I once thought it would be impossible to become who I wanted to be. I wanted to be honest and have a true heart. I wanted to have a great character and great compassion. I wanted to do the right things, even if it meant sacrifice on my part. But I didn't believe that was possible. I thought I was a terrible person and I owned that narrative. Living that kind of life was for other people better than me. I was just an addict who was selling whatever people wanted to buy.
I convinced myself that I would always look for the easy way out. Mostly because that had been my modus operandi for several years running. I was certain that I didn't have what it would take to do the right thing… in any circumstance. The path of least resistance was so familiar I could walk it in my sleep. My companions along the journey were manipulation, cheating and lies. That path included taking advantage of others for my own gain.
When I cleaned up, I still believed my heart was twisted at its core. I continued to cheat, lie and manipulate in little ways that were virtually undetectable. I was a creature of comfort, and I believed that I had to control everything to get my needs met. If it meant that I needed to bend the truth to secure an easier path I would do that. In my head I knew there was a better way, but in my heart I did not believe that I was capable of it. I just couldn't see it. I was blind.
Then something unexpected took place. Through circumstance and a series of events, God's love showed me that it was time to love myself and believe in more than what I could see. It was as if the Divine whispered into my ear, “I am for you”. It was a subtle notion that grew into an undeniable possibility. I had a choice. I could either continue to believe that I must manufacture everything in my life and avoid pain at all costs, or I could choose to believe that no matter what happened, God was for me. I had to choose to surrender the illusion of control. I hadn't gone that route in over a decade. So, I chose to surrender and believe in what I thought was impossible. This didn’t make anything easier. In fact, the most difficult trials of my life were yet to come. But with every step of the way, I chose my new narrative. I began to anticipate, even in the most difficult and painful circumstances, how things were going to work out for my benefit.
I no longer felt compelled to lie, because I knew that regardless of the consequences, surrendering would bring me freedom. Freedom comes at a great cost. Almost everything of worth does. But in continually taking those leaps of faith, that things would work out, I began to develop character, patience, and faith.
I no longer hoped, because I didn’t need hope. I became certain that things weren’t as they appeared. I became certain that giving of myself to others brought about far more value to the world than seeking comfort. I became certain that telling the truth, while making things more difficult for myself and those around me, also made life more precious. I had traded in what I thought to be an easy life for a higher quality of life. And through these choices of belief and my actions, I began to believe in myself again. My love and acceptance for myself grew as well.
Not everyone falls to the depths that I did. But we all have things we think are possible for others, but not for us. “He’s a man of conviction, but I don’t have convictions. She’s an artist, but I'm not creative. They’re smarter than me; I could never start my own business. He loves healthy food, I will never eat well”. Those are lies. You don’t have to believe them. What if God is for you? What if you chose to surrender to that story instead of your current one? What if you took a step of faith in that direction? Could you do the impossible?
"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." - Francis of Assis
"A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval." - Mark Twain
"You can out-distance that which is running after you, but not what is running inside you." - Rwandan Proverb