Choice- Reclaiming the Power in Your Life

Choice. A powerful word, an empowering concept. It has helped me reframe everything that I do and helped me to better own my life. Rather than feeling like a victim of my circumstance or the people around me, I choose what I do, how I react and what I believe. I am no longer dependent on others for my happiness, worth, or even desirability.  I make the choices that influence what I believe about myself.

But choice is not just about how I act, it is what must be granted to feel chosen. If I want to feel desired, than I must let the other choose. I cannot make that happen. But when I become the person that God created me to be, and stop trying to control things that I do not control, then I make it possible for others to choose me.


From the beginning of time God has given us choice. He instructed Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree of knowledge, and then He let them choose. Would they trust Him and His goodness for them? Would they choose Him, or would they chase after their own desires and suffer the consequences?

We face constant choices. We may not control our circumstances, but we choose how we handle our circumstances.

Taking responsibility for ourselves and our choices, requires maturity and courage.  It is much easier to cast blame on others or the situation at hand, just like Adam and Eve did.

“The serpent made me do it!” replied Eve.

“She gave me the fruit!”, Adam cried.

“I have no one to help me…”

“If only my husband connected with me emotionally then…”

“My wife doesn’t have enough sex with me so I…”

We spend enormous energy casting blame on others. We spew, accuse, vent, cry, stomp our feet, and retreat in silence, while grappling to control that which we cannot control. Satan has deceived us and we eventually indulge in playing the role of victim.

“I cannot be happy unless he makes me happy.”

“If she would make love to me, then I would feel like a man.”

“His desire will prove that I am worth choosing.”

And we lose sight of the power we hold.  But the truth is that we choose who we become, how we act, and what we believe about ourselves.


Choice gives us agency. Rather than blaming others, we take responsibility for ourselves and become an actor in our own life.  We get to decide how we live; how much we love and who we serve. Rather than waiting for the other, we go first. Rather than doing things as a way to convince others of their need to change, we do them simply out of love. Regardless of how poorly someone treats us, we choose to treat them with love. (And I don’t mean to let them mistreat us. Sometimes the most loving thing that we do is to draw a line in the sand and say, “this is not ok”). But we have the power to choose to do things differently – to love others and extend compassion – even when they are not acting very loveable.

God Himself shows us the way… Romans 5:8 says, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” God did not wait until we chose Him. In fact, some of us may never choose Him. But Christ chose us anyway.

Can we do the same for the impatient grocery clerk that is having a bad day, by extending compassion, patience and kindness? What about our husband that just doesn’t seem to understand how their silence makes us feel unloved?

What would happen if we put the responsibility for our actions squarely on our own shoulders? Not so that we can feel superior, or convince our spouse that they need help, but simply because we choose to love. Can you imagine how empowering it would be to pause when you feel like reacting and remind yourself, I have the power to choose who I want to be and how I treat those I care about.

Loving others is not becoming who they want you to be. Loving others is becoming the person that God created you to be. We treat others with respect and love, and we become more like Christ. As we begin to feel better about ourselves, we become less needy. Choosing to love becomes something that fill us up – not drains us. We don’t have to, we want to. We choose.

Being Chosen

While I have the power to choose my husband, I am slowly facing the fact that I cannot make my husband choose me. Sure, I might complain enough that my husband starts doing those things because he loves me. Or I might tearfully share all the ways he has disappointed me as a way to covertly produce the reassurance of his devotion. I might even share a podcast, hoping that he will learn what I deem important. But if I orchestrate my husband’s behavior, then has he really chosen me? Have I given him a choice?

In order for my husband to choose me, I must let go of trying to control him. Because whether Jim realizes it or not, I know the covert ways that I have tried to feel chosen. If I want Jim to choose me, then I must grow up and stop demanding. I don’t want Jim to love me because I am needy. I want him to choose me, because I am worth choosing. All I have control over is me.

So I shift my focus from Jim, and work toward becoming a woman that is worth choosing. Over and over, every day, I let go of Jim and choose to work on me. What can I do differently? How can I be more open? Do I really want to know him, or do I just want him to give me the answers that I want? Am I sharing my feelings to be more open, or to covertly guilt him into changing? Am I making him responsible or blaming him for my unhappiness, or am I taking care of myself. I stop trying to make him choose me and become a woman that I believe is worth choosing.

Then when Jim does choose me, through the myriad of ways that he cares and love me every day, it feels real. He did it on his own without my help. He chose me.

What if you start viewing life through the lens of choice?

Quiet Your Inner Critic and Feel Satisfied

I have high standards.  I focus, work hard, and I make things happen. But even when things go well, I never feel satisfied. I mean, I’ve spent 10 years teaching Awaken Love to over 1000 women and still felt like a failure. That doesn’t really make sense, but it’s true. I recently discovered through counseling that my harsh inner critic constantly beats me down. It never allowed me to feel the satisfaction that comes when you put your all into something, and let God take care of the rest. I am learning to quiet my inner critic and feel satisfied and it feels so good.

Inner Critic

When I started working on myself, I am guessing that my counselor quickly noticed my inner critic. Meanwhile, I had no idea I even had an inner critic. You see, I didn’t typically hear voices berating me and telling me what an awful job I did. But I did evaluate everything to the Nth degree, leaving me feeling miserable.  I never felt satisfied and always found ways that I did not quite measure up.

For example, this Fall I spoke at Re Engage about How to Create a Meaningful Sex Life. I felt at ease speaking, and could tell the audience was listening and engaged. After I spoke, several people shared how much my talk had impacted them. By all accounts I should have felt pleased and satisfied with the night. But as I thought through my content, I realized that I might have skewed things towards husbands needing to grow. Which spun into, some of the husbands might have felt beat up and discouraged. Which eventually spun into me feeling pretty awful. That night, I hadn’t heard my inner critic beating me up, but I sure felt it.

As I continued to learn about the inner critic, it all came to a head one night. My husband and I had a tough night of sex, where for whatever reason, I felt disappointed. Though I did not vocalize it, my head filled with criticism for all the ways that Jim had not met my needs. Eventually I settled myself down enough to sleep. But in the middle of the night I woke, and as I lay next to my husband, my mind sorted through what had happened. Suddenly I had clarity about my role in our dynamic and I felt remorse. First thing in the morning, I would own what I had done and ask for forgiveness.

Out Loud in the Open

Then, all of sudden, as clear as could be, I heard my inner critic for the first time.

“You F***ing idiot. You do nothing!,”

And instead of getting scared, or shutting it down, I just calmly listened, ready to know the depth of the darkness within me.  Clarity would help me move forward, so I let my inner critic continue…

“Why don’t you do something you F***er. Just sit there and cower. Sit there and take it. What’s wrong with you. F***ing idiot! You’ve done nothing with your life. Are you going to keep hiding? Do something! Ha! You don’t even know what to do!”

And afterward, I just lay silently holding onto my husband and I realized, no wonder I am so critical towards my husband. Look how treat myself.

Since that time, I have not heard my inner critic. But that does not mean it is not there. In fact, I recognize the presence of my inner critic through the feelings that I have in my gut. Those feelings that made me want to take cover during that spoken tirade are the same ones I have felt many times before. The sick feeling of not measuring up, wanting to go into hiding, and feeling paralyzed. I have no doubt that my inner critic had a strong influence in my life, and things need to change.

Quieting the Inner Critic

Many of us struggle with an inner critic. Some might call it insecurities, or anxiety or even an attack from the devil. But many of you may relate. My inner critic has been with me for a lifetime and though it may never completely disappear, I am learning tools to decrease its influence on my life.


The antidote to an inner critic is simply giving myself compassion. So, I am learning to quiet my inner critic by saying things to myself like…

  • I am doing the best that I can right now
  • I can learn from my mistakes
  • It makes sense that this is hard for me
  • It will take time for me to change

Evaluate – Don’t Ruminate

I have also decided that evaluating ways to improve and learn is not the same as ruminating about all the ways that I fall short. After just a few minutes to evaluate and think about what I can learn and improve, I must consciously stop thinking about it. I will not be perfect,  and that is ok, because I am human.

Learning to Feel Satisfied

While journaling about what makes me feel angry, sad, afraid, guilty, happy, and satisfied, I realized that I don’t remember ever feeling satisfied. Whether it was a piece of furniture I built, the retreat I hosted, or the sex class I taught, I have never felt satisfied.  I would cringe at recognition, knowing full well how I had fallen short and what needed improvement. Rather than pause to feel satisfied, I quickly moved to the next task.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to feel satisfied. For me, it means that I bring my best offering, I work hard putting my whole heart and soul into it, and then I release it. I hand it off to God and let Him take care of the rest. If God wants to He can fill in my gaps, or use my mistakes, but He doesn’t have to. He can do what He wants with my offering. And when I release my offering, I take time to see it, acknowledge it and feel thankful. To feel satisfied. For me, taking time to feel satisfied helps to quiet my inner critic.

Final Thoughts

Working on my inner critic is helping me not only treat myself better, but it is helping me treat my husband better. Just like I am learning to extend compassion to myself, I am learning to extend compassion to Jim. Life just feels easier. As I am teaching Awaken Love classes this session, I am taking time to pause, see what happened, acknowledge it, hand the rest over to God, and be thankful. I feel satisfied when I give my all, and my all is enough.

Other News

I promise, I will start writing about sex again. Thank you for being patient with me.

If you live in the Twin Cities I have an in person class starting soon.