March 2021 Email Archive – What Are Your Oxygen Choices?
How I’m Choosing What to Spend My Life On
The first time I saw the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was about 6 years after it came out in theaters. It was beautiful. It spoke to so many deep places in the soul.
I was thinking about it again recently.
Ben Stiller, in the role of Walter, didn’t go for the laugh in this movie. There’s nothing wrong with a laugh, but this story had something else to give.
Toward the end of the movie, Walter is summiting a mountain in the Himalayas in search of someone he believes is there, and to whom he desperately needs to speak.
Everything in Walter’s life seems to be converging here. He is walking now where even his sherpas have declined to go.
On a majestic ridge, he seems suspended in expansive sky. He is solitary and full of purpose.
His phone rings. It is Todd, a friendly customer service rep from an online dating site Walter had been trying to use. By now, however, things have changed in Walter’s life. His focus has shifted. So, as Walter continues his epic trek up the mountain ridge, he tells Todd to delete his account.
At high altitude, Walter can’t continue to talk and climb toward his goal. He politely tells Todd: “I’m going to keep this short. I have to make oxygen choices.”
I laughed out loud.
I could vividly remember having to make my own oxygen choices (because of health issues), beginning around the same time this movie was released. I understood that phrase better than I wanted to. But I loved the simplicity of his words.
(You can see a clip from the movie scene at 2:37 in this trailer video. [OUTDATED VIDEO LINK HAS BEEN REMOVED.])
Oxygen Choices is a Metaphor, and a Powerful One
I’ve written in one of my books (Stay, chapter 10, “The End of Myself”) about gaining the awareness that my physicality is finite—it is not limitless.
Energy, breath—these are gifts from God that animate a clay sculpture.
Becoming aware, experientially, of the boundaries of the mortal body was a good realization for me. (Check out Psalm 90:12.)
Because then I understood that I don’t want to spend life on certain things. And I want to allocate more of it to other things.
Whether or not you have faced literal oxygen choices, you can grasp the meaning here.
Oxygen choices is a metaphor, and a powerful one: This is about what I am spending my life on.
What am I going to do with the life God is giving me?
But That’s Not All…
Whatever I do with my life won’t amount to anything in the end unless I remain in Christ:
“I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in Me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without Me.” John 15: 5 (HCSB)
(For more about how vital it is to live a life that bears fruit, see John 15:1-27, as well as Matthew 7:19-20 and 25:14-30; Luke 13:6-9; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:10; Philippians 4:17; and Jeremiah 17:8.)
Is my life bearing the fruit God desires?
The Bible is filled with examples—both good and bad—of how people spent their lives. One of my favorites is Stephen—a man full of faith, the Holy Spirit, God’s grace, and power, who performed great wonders and signs. You can read his story in Acts 6-7.
Our stories are being written, too. (See Psalm 139:16; Psalm 56:8.)
Long before I was aware of making choices about how to spend my life, I was spending it: my days, my energy, my words.
I hope I’m spending more wisely now that I’m aware that every day is made up of these choices.
What oxygen choices are you making right now?
I’d love to hear from you; just hit reply to send me an email.
To your freedom, health, and wholeness,
P.S. If you’re trying to make oxygen choices…
- without feeling fully loved by God—I invite you to read Stay, available in paperback and ebook.
- without loving God fully—I invite you to read Faith with Wings, available in paperback or ebook.
What I’m Writing Now: Inspirational Fiction
One of the characters in the new fiction series I’m writing will find herself making choices about how to spend her life—and discover freedom in the process.
I’m still loving writing this series, and so looking forward to putting it in your hands when it’s complete!
These emails are the place to get updates about my new books. I’m grateful you’re here.
Faith with Wings by AmyLu Riley
Faith with Grit for the Not-Yet Healed by AmyLu Riley
Stay: Why I’m Still Here, A Spiritual Memoir by AmyLu Riley
Jesus as Healer by AmyLu Riley