Starts & Stops

Every day is a fresh start.  A chance to begin with new resolve. What will the day bring? That remains to be seen. How will you face it? That part you can control.

We all need to take a proactive approach to life. Often, we have the quick start, the feeling of inspiration. We know we are on the right path and we have the ends in sight. Then what happens? The road block. Difficulties and challenges make us lose the horizon. Our enthusiasm wanes and we lose momentum. Suddenly what we KNEW was right becomes questionable. "Should I really commit to this?" "Who am I kidding?" or worse, "It SEEMED right but I don't know."

We started well and then came up to a stop sign. Where do we go from there?

The problem is often not the roadblock itself; it is our perception. We play a passive role in our own lives when we let roadblocks and hardships DEFINE our path. It may be PART of the journey but it does not define or control it. Only you can do that.

Our lives are not determined by anything that happens TO us unless we let it. We have been given rational souls; we have free will and can make decisions that go with or against whatever conditions we are presented with. Basically, the rational soul is the step between stimulus and response. Animals don't have this step in the middle; something happens and they react. They are CONDITIONED to act in a certain way and they cannot break their conditioning freely. We can. We can DECIDE where we want our lives to go and act accordingly.

After what seemed like a solid start, we falter.  We had a clear view of the path we were on.  It all seemed so right!  We had direction and guidance.  Then we hit the, "Stop."  This is the point where we can either let life happen TO us or we adjust and persevere.  So often when we hit these stumbling points in life, our focus narrows until all we can see it the "STOP" in the road; we lose the path ahead.  We are not lost.  All is not lost.  We need to make the decision to persevere THROUGH the difficulty and have the faith that we are still on the right path (though it may not feel that way at times).  Once we are past the stumbling point, we find the road still leads us ahead the same way.  The horizon may still be foggy, but we know we are on the right road.

Admittedly this is not an easy process. It is far simpler to merely go through life being directed by conditions that are imposed upon us. We want to do something, it gets tough, we shrug our shoulders and say, "It's not meant to be." What we are truly doing in those situations is denying our higher calling in life. We are saying, "I don't want to live up to my potential. I would rather just float along like driftwood in the sea; going wherever the current takes me."

This is not a pitch to "live out your dreams" or "follow your passions" so much as it is a call to live rationally and proactively. Following your passions wherever they take you still leaves you as driftwood in the current. Instead of outside conditions constantly changing your direction, internal conditions (feelings, moods, emotions, reactions etc) define your existence. You were made for more!

What is this rational and proactive life?

Discern. Decide. Act. React. Evaluate. Persevere.

Over the course of the next two weeks, we will finish up this look at the proactive life.  Next week we'll take a look at the first three points, "Discern.  Decide.  Act." In that next post we'll find out how exactly we set the road map.  What does that process look like?  The week after, in "React.  Evaluate.  Persevere." we'll look more closely at dealing with the difficulties that arise along the way and knowing when it's time to adjust the plan and when it's time to stay the course.

Stay tuned!

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