Walk with me for a few minutes if you will. Completely block out all distractions. Close your eyes, drift into unfamiliar mental territory and dream. As you drift to a fairy tale type environment, you feel the stress drain from your chest, the never-ending tension in your shoulders disappear, and your clenched fists relax. You become acutely aware of your shallow breathing for the first time in years. Thoughts began to flood your mind that have been suppressed for months, possibly years. I want you to pull up a high back chair, sit in an imaginary room with window blinds drawn and nothing to distract you.
As you stare at the ceiling, there is a single bulb casting just enough light to illuminate the whiteboard mounted on the wall before you. The small tray at the bottom of the board holds a single black marker and just above it is a single sentence. You start to read the words, and you can’t complete it. You go back to the beginning and start over. A third and final attempt, you make it to the end. You glance around the room searching for the culprit of its origin. You stare at the floor, you lean back in the chair and stare at the ceiling bombarded with unfamiliar emotions. You close your eyes hoping to erase the thought of this remotely being a possibility. You muster up the strength to once again stare at the board and the words appear blurry, there seems to be a haze fogging your vision.
Wiping the tears from your cheek, you admit you're afraid. Then panic creeps in, and you once again feel that sickening rush of adrenalin. How could this be? I thought all was good, or at least manageable. And now, you tell me this. You then decide to read the sentence aloud, maybe, just perhaps, you misread it. Well, there it was in bold black letters.
“YOU CHOSE WRONG.”
I couldn’t have. Surely there is a mistake. There is no way that this is happening to me. God, please, not me. Where do I turn? How will I face my family? What will my friends say? I have so much invested. What am I going to do now? Am I too old to start over? I even prayed about this and now, this. Please, NO! Listen to me, please. I have something I want you to hear loud and clear.
Whatever you are facing, it does not matter how small or how large, there is a way out.
You may have chosen wrong. I can’t tell you how many times I have chosen wrong. You are human. You will never hit home runs 100% of the time. Bad advice, misinformed, or maybe you just didn’t think it through. At this point, it doesn’t matter. Whether it is a bad investment, addiction or a failed marriage, it just didn’t work out.
You can spend the remainder of your life allowing this to identify you, or you can pick yourself up and move on. It’s your choice. No one else can dust you off. No one else can give you the grit and determination you need to live the balance of your life. You must take the first step.
Here are a few steps that I have personally taken to move on when I realized the reality of my circumstance.
- Own it. Don’t pass the buck, just accept it. Don’t attempt to rationalize it, explain it or be defined by it. It is what it is.
- Put a stake in the ground. Draw a line in the sand. Stand up, hold your head high. Don’t allow others to dictate your future. I know who is in charge of my future, His name is God.
- Write a letter explaining exactly what happened. Don’t allow anyone else to read it. Don’t mail it, burn it. After you burn it, you can always point back to that day saying I gave this thing up on that particular date. Never to be discussed again, ever!
Now, there is one final thing to be done. Look up, raise your head high, straighten your shoulders, tuck in your shirt, smile and march on brother, you have a life to live.
Live on purpose,