Doesn't everyone have a defining moment in their life? Multiple ones...where you know nothing will be the same? Moments you never saw coming because you were looking in all the wrong places...?
Gut feeling, intuition, little voice...these all describe that message we get from deep within. The one that's leading us exactly where we are supposed to be. All of us. Yet, how often do we ignore it? Why?
Ever found yourself in a place you never meant to be? Me too. Many times. Now, have you ever considered that your own choices are (in part) what got you there? In that tough place that has you feeling like you are drowning without a life preserver. Time and time again. To be honest, it used to be easier for me to blame my life on my circumstances. Or lack thereof. To reason through how suffering is a part of life. So often in my life I've refused to take full responsibility for how I found myself in the situations I did. Until I changed that. About a year ago, I sat through an intense therapy session. One that brought me to crocodile tears. One that could have crushed my spirit. If I let it. I've been known to have a flare for the dramatic...but this was something I hadn't prepared for at all.
She asked a very simple, logical question that brought me to my knees. Literally.
Her question, "Have you ever thought about YOUR responsibility for the chaos in your life?"
What??? Come again??? As I sat in silence and my eyes welled up with tears...my heart beating faster and faster...I thought, well, no lady I hadn't thought of that...ever. My thoughts were heavy and hot. Full of shame and blame. Painful. For a moment I felt like I couldn't breath. This question forced me to look within. After years of looking anywhere but there. Ugh.
You mean somehow I had a choice in all of this? Like I asked for this?? Defensive. Immediately. As the tears streamed I responded...out loud, calmly...Are you suggesting that the way I feel is my fault? (My attempt at trying to level with her, as if that's what she intended, which wasn't true).
Her honest response changed my life. Softly she said, "First, let's take the word "fault" out of this. This isn't about fault or punishment. What I'm saying is that you have choices in everything you do. You get to decide if you want this chaos that exists in your life to win. You choose the life you want. Have you ever considered that?"
Choices?? Decisions?? I'm speechless. In 31 years I've truly lived and died by what others wanted, thought, or needed from me. I suppose I thought about my choices before, but every move I made wasn't based on what I wanted or needed. Each decision was a step forward in what pleased others. What helped me blend in. Seem normal. Can you relate?
I left that session hurt. Bruised but not broken. I spent the next few days unpacking how I'd come back with a better answer next time. How? I had to sit down with my own thoughts and sift through each moment. At first it was excruciating, but as I saw my responsibility in my choices (good and bad)...I started to understand more and more of how I got to that very place I was sitting.
Much of the responsibility I started with was actually in NOT dealing with my life. My past. Stuffing it down and putting on my happy face.
The largest blessings this could have cost me was my dreams. My love. Who am I kidding...Everything. But I decided NO. I was determined. I am determined. My eyes are wide open and that was an incredibly difficult decision.
For years I've know I am "different". Highly Emphatic. Deep inside I know God is preparing a way for me that I can't comprehend. In many ways it scares me. That's obviously my human brain that causes that. Almost like I'm afraid I can't live up to what He's got in store. Like I'm not enough. So, acting like I "didn't have a choice in life" served those fearful thoughts well. He is always guiding me to my greatness...but...each time I heard that "little voice", I stopped it. Stifled it with noise. Fear. Whatever. Until I didn't.
As I took more and more responsibility...I realized that I always made choices, just the wrong ones. The safe ones. I didn't like to rock the boat. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to hurt anyone, but I no longer worry about making a few waves. I no longer quiet that gut feeling. Wanna know why? Because God is never wrong. He's in the business of redemption. He's got our backs. Free will is an interesting blessing...we can use it to step into our greatness, or to sink our dreams and potential.
The next time she asked me that question, my answer was swift and full of passion.
"Yes. Yes I have considered that I shape my life through my choices. They are important to my happiness and because happiness isn't a destination I consider each choice carefully. I'm certain I may not always get it right, but I'll learn and grow through that. Deciding to connect with myself in the most authentic form aided me in building my dreams, which are really big."
It's very interesting how one question can change everything. Shift your course? Change your path? Or...did that moment lead you back to your path after somehow you forgot to take responsibility and got lost? You decide.
As we embark on the next big adventure in our lives, I'm certain this lesson will serve me and my soul very well. My hope is that you ask yourself the same question she asked me. Be honest and if needed, adjust. Forgive yourself and begin again with grace.
We can reach for the moon together friends. However it starts with what we really want. So...stop fighting your little voice. Here's to being brave enough to dream big and take action.