Updated: Jul 9, 2022
There was a time I let everyone around me decide who I was going to be. I had no voice over what I'd do. This wasn't a forced thing; it was a decision I made in order to be accepted and approved by people I considered friends. There was a time I was in such an emotional drought that I couldn't even look myself in the face. I gave up on countless endeavors and ideas that I thought could change the world all because someone told me it was impossible. I gave up countless dreams because I was afraid I'd be abandoned. I was afraid to be alone. I just wanted to be "valid".
For most of my life I lived as an athlete, nothing more, nothing less. I was just the kid everyone saw on the courts or at the YMCA all the time. I was the kid that spent a lot of time working on his craft with his dad. I loved it. But there came a time where my love for the game of basketball specifically was questioned by the presence of my coaches. did I want to fit in and play according to the box they put me in or did I want to stand out and let my passion shine? I chose to hide and play by their rules, hating every second of it. Everyone knew what I could do and it frustrated me. this has always been my struggle. I have a hard time expressing outwardly how I really feel about something because of the fear of being rejected. It's still a work in progress to this day. I just wanted freedom. One of the things I regret and am the most ashamed about in my high school days is allowing myself to be demeaned by people I thought were close friends. I allowed them to call me all sorts of names, and rolled with the punches because I was afraid. I'd come home mentally exhausted but I knew if I could hide it no one would ask. Living to be accepted while allowing yourself to be destroyed is the worst thing you can do. I never want to go through or see anyone go through what I did. I've had people tell me "oh, that's not so bad." but in the back of my mind it wasn't the act that was horrible, it was the fact I played along, killing myself and the passion I'd honed for years in a matter of months.
It was all a decision. Now, as a publisher I face a different challenge. "what can I write that helps someone?" this in itself is tough because we live in a world of trends and because of this, sometimes what is necessary is hidden. As a publisher and a person in general, I'm sure you've thought this too but, you wonder "who will see me?" "who cares?" and "is it worth the hassle?" from an individual standpoint the "who will" and "is it" become "am I".
The only person who can determine the answer to those questions is you. You have to understand your worth. You have to believe your message. You have to live a life that is worth paying attention to. And it's not the big things that make life worth it, it's all the little things leading up to it. it's the process I'm interested in. It's the growth. It's the challenge. It's the stepping out of the comfort zone that most intrigues me.
Going through the process is a decision. You have to want to go. You have to want to move. You have to want to change, grow and develop into more. This is the first thing I learned when I started my walk with Christ. I had to actively change, with intention. I had to evaluate myself. study myself. And pray constantly to find out who it is God wants to be me. It's all a process and the struggle is real sometimes. I've lost some of the closest people to me as a result of my faith but I thank God I realized that I'll be okay as long as I put my trust in him instead of acceptance. I'll tell you this, fighting to stay in a place that doesn't water you is not worth it. Fighting to stay with someone who doesn't care about themselves is not worth it, because it strains you. People will blame you for choosing what matters to you most above them. People will try to make you feel bad for taking a chance on yourself. I can speak from experience here because I'm going through it right now. It's not easy or fun, it's exhausting to grow. But in the end I will have gained so much more.
I want you to understand that the choices you make matter. The decisions you have to make are crucial. Protect yourself and your peace, don't do things because people pressure or try to convince you to. you are responsible for how you treat yourself. Think about the consequences. Evaluate the motive and situation. If it's shallow, is it really worth it?
you can control what you focus on. But you have to intentionally work at it. we'll talk about intentionality on Monday 7/11/22. I want you to understand here today that you choose. Make the choice that will grow you over time not satisfy you for a moment. They say the peak of a hill is rounded because it never stretches or reaches to go higher. Mountains have multiple tips because no matter where they stop for a moment, they dip and reach for greater heights.
"It's your decision"