Everyday we’re faced with choices, opportunities to develop, expand, rise, fall, stand, cave, empathize, overlook, fight, love, purchase, save, move forward, wait, so on and so forth. How we function in the world, how we experience, how we relate, how we understand it all is based on the level at which we’re able to discern faith from fear, fact from fiction, the necessary from the unnecessary, what’s real, what’s not, what adds value, and what takes value away. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink, he made the case that many, if not most, of the decisions we make on a daily basis, can often be made in the blink of an eye, because we typically know, in a moment’s notice, what the necessary response is to that which we are confronted, yet, for whatever reason(s), what was simple and quick becomes plagued with mental roadblocks, pondering, questioning, praying, reading, meditating, over planning, asking others opinions, second guessing, only to turn it all into an irrational outcome. Then there are those that seem so intuitive, having a track record of being highly successful decision makers, able to assess the situation, see the risks, understand the stakes, and execute, come what may. So how do we all become skilled in the art of decision making? What beliefs do we, or do we not, inhabit that may be holding us back from leaning into the discomfort of decision making and accepting what lies on the other side of our choice(s)? The honest to God truth is there’s not enough time to try and uncover all that may be lurking underneath the hood of our belief systems, but I would like to share one little golden nugget of truth that has struck me in recent days, and I hope you’ll find it useful to you as you carry on in your life journey.
In recent years, I’ve fallen into this victim like mentality as seeing life as happening to me. However, as of late, I’m exercising the practice of seeing life as not happening to me as much as life happening for me… this doesn’t come as naturally as it once did. I like to think I’m the guy that see’s the glass half full, but the reality is it’s always half empty. Anybody with me? Just me? ‘Life happening for me’ is nothing new, really, but this was just a fresh new way of hearing it that made an old truth new again, and, for me, it has become somewhat a breath of fresh air. Imagine if we were able to see the difficulties, the struggle, the push back, as an opportunity to learn, grow, improve, see a new opportunity, rather than, “#$%^!, now what?“. Ever been there? Story of my life. If I was honest with myself, and this is me being honest with myself, seeing life as happening to me is crippling, negative, sad, misguided, and depressing. It’s never brought any good to me. Has it you? But seeing life as happening for me? Wow. It feels good just to say it… try it. Life is happening for me. Let that take root in your soul, and let lose from your clutches the drudgery of fear, let your eyes be opened to new possibilities that are all around us just waiting to unfold, let freedom become the song you sing. The difference in this perspective is like going from being a victim to being a benefactor, from being a slave waiting for the crumbs to fall to the floor to being a child dining at the table. Paul, the apostle, said it like this, “All things work together for the good of those who love God…”. It’s all happening for you.
I’ve heard Paul’s version of this idea since I was a child. If you notice, his version of ‘life is happening for me’ introduces a concept that requires of us a new level of belief and optimism… God and loving God. Wait, what? Well, try to think of it as a house being only as good as its foundation, now imagine we have a foundation that is divine, love, holy, omnipotent, eternal, working on our behalf. It sounds absurd, I know… believing in God, then taking it a step further to loving God. I admit, it’s madness, borderline insane, right? It screws with common sense too, but if life is happening for me because of a Being beyond us that is intentional in giving our lives purpose, able to exceed and, in the process, expand our limited expectations, redefining, time and time again, what’s possible, and doing it for me… I can get on board with that, but this isn’t a debate about whether God exists or not. This is about this gift called life that we all, everybody, regardless of race, religion, or sex, get to wake up to everyday and enjoy, be it over a cup of coffee or tea, enjoying a meal, having relationship, breathing, loving, working, playing games, dreaming, creating, traveling, learning, teaching, inspiring, and doing it over and over again. There’s so much for which we can be grateful, and it all starts with a choice. We can change so much by how we choose to see and receive the gift. There are, and will be, tough days, but rather than becoming a casualty of the moment, we can try becoming a student, learning, receiving truth, maturing, and even sharing the truth with a friend or neighbor, helping one another rise to the occasion through recognizing that all of life’s blessings are for, both, our benefit and good.
So let me be the first to say, “My friend, life is happening for you today...”