Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Make it happen

Life doesn’t have to happen to you. Rather, it can happen because of you. You have far more power and influence than you can possibly imagine. Once you decide to make life happen you can use your power to affect your own life as well as the life of the people around you.

The biggest problem that most of us face in our spiritual, personal, and/or professional lives is that we often sit back and let life happen to us. We wait for things to happen and often sit around and complain about the bad breaks that life sends our way. We tend to react to life. I am not sure why we do this, but maybe it is easier that way. It is easier to be a victim of life than it is to be a victor in life. Sometimes we get so caught up in the mundane routines of life that we lose sight of what is really important. We tend to settle for security rather than pursuing significance. That is ok for a while. However, at some point in our lives something comes along that makes us question our position in life, and more importantly, our convictions about life.

Most of us go through a period in life where we are concerned with power, status, and glory. We do all that we can to put us in a position to be able to live “The Good Life”. We pursue education and career promotion. We try to grab all the financial and social perks that we can. I am not saying that this is wrong in itself. We should try to do things to better ourselves. The problem is that these things often take too much of a precedent in our lives. We are often blinded to the cost and the toll these things take on our lives until something happens to make us question our involvements and the goals that have come to direct our lives.

Over the course of time I have learned to be in touch with the struggles that people face. There are so many things that rob people of joy in life and introduce them to despair, fear, uncertainty, and leave them questioning the significance of life. When people arrive at this place in life, as most do, they begin to ask why. There never seems to be an answer to the why, but there always seems to be a chance to have an awakening. This awakening seems to come from something inside. That something inside seems to be the human spirit or an indomitable will that is eager to born. Oddly enough it only seems ready for birth when we are in our darkest moments. Moments that are brought by life’s tragedies. Those tragedies have names like, poverty, hunger, loss, death, fatal diseases, hurt, guilt, remorse, shame, abandonment, loneliness, and many others.

There is a difference in how people respond to the circumstances of life. Some fall into a self-defeating cesspool of regret and complaints of how life happened to them. The spiral of despair and fear grips them and their life becomes one of excuses and complaints about the unfairness of their circumstances and they question God and his motives for their life. I think we all fall in that category at one time or other in life. As strange as it sounds misery tends to find a comfort zone within the tired. It is often a very painful experience to move away from the pain. When we get to that point is when we have to come to the glorious, yet painful, realization that life can happen because of me and not just to me.

Yes, we have the ability to be powerful when we are weak. When we face the sickness in our soul that is brought about by poverty, hunger, loss, death, fatal diseases, hurt, guilt, remorse, shame, abandonment, loneliness, and many others, we can make the painful choice to move away from pain. How? By learning to surrender our desire for power, status, and glory. By moving away from self-centered interest. By recognizing that there truly is more in giving than receiving. Does that mean that we have to become glorified by extravagant acts of philanthropy? No, we just have to learn that giving is done in small ways. We have to learn that giving is often sharing our time, a kind gesture, or an encouraging word. Giving is sharing the gratitude of life rather than the complaints about life. It is appreciating the small wonders of life rather than lamenting the catastrophies. Being powerful is sharing hope in the face of despair. Sharing courage in the face of fear. Being powerful is recognizing that life doesn’t have to happen to me, it can happen because of me.