"Your past is not your future; you have the power to make new decisions for your life starting today."
- Deb Sofield

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Discover who you are

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are. Bernice Johnson Reagon

If you ask your friends and family what are some challenges that they are facing today and how they plan to overcome them, most of your peers will look at you with a blank expression and suddenly you will see a quote cloud form above their head that says, “You need to find someone else to talk to. I don’t want to go that deep today…or tomorrow or ever.”

Now it’s not because they didn’t understand the question, it is because no one–and I mean no one–likes to admit that there is a challenge that they are struggling with and, frankly, it is always hard to see any value in the pain they are dealing with at the time. Maybe a few years from now they can admit that the life choice in question put them on a different path, but at the moment of your inquiry, most people want you (and me) to go away.

Everyone has challenges in life, and, for the most part and for the greater good, they know they need to push through to be “successful” (and I put that in quotes because success is different to everyone), but when put on the spot about life challenges, most of us are paralyzed by the overwhelming fear or burden or weight of the issue that is currently taking up space in our head. And then there is the added pressure of not doing enough about the issue in question to settle it.

So, to make it easier to answer this question, most people will give the standard response of “personal needs and wants,” for example. The current challenges most people focus on is the need for better heath, happy family, money, better job, new home, car, boat, vacation–something that seems tangible.

It is always hard to believe that, in the present moment, the pain you are going through has a life changing purpose, which is worthy of the agony and tears that you are most likely feeling; most people would rather choose another way to find their destiny that is not so painful.

If that is how you feel, let me direct you to my theme for the day,

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.

It is that jungle of discovery that appears to be like a lot of work when our schedule is full already. And, frankly, if you’re like me, you’ve had enough challenges in your lifetime and don’t really want or need any more.

But what if I told you that the next challenge that comes your way is the one that might redirect your life forever in ways you have only dreamed of; or perhaps the next challenge you push through on faith will be the answer to the prayer that you’ve been waiting for, believing and trusting that it would come; or the one challenge that finally secures your family’s future. What then?

As obvious as it seems, the only way you will find out what you are made of is when you don’t give in to the fear of paralysis by analysis, always fearing being wrong instead of trusting that you are most likely correct in your assessment of creating your future if you do your part and push through the pain.

When it comes to life or love or hopes or dreams, friend, don’t let fear of the future paralyze you into quitting before you discover who you are and were meant to be, because

life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.

I have written in the past on how to discover your life’s purpose, but that is not my point today. Today I am more interested in asking you to consider using the pain of today’s tests and trials to reset your path for tomorrow because tomorrow is coming, and if you don’t re-align your mind, thoughts and heart, you will be in the same place next year without one inch of movement in the direction of your dreams.

And, frankly, I can’t think of anything more emotionally disappointing than to know you stayed in the same place–which really means you didn’t grow–and then the analogy will be this, if you’re not growing you are dying in every sense of the word.

You know it and I know it, so the question is this, what are you going to do about it? Please don’t revert to your old excuse of being paralyzed by fear–that’s what our discussion is about today, to remind you that you’ve used that excuse before. So, now that you know you need to move forward to create the future you choose, how can you use the pain of yesterday to help you create joy today? Friend, that is the life challenge you’re supposed to embrace to help you discover who you are.

I know that life is stressful and hard and expensive and, for many, very lonely, and so many people like to talk about and re-live the past of the good old days (which really weren’t that good, but whose counting) instead of creating a future that is their definition of bliss, and I’ll let you define what your bliss would be…since it is different for everyone.

If you were to search online, there are a million pages on how to find your life’s purpose. And most of these nuggets of advice are based on a premise that you are stuck, so you need to get unstuck. And, while I’m not sure you really are stuck, I am pretty sure you’re allowing weakness to paralyze you and overtake your strength so you can stay in place (because you feel safe there), but I’m here to tell you that safety in the scheme of life’s amazing and abundant opportunity doesn’t get you very far and certainly not to any place you’d like to go.

So how will you use your current life challenges to discover who you are?

This is the hard part, and I wish it were easy to answer or that I had an answer to that question, but I’ll have to leave it with you to figure out which direction your life’s compass is pointing to.

You know, I am a true believer in having you set aside some quiet time to think and chart a course for your life, so you can stop being tossed by every wind of other people’s opinions and suggestions for your future. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your life; not what’s best for everyone else, because, when you allow others to chart your future, most often it is for their benefit and not yours.

I’m asking you today to consider your next steps for your future because someone has to ring the bell, sound the alarm or break down your door, so you can see your future and so you don’t stay so rooted in the past or where you’re currently comfortably residing, because life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are. And as much as I wish I could help you… the only help I can offer is to encourage you to push past the current pain and trouble that you’re in, because every storm runs out of rain, just like every dark night turns into day.

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The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion. - Paulo Coelho