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It happens all the time in my daycare. (I know the phrase all the time is usually an exaggeration, but come visit me for a day and you’ll see I speak the truth.) 🙂

Two children will be playing (mostly) happily with each other, when one will hand the other a toy. The second child will study it a few seconds, then run off with it. Whereupon the first child will begin wailing at the top of their lungs.

“Miss Kim! They took my toy!”

And I will repeat (patiently, of course) one of my most oft-said phrases at daycare:

“Well, you gave it to them. If you want something, don’t give it away!”

After a couple months of repeating this admonition, it struck me:

Though we often complain when something is taken away from us, upon closer observation, we see that we gave it away of our own free will. 

We say we desire a close relationship with God, but we give it away when we push the snooze button.

We say we want a healthier body, but we give it away when we make poor food and lifestyle choices.

We say we long for more quality time with our children, but we give away the time we do have by allowing them to be glued to screens for too much of the day. (Or we are glued to screens.)

We say we crave peace, but we give it away by worrying about our problems instead of leaving them in God’s hands.

We say we desire financial freedom, but we give it away by blowing the budget every month.

And my own personal give-away (confession time): I say I need more sleep, but then I give it away by checking Facebook one more time and getting distracted….

Now, I realize there are many things out of our control. Disease or injury can strike our health, or a job loss can send us into financial crisis.

But still, there are many things we can control by simply making wise choices.

Scripture bids us to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (I Thessalonians 5:21)

In other words, figure out what things are good for you. Then make deliberate, daily choices to hold on to those things.

Make wise choices concerning your relationship with God, your time with your family, your health.

Don’t give away the things that are truly important to you. 

“Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.” (Proverbs 4:26)