Yano, everything in life comes down to a choice. What do I wear in the morning? What do I say next? Who do I pick as my friends? Who do I trust? What do I believe in? What do I search for? Who do I reach for?

There's one major choice that I have found myself needing to make. It's one I thought I already made, but my mask was so thick I fooled even myself. Will I reach for the lifeline in front of my face instead of reaching for all of the things watching me fall?

Let me elaborate.

I'm a Christian, and I like to think I check most of the boxes. I work at a church, I pour into people with the best I got, I worship, I pray, I love. But what am I doing outside of checking the boxes? I sometimes find myself drowning. Drowning in distraction. Somehow in the midst of aimlessly scrolling through social media and snapping pointless pictures with ridiculous "selfies" trying to get approval from everyone except the One who has already given it to me, I have lost sight of the world above it. Listening so very intently to what every single person has to say about every single move I make but being deaf to the things the most important person has to say. He is trying to remind me that I am loved. I am enough. I am not a failure. I am ok. I am held.

You see, when I forget about all those truths and search for everything in every wrong place, I spend so much time with my head down in disappointment that I walk straight into a deep pit of quicksand. When finding myself in this quicksand of empty sadness filled with where am I's and who am I's, at first, my world falls silent. My head then goes directly to "what happened?" "how did I get here?" "God, how could you possibly abandon me like this?" "where are you?" "what happened to the promises you gave me?" Next, in pure panic, I reach out. I reach out for those people whose pictures I double tapped, reach out for the recipients of the ridiculous snapchats, reach out for Netflix, reach out for the shot glass, reach out for every flaky friend I see, even reach out to people who warned me. Meanwhile, they all sit around the pit I'm in, watching me reach and wail and cry. Watching me beg for help.

With the picture I've painted, it seems there's no help.

There is help.

It's right in front of my face.

Despite all of my distractions, there has always been a lifeline. I've been so blinded and deafened by the distraction that I didn't see the lifeline in front of me or hear the voice screaming "look up child!" While I walked with my head down, it was there. When I was falling into the pit, it was there. When my world fell seemingly silent, it was there. Even now, as I cry and reach for all the wrong things, it's there. There is a rope right in front of my face, a rope that's the perfect length for me to easily grab and waiting to pull me up out of this quicksand pit of empty sadness.

"So, what's stopping you?" you might ask. For me, it's nothing other than myself. My own fear. My own ignorance.

That changes now. For real this time. I'm going to grab that rope. There is one catch though. There's a choice to make. When I grab this rope, the things I reached for all that time, while my head was down, they have to go.

I have to trade death for life.

Seems good to me. As I grab this rope of life, I say to myself and that Heavenly voice, "let's go. let's get me out of this pit and into the light for good."

This story isn't just about me. Yes, I've gone through it. We all have. But I fully believe that at least one of you reading this, or hearing this, or however you're receiving this, found yourself identifying with maybe even one piece of my story. It's a common one. You're lost, you're distracted, you don't see the rope and you don't hear the voice.

Let this be your wake up call that lifts your head long enough to see reality.

There's a rope to pull you out right in front of your face and there is a voice telling you to look up and come home. you can do it. choose the lifeline.

I promise you'll find your life when you lay it down.