As age matures wisdom, observations display just how little value people have for themselves. Numerous times, I’ve been told, “I don’t know how you do that,” or, “I could never do that,” when discussing abstinence, faith, sobriety, finances, or simple dedication to a craft. People tend to elevate others rather than challenging themselves to do something they themselves recognize as personal elevation. What’s depressing is knowing that what you’re doing in life isn’t magical, supernatural (though it can be), or miraculous. The literal difference between any individual is a collective of the same thing: a decision.
Humanity is uniquely powerful, in that our decisions don’t just impact local ecosystems, but the entire world. When there is a collective of similar decisions, it changes policies, wars, economies, societies, and governments. It is eternally baffling when someone says, “I can’t.” Charles R. Swindoll said life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. When you relinquish your ability to react, you fail yourself and those around you more than you realize.
I have to said to my friends constantly, “The difference between me and you is a decision.” I remind them of this because when I discuss how I carry myself, I am always painted as this righteous, pastoral figure that is truly dedicated to God. You would think some find me to be the modern Moses, Elijah, Paul, or King David with the way I have been told about how I am viewed. While I appreciate being admired, it is disconcerting to know that, in some instances, they are refusing to be the same kinds of men, when it’s within their grasp. These men, faithful to God, do not currently want to be the face of Christianity that they are. It’s demoralizing.
Have you ever envied someone? Have you ever gotten jealous? Have you ever set a goal? Have you ever failed or succeeded? Each of these processes involves decisions, by you and by your peers. I have witnessed firsthand how one has completely changed their life by making the decision to do so. I’ve watched homeless fathers become primary caretakers. I’ve witnessed drugs addicts give up addictions. I’ve watched foul mouths find alternative words to speak. I’ve observed some making the decision to remove unruly family members, friends, and lovers. These are all decisions, made on a personal level, that they have decided to stick to for life.
Not every decision is an easy one. Some decisions require a few failures before you succeed. It’s like weight loss. On my journey to lowering my weight, I have had to forgo certain foods, exercise at certain times, and avoid certain places. I decided to know my limits, exercise my strengths, and be patient with myself. Not every week was a successful week, but every week I made the decision to try to lose weight. All these decisions have led to seven pounds lost in one month.
Personality and character are the same way. I decided to give my life to Christ. I decided to study what giving my life to Christ looked like. I decided to accept the information given to me. I decided to adapt that information into my own life. I decided to take God at His word, as spoken through prophets, apostles, kings, slaves, prisoners of war, and other Godly people. If you haven’t understood the point of this so far, let me spell it out for you.
It is not, “I can’t,” but rather, “I have decided.” We live in a world where humans live in space for months at a time. We live in a society that freely gives infinite wisdom through smart phones, videos, universities, and conversation pieces. We live in a place that has the desire to constantly show the results of decisions, both good and bad. The only person who is responsible for where you are is yourself.
I’m not saying life wasn’t, or isn’t, hard for you. I’m not saying you had a fair start, or even a good start. Some of us have literally come from nothing. All I ask is for you to recognize that you’re not the only person who has started where you are. We are unique, but we are not that unique. We are never alone in our fight to make better decisions.
There’s an ideology floating around that there are no new original stories. There are only old stories told uniquely. You owe it to yourself to search for the stories where others overcame before you. Find that person who has come from where you are, and see how they made it out alive and better off.
If you see someone doing better than you, ask them what decisions they made to be where they are, because you have already decided that they are living better than you. Ask them how they implemented those decisions into their lives. Not everyone is going to give a straightforward answer, but everyone isn’t going to ignore you. There are people still willing to help, buy you have to make the decision to listen and enact what is spoken to you. If it’s too hard, that is you deciding you are too weak. It is not the truth, but it is your decision to live in that lie. Make better decisions for yourself. Decide you are capable, strong enough, powerful, and decide to remain determined.
As much as people love to hate on Lakewood and the Osteen family, Joel Osteen loves to preach speaking positivity over yourself. I will recite some of his sayings, and I need you to say this aloud for yourself:
I am blessed, prosperous, redeemed, forgiven, talented, creative, confident, secure, disciplined, focused, prepared, qualified, motivated, valuable, free, determined equipped, empowered, anointed, accepted, and approved. Not average, not mediocre. I am a child of the Most High God.
This and more are spoken from Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church in Houston, Tx, and his words can be read in his books The Power of I am: Two Words that Will Change Your Life Today and I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life. When you stop giving voice to the excuses and shortcomings, and start declaring yourself capable of making better decisions, the tougher decisions get easier.
My friends are amazing people. I did not come on here to bash them. I simply came on here to reiterate that we are all capable of doing better and making better decisions. There are not enough excuses in the world to lessen your ability, so stop trying to act like you can’t. You can. If you see someone doing better, you have made the decision that it is better, and you need to decide for you and all of us that you will not remain where you are, but elevate to what you have decided is better. Only saps see better and remain where they are. Who doesn’t want better?
On the opposite end, don’t elevate people. As difficult as it is to stick to better decisions, it is just as easy to decide not to be a better person. That one person you look up to, or envy, can make the decision to be a horrible person the next day, or even the next minute. People commended me for remaining abstinent, not knowing that that choice was a daily, if not hourly battle, and I have failed to remain abstinent before. I accepted that failure, decided to be more patient with myself, and then decided to return to abstinence. Sometimes, that’s how it is for those people you think are doing better than you. They could be just coming off of a failure. We don’t know the fullness of every decision.
We can’t be shortsighted with our decisions. We don’t know what good decisions will have bad results nor what bad decisions will have good results. We just know that we have the choice. In everything, there is a choice. Even if that choice is death rather than continuing to live through the struggle, it is a choice. Be aware of that when you make your decisions, and please be aware that good decisions are far more likely to result positively than bad decisions.
In closing, please, for the love of you, God, and I, stop making poor decisions. Your upbringing, environment, lack of parents, PTSD, or whatever other excuse you have drudged up is not a true excuse. You are capable. It may take a while for you to realize that, and it may be extremely difficult not to cling to those excuses, but you are capable. If you decide that something is better for you, go towards that. Don’t stay where you are.
Please understand that I love you. I recognize what I ask is excruciatingly difficult, but excruciatingly difficult is not impossible. Trust in yourself for the latter days. Make the right, and better decision now, and spare you, and those around you, heartache later. As with all things, the perfect place to take instruction from on better decisions, is in the Bible. I leave you the decision to accept that knowledge, embrace that knowledge, and pursue further instruction. Choice to be the king. Any other chess piece is downplaying your importance and sovereignty.
See you in victory,