You’ve probably heard some of these familiar sayings:
Those might be pretty good points, but I end up thinking, Yeah, right. Then I realized that God’s Word says a lot of similar things:
I have a personal relationship with Jesus. I know that God loves me, and I have the source of truth in my hands with the Bible and other godly materials. I believe I have much to offer the world, and I should be able to take advantage of the many opportunities around me to serve, give back, find fulfillment, and chart a path that will make my loved ones and Jesus proud of me.
So why is it that sometimes my “reality” doesn’t work out that way? Sometimes I feel small, forgotten, lost, or as if I’m drifting almost aimlessly. I know I’ve been blessed and have knowledge, understanding, faith, and valuable spiritual gifts. But sometimes I just can’t put it all together to somehow make those gifts work for me.
The longer I feel this way, the worse it becomes, until eventually I start to wonder if I’ll ever find that path to a better life, a deeper relationship, a healthier lifestyle. When I feel stuck or unsure or dissatisfied with where I am today, it can be confusing or frustrating to try to “fix it” or even to know where to start.
Then I came to a conclusion that was helpful for me: This is my life. It is what I make it, by God’s grace.
My realization was that not even God can live my life for me; I have to take responsibility for my decisions.
I made a list of some of the obstacles that weigh me down and keep me stuck.
Inertia. It’s easier to keep doing what I’m doing than to change. It takes faith, energy, sacrifice, and movement to change the trajectory of my life. Without focused determination to change, I know I’ll naturally stay on my current path.
Fear. Fear of failure, fear of embarrassment, fear of success, fear of loss, fear of too much hard work. All that fear can be paralyzing. I think fear makes us convince ourselves that what we have right now is not that bad; it’s not worth the risk of change.
Procrastination. Putting things off until tomorrow is a recipe for stagnation.
The expectations of others. How I think people see me holds me back from making changes and venturing into unknown territory. But when I stand before God to give account of my life, He won’t go by what others thought I should do; He’ll look at what I actually accomplished.
Lack of clarity. That’s when you sense that you need to change your life, you feel restless or uneasy, but you’re not sure what direction to go or what to do—so you wait. I’ve done that. But the key is to do something while you’re waiting. As we move ahead with what we do know, we’ll find clarity for the things we don’t know.
It takes courage to take responsibility for your life.
It takes courage to change and to make different choices.
It takes courage to take risks.
It takes courage to live life in sync with our highest aspirations, rather than succumb to mediocrity.
It takes courage to go deeper and grow into the people we want to be, rather than hide behind excuses or blame others.
It takes courage to live the truth and be the truest expression of who God wants us to be.
It takes courage to stay the course and weather the storms that will come once we’ve made a change.
After we muster up the courage to acknowledge what needs to change, the next step is to take action. Today is all we have, and the action we take today is creating our life, our legacy.
So this is the challenge:
When we take a good look at our life choices, face whatever has been stopping us, seek God’s will for our lives, and ask Him for the courage to take action, we can rest assured that we are not alone. God is with us. He can’t live my life for me, but if I will take a step in the right direction, in accordance with His will, He will work on my behalf and cause all things to work together for good for me in His time and His way.6