Taking responsibility for our lives

It’s so easy to blame others as well as our circumstances for our shortcomings. Anytime we give someone else control over us, without any resistance, and just accept our limitations, then we are setting ourselves up for heartache and failure.

I will never forget the turmoil in my heart as I had to make the really tough decisions about my future. Several of my doctors didn’t think I would get better. Therefore, they told me to sign up for disability. That meant no more books or speaking engagements. As I listened to all the reasons why I should do it — and they all made perfect sense — my heart begged for another option. I couldn’t do it. In all reality, it would have been a relief for me to be able to spend my days resting instead of pushing myself every day. In my heart, I knew it would break my spirit. If I took away my reason to get out of bed every day, would I even get up?

Regardless of what happens to me, I am responsible for my own actions. I never want to put my life into someone else’s hands. Nor do I want to live with an excuse for everything. My goal is to be joyful and to live my life for God — despite my circumstances.

As long as I am focusing on the problem, then I’m not looking for the solution. The minute I think something is someone else’s fault, then I stop looking at myself for ways to overcome my hardships. When I recognize my faults and failures, then I am able to overcome them. Yes, the amniotic bands attacked me and damaged my body. But my condition does not define me. Nor does it prevent me from doing what I want to do in my life. The enemy can’t make us do anything.

In the garden, the serpent didn’t force Eve to eat of the forbidden fruit. She chose to do it and then she had to suffer the consequences of her actions. We are responsible for each decision that we make. So often we find ourselves in despair and think that we have no control over our lives. That is simply not true. We all have the beautiful blessing of free will. Therefore, we are solely responsible for our actions. We don’t know what we are capable of until we really put forth an effort.

Instead of signing up for disability, I signed up for the gym. I cried through my first workout, but I still did it. I also changed my diet. Most of all though, I followed my heart. Even though others encouraged me to give up, my God whispered for me to trust Him. I knew that He hadn’t given me a glimpse of dreams to just take them away. So I decided that I would keep going — despite the hardships and the pain. I figured if God wanted me to give up and go to bed then He would put me there — and it would be beyond my ability to get back up.

Once I realized that my health is my responsibility, then I was able to do the necessary things for my body to heal. For years, I put my health in my doctor’s hands and blamed my condition. I didn’t realize that I could do things to help myself. Now I eat healthier, exercise, foam roll, stretch, get enough sleep, drink more water, and listen to my body. Those things my doctor could not do for me.

The only way we can become the person God created us to be is if we take responsibility for our lives. God sees us. He knows when we are doing our best in life and when we are only doing enough to barely get by. I am so guilty of wasting my time and effort on things that don’t even matter. Then, I get upset when my life is not what I want it to be. When I make better decisions, however, and do my best, then I just feel better. And my life goes better.

This is my life and I’m not going to allow anyone else to take it away from me. I want to live well and reflect God in some way — every day. Most of all, I want to live my life in a way that pleases Him.

Candida Sullivan is an award-winning author and inspirational speaker. She helps others to develop the mindset to overcome their circumstances. Her recent book, Despite Your Circumstances, won the 2016 CSPA Book of the Year Award in Christian Living. She lives in New Tazewell with her husband and kids. For more information about her books or to schedule her for your event, email her at candidasullivan@yahoo.com.