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EMBRACING THE UNCOMFORTABLE

ELife’s challenges promise us endlessopportunities to reassess, reevaluate,and push beyond the boundaries of comfort over and over again.

Each minute that passes by is transforming you. Biologically,your hair begins to turn gray and your skin and muscles beginmaking a slow, graceful dance into older age. This is the beautifulcycle of life.

On the inside, learning to change and control the way wethink about what we have faced does not come so naturally. Evenmore challenging is having the heart to look toward the futurewith optimism. In fact, it takes great “intentionality.”If voices of insecurity, doubt, and fear are not confronted, theywill dictate your life. You cannot silence these voices or ignorethem. Instead, make them your audience as you dare to defy thelimitations of your past.

Sarah Roberts believes that we have all been given the gift of being on earth for a reason.Recognizing who you are and what you have to offer will help yourealize that you do not have to be a slave to any preconceived ideaof what your life must look like.

There may be times when feeling thisway actually scares you into shrinking, butyou were not meant to cower and resignyourself to a routine or pattern that makesyou just like everyone else. The vibrancyof your life is contingent on your ability toaccept situations that isolated you and tolearn and be empowered by your uniqueimprint. It is going to take work, and it’s going to demand transparencyand vulnerability.

You have stopped trying to construct a life you hope other peoplewill accept, and instead you have decided to embrace the life thatGod has in store for you. Nothing has happened to you that Godcannot use to restore you. The first step in that restoration is recognizingthe power you have always had to pull yourself out of darknessand constantly push toward the light at the end of the tunnel.

You have wondered if you should lower your expectations. One oflife’s greatest tests is resisting the urge to cave in to the pressure ofthat kind of frustration.

Despite the many tears that threatened to dilute it, your faithdid not dissolve. Your heart is still pumping. Your pulse is a signthat this world needs you. All of your achievements, confusion,accolades, issues, awards, and pain prepared you for the journey.You know you were made for so much more than this.Long before you became aware that life could be more bitterthan sweet, you believed that nothing was impossible.

That is right! You are armed withmore wisdom, discernment, awareness, confidence, and joy thanthe innocent and delicate person you once were.Open your eyes and   see that longingfor the past is an illusion. Your present holds more promisethan anything that used to be.

For positive change to take place within yoursoul, no area can be off limits for examination.Growth is produced through sacrifice.The gift ofgrowing requires letting go. We have to let go or we will experiencediscomfort and even pain.

Stability can only be attainedthrough facing insecurities. Recognize that there are too many tochoose from already. Be content to chase God’s destiny for your life. Understand that flaws are a necessary part of life becausethey foster humility.

When we create a culture thatcongratulates men on their ability to hide their emotions, jugglemultiple relationships, and resist vulnerability, we run the riskof producing men who internalize their fears and who breakhearts rather than protect them.

How do you become a man of characterand integrity when all you have heard is the applause that comeswith indiscretions? Life brings us all to a fork in the road whenwe must choose to grow up into the unknown or grow cold bystaying the same.

Hiding from our human frailty comesin all different shapes, sizes, and packages. Some of us swear off thenotion of love altogether, others hide behind successful careers, andmany feign an enjoyment and exhilaration that comes from beingunchained to real morals or convictions. The bottom line is you willnever know who you can become if you create a life that requiresyou to pretend you are already comfortable with who you are.

Occasionally, we get a glimpse of how much our covetous perceptionof other people’s lives was shaped by a very limitedperspective.

But mediocrity is comforting until it becomes debilitating.Witnessing dysfunction in other people’s lives may make us morecomfortable with our own, but this dangerous knowledge can alsostrip us of the motivation required to pursue a deeper level of self-intimacyand transformation.

You cannot point the finger at other people’s shortcomingsto justify your own. God doesnot grade our lives on a curve. He hasgiven each of us a certain measure of faith and power to havean incredible life. Each of us has an opportunity to dust off theshame, fear, and pain that threatened to bury us and reemergewith strength and tenacity.

Moving on takes effort, intentionality, and discipline Roberts would say. If you aregoing to gather the broken pieces of your life and build again, youmust be willing to clear your heart and mind of excuses. Yourcomeback will become another setback if you focus on all the reasonsyou could fail.Excuses are comfort zones. Life is never short on excuses.

Have you experienced a time whenyou should be flourishing, but somehow yourpast experiences with trauma lured you in tosettling for the safety of immobility? Maybeyou convinced yourself that staying the samemeant you would never hurt again either.We choose to view our future throughthe lens of past disappointments. That perspectiveisolates us inside paralyzing fear.Once our lives have been disturbed bypain, we create a list of personal dos anddon’ts out of trepidation.

Our list of “I’ll nevers” isfalse protection against another letdown. The walls our fears erectare as unstable as the excuses that created them. Placing our heartsin a fortress will not keep pain at a distance. Pain touches everylife, but if you are open, it will also teach you a valuable life lesson.

If you are going to combat the negative mentality that ultimatelysets you up for failure, you must battle excuses with truth. Alifestyle of excuses didnot happen overnight; it was practiced untilit became a perfected and comfortable norm. So if we are going tocreate a new precedent in our lives, we have to understand howour previous pattern was birthed. You cannot change a past youwould not confront.

In spite of your most critical thoughts,something in you knows you have more left than you have lost. Thetrue testimony of survival is not in what you survived; it is in howyou were able to truly live again. What good is surviving a break ifyou still choose to live with a cast? A cast was never meant to bea permanent fixture in your healing.

Shedding excuses is a discipline that must be practiced withour thoughts, communication, and actions. There is only roomfor language that declares: I will! We must learn to practice integrity with ourselvesbefore we can reasonably expect to receive it from anyone else.

The bridgefrom who you once were to who God has ordained you to be iscreated from bricks of vulnerability, humility as strong as mortar,and a master plan so perfect, even the things that once hurt youwill serve in making you better.Growth occurs when we confrontour personal experiences and how they have changed us.

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