Jesus encountered, endured, and witnessed. And there is definitely nothing I have ever had to sacrifice or give up that would come anywhere close to what He willingly did. After all, He was the Son of God. The most powerful human being to ever walk the Earth. Angels and heavens and universe at His command. And yet, He chose love. Others around us will recognize Him when they see the love. So it must be my daily mantra, my inner dialogue, my driving motivation, and my ever-renewing goal. CHOOSE LOVE.