You are responsible for your life

19 02 2006

First off, I know there are circumstances that are beyond our control. We can’t control where we are born or into what conditions. And some things will happen that we can’t prevent. All of us will face tough times in some way. But we don’t have to be controlled by our circumstances. We can control how we respond to any situation.

When we go through a tough time in life, it can influence you in a positive or negative way, but the circumstance itself does not have power over you. How you respond reveals what is in you. And likewise how you are influenced is determined by what attitude you choose to have.

An example from my life… when I was 13, my dad passed away unexpectedly. It was just a normal evening, then in the middle of the night he died from a blood clot near his heart. Of course I was devastated and confused. Why would God allow such a thing to happen? I searched and searched for answers, looking for something to comfort me. In the meantime, I had to deal with the hurt of losing my dad. None of my friends or family could make the pain go away, regardless of what they said or did. Now, in this situation, I could’ve become all bitter and hateful with life and with God, or I could’ve accepted it as part of life and moved on (which I did). I had the choice. (And, BTW, I did find some answers later on.)

Another example is that some of my “friends” during my teenage years did some hurtful things to me and hurt my self-esteem and self-confidence even more. I didn’t think much of my life, and I was depressed quite often. Eventually I reached a point where I was tired of being that way, and I decided I was going to do something about it. I rearranged my priorities in life, which meant getting new friends in my case, and I sought to make something enjoyable of life instead of being passive and letting life hand me what it may. Life was so much better after I took responsibility for it.

I’ve still had some rough times since then, some of it beyond my control, but I always have the freedom to respond how I want to. I refuse to let some events in life destroy who I am and what my purpose in this life is. Whatever life throws at me, I will not be defeated or destroyed. I have a purpose in life, and I’m going to make the most of it.

And so it is with you… you have the choice to take responsibility for your life or to be passive and blame others when your life isn’t what it could be.

I realize we don’t all face the same types of struggles, and some may seem to have it worse. But if we are seeking to grow, adversity makes us stronger. If we don’t battle through struggles, we don’t grow very much. Besides, I don’t think it’s profitable to compare ourselves with others. There’s always people who seem to have it better than you, and comparing yourself to them may lead you to justifying your struggle — which means you aren’t taking responsibility for it. Are you going to suffer through an unprofitable life because you weren’t born with some of the “advantages” someone else has? Make the most of what you’ve got. You’re responsible for the choices you make even if you aren’t responsible for the circumstances.

And there’s another dimension to this that I haven’t discussed yet — God. God has a purpose for your life, and His plans for you are good (see Jeremiah 29:11-13). And God’s power is greater than whatever circumstances you are facing. He offers us peace beyond our understanding (Philippians 4:6-7) and joy unspeakable (1 Peter 1:8-9). And He helps us through any situation we may face, giving us the necessary wisdom and strength. And if there are circumstances you can’t seem to conquer on your own, He will deliver you and set you free. All things are possible with God!

While God does offer to help us in all these areas, we still are responsible for choosing whether to give Him control of our life or not. He doesn’t force us to depend on Him — we have to make the choice. Unfortunately many people choose to walk in their own power, thus falling short of all they could be. But we don’t have to be that way. It’s your choice…




2 responses

19 02 2006

Well said. Personal responsibility is something that is avoided in today’s way of thinking. We want to blame someone else for everything because our circumstances can’t possibly have anything to do with the choices we have made (sarcasm intended). This may sound somewhat cliché, but when life hands you lemons, make lemonade, open a stand, and become a millionaire. It’s your choice.

23 03 2006

One thing that has come more into focus recently through the teachings of my Pastor as well as a Bible study we are leading in our small group is the importance of hardships and trials. So many times we look at these difficult times as “bad” circumstances that are to be avoided at all costs.

But God teaches us through his Word (in both the Old Testament and the New Testament – just look at Ecclesiastes and the ministry of Paul) that we are to embrace these times of trials as they will help us to grow. Just think of the example of a child: if you raise that child giving them everything they could possibly want, always striving to make them happy, you will have the most spoiled rotten kid on your hands. The same is true with us – we need discipline and correction to help us understand what is truly important in life and to keep our focus on God Almighty.

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