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Are You Who You Want to Be? When Pleasing Others Becomes a Prison of Our Own Making

I recall a conversation I had with a friend many years ago when I told him I was really hoping for an exciting life.

I didn’t think I had expressed anything to A) get upset about, or B) react with disdain/disappointment over.

Evidently I did both.

This friend paused and then responded with a statement that ran something along these lines.

Aren’t you asking for trouble in desiring an “exciting life?”

No, not really.

Maybe his idea of excitement runs different than mine.

But all I meant was that I wanted to use everything I’ve been given to create something worthwhile, something (anything) that made my heart sing (when doing the creating) whenever I engaged in it.

I know Max Lucado calls this finding our “sweet spot” when our gifts/talents/passions all meet together and then Bam! an explosion of wonderful feelings explode inside of us and this creative action then causes a chain reaction of beautiful expressions that bless other people too.

Which brings me back to my conversation from over thirty years ago (but which I still recall in high def clarity), I remember the sound of disappointment in my friend’s voice when I shared my heart. His response, though I’m sure he meant well, hurt me.

It also caused me to doubt myself and invalidate my desires. I remember spending too much time after that talk trying to figure out if I was right or if my friend was.

Of course, every time I failed (which is, like, almost constantly) I heard his judgment ring in my ears and dampen my spirit.

The funny thing is I can see myself speaking the exact same words today (and sometimes do) but now my reaction to my friend would be different. Night and day different.

I believe I would try to gently challenge my friend’s faulty assumptions and bring him over to my side. But I wouldn’t spend too much time trying to do so.

After all, life’s too short to waste so much time trying to convince somebody else my way is right (because, many times, it’s not.)

Today is all I’ve got. It’s all you’ve got too.

And if you find yourself agreeing with that sentiment, listen to one of my favorites from Switchfoot along the same theme.

This Is Your Life

Are you who you wanna be?

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