Doing It Afraid 2: This Is Your Life

Posted on 31 Oct 2011 in Dream, Reveal | 0 comments

Image courtesy of Leland FranciscoWelcome to the first day of the rest of your life.

Are you ready for it?

It is, after all *your* life.

But what does that really mean?

One day, you will decide to wake up, and take ownership of your life. It will become your own. It won’t belong to anybody else, and no one else will be responsible for it. And this possibility is both liberating and terrifying.

Liberating, because the only person who will hold you accountable is yourself. You’ll begin to realize that your life isn’t about what other people want from you. You will begin to see that other people’s expectations really don’t have any bearing on your own expectations. When people try to tell you how to behave or believe, you can simply ignore them.¬† You begin to realize that you have the power of both Yes and No in your own hands. You get to decide just how much of your time, your passion, your talent, your treasure goes to other people. You can reclaim your own destiny.

Liberating, because you’ll have complete freedom to pursue the things that *you* want to pursue. You’ll be able to make your own decisions regarding the things you love and want to follow. You can begin to carve out your dream space and your own desires and hopes for your own living. You’ll begin to believe again.

Liberating, because nothing is now impossible for you. You will be taking charge and going forth with enormous ambition and desire and passion, right?

Terrifying, because¬† the only person who will hold you accountable is yourself.¬† You’re now responsible for your own dreams, your own goals. You have to manage yourself and create expectations for yourself that suit your own growth and identity. You will be responsible for behaving and believing in a manner consistent with the person that you want to be and become. You have the power of Yes and No in your own hands, which means that you have to decide just how much of yourself you wish to parcel out – and what that might be worth to other people. You have to take ownership and responsibility for your own destiny.

Terrifying, because you’ll have complete freedom to pursue the things that *you* want to pursue. The responsibility of decision-making may seem overwhelming. How do you know what the right dreams are? Disappointment from past dreams left mutilated and gasping on the path of your life creeps up and convinces you that these sorts of ideas are crazy, impossible.

Terrifying, because nothing is now impossible. In the midst of this horrible freedom, the only person preventing you from fulfilling the destiny and dreams in front of you – is you.

I think in so many ways, this is a battle that each one of us is waging on a daily basis. We want to take charge of our own life, but the prospect of it seems far too daunting to even begin. But at the end of the day, the only way that someone can take charge of or ownership of your life is if you let them. You have to give someone else permission to take your life over. Inevitably there are strings that connect us to other people, and there are those relationships that we can’t imagine living without. Each of us is allowing something or someone to control us.

Are you making intentional choices or letting others make them for you?

Maybe you’re one of the many trapped in a horrific workplace, but feel trapped because you can’t imagine the risk of looking for a new job.
I encourage you – don’t let money or work own *your* life. Begin with small steps, and make choices that increase your ability to make choices from a place of freedom rather than fear. Start reading a personal finance blog and simplify your lifestyle. Find the absolute minimum you need to survive – not compete with the rest of the world – and begin to pay off debt and save towards a future in which you can begin to take the risk of looking for work in a company or field you love. In the end, this is *your* work life, and you can indeed begin to take ownership of it. In the last two years, I’ve had to stop working – because I haven’t been allowed to in the country in which I’ve been living. And I’ve learned so much about myself, my own needs and wants, and my own calling. My husband and I have had to make do on one salary (significantly reduced both in the move and under a different income tax bracket) but we’ve managed, and I’ve fallen in love with a lifestyle in which we pursue the things that we love and forget the things that we don’t – both independently and together.

Maybe you feel trapped in a loveless relationship and are terrified of losing the one you love, but don’t know how to begin fixing it.
Sometimes relationships are incredibly hard work. Some of us are indeed wired to be single. Many of us – myself included – are simply not. You certainly could walk away. Or you could stand and fight for the relationship. There are so many ways in which to begin. There are so many brilliant ideas online for working on your marriage. But you have to choose it. You have to decide that this person came into your life for a reason and that you want to take ownership of this relationship rather than simply letting it own you.

Maybe you’re just starting out on your own journey and are paralyzed by indecision about your future.
Get creative! Make dreamscapes of things you love and begin to take one step at a time. If you have some idea of the things that you’d love to do in life ‘someday,’ the best thing you can start doing is taking baby steps towards them. Want to travel? Buy an instrument? Take a language course? Get or make yourself a ‘dream bank‘ and start skipping one coffee a week. Take the $3.50 and put it in your ‘bank’ and see how quickly it adds up! Or just find a community nearby – like at your local library or community center – already doing these things and join them. You don’t have to spend a fortune to explore what you might love to do.

Maybe you’ve made a mess of things and can’t imagine how you’ll ever work it out.
I can promise you that there is healing to be had. You don’t have to start from scratch, but I know that it can feel that way. The first step to wholeness is acknowledging that you’ve allowed other things to take control and ownership over your life. But you can take it back. Ask for help. Choose to invite someone into your life who will love and encourage you to make the difficult choices regarding those things which are robbing you of your life. And try to believe that your life is worth living.

At the end of the day, I can recognize that my life is my own by those relationships that I’ve chosen to allow influence. Those relationships that build me up, encourage me – these are the ones in which I can tell I’ve intentionally chosen life. When I’ve allowed other relationships to bring negativity and destruction, I know that I’m not choosing at all.

There is an ancient text that says Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!
I want to choose life for myself and my future children. I want to live in a place of freedom in which I have no doubt that my life is part of what makes me who I am. I, personally, have chosen to give my life back to the One who breathed Life into me in order that it might be given back to me glorified. But I’ve made this choice freely, contemplatively. The beautiful thing about it, is that it *has* been given back to me glorified. And in the midst of exploring the life that I’ve received back, I’ve found even greater freedom to (see tomorrow’s post…)

Do what I love.

Are there people that have greater influence in your life than you’d like? What is one baby step you can take to regain that piece of your life back?

What is one step you can take towards greater financial freedom so that money doesn’t have a grip on your life?

How can you take positive action to reach out to someone – either to rebuild relationship or for help?

Are you willing to take a pledge to ‘choose life?’