7. I ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE.
In my late teens I noticed that when I looked around me, there was a distinct difference between the people who seemed to be stuck in life, and those who were going places and accomplishing things.
Those who were stuck had two words in their vocabulary that the others didn’t have;
“Yes but, you don’t understand how difficult this is…” or “Yes but, you don’t know what my childhood looked like…”, “Yes but, you don’t know what happened to me…”, “Yes but, it wasn’t my fault…”
The people that were moving forward and making progress took responsibility for their lives;
“This is what happened – now what am I going to do about it?”
Acknowledging your circumstances and admitting that you have a choice in what you will do about it takes much of the power away from the obstacles and trying circumstances you face. The obstacles you face might be a really difficult set of circumstances, it could be Satan, it might even be a family member. But it could also be you. It could be that through your own choices you have put yourself into a very bad situation.
As long as we blame someone or something else for our troubles, we won’t make progress.
I’m not talking about children here. A child is often powerless to remove themselves from bad circumstances; they rely on their parents and the adults around them to keep them safe. If a child is making bad decisions, they usually require a responsible adult to correct them. As adults though, we almost always have a choice in what happens in our lives. At the very least, we have a choice in the way we repond to our circumstances. Sometimes we don’t really like any of our options, but we still have to decide what we’re going to do. Even someone who does nothing has willfully made the decision to do so.
When I was stuck in a bad, abusive marriage, I had to be honest with myself and admit that I chose to marry that man. I made a mistake.
David was a man after God’s heart, not because he was perfect. David did some horrific things, but he was willing to be held accountable for them. He was willing to say “Here I am Lord, I messed up, please forgive me.” God forgave David, but did that mean he got to escape the consequences of his actions? Absolutely not! Not only he, but also his children suffered because of his choices.
My own children will never be free from the fact that their parents are divorced. It will always affect some part of their lives. As they grow older it will be their responsibility again to choose to what extent and how they will handle it.
Am I going to choose to do the wrong thing sometimes? Sure. And sometimes the path out of a set of difficult circumstances is long and hard. But by admitting that I always have a choice, by accepting responsibilty and being accountable for my decisions and for my life, I gain the freedom to become the person God intended for me to be.