Do you create, or are you created?
We are, first and foremost, created by God, in whom we have our being and without whom we have nothing. Thankfulness and adoration must forever remain directed to God alone. From that point forward there is a great gap between those who do, and do not, understand what Allan Watts meant when he said, “It is not the wake that drives the boat.”
Think about several people with whom you know some of their story, both past and present. They could be members of your personal life or not, it doesn’t matter. Bring as many of them to mind as possible. Now separate these people into two groups: (1) those who let their past create their present and (2) those who create their present regardless of their past. Which group has more high achievers? Which group has more people who feel stuck? Which group tends to feel more confident? Which group tends to struggle with meaning or satisfaction in their life? My guess is that the “group 2” in your life, those who create their present despite their past, far out performs the others. Why is that?
Thousands of studies and peer-reviewed articles explain that when people stop letting their past (the wake) define them (the boat), they are suddenly free to be themselves. Now, letting go of your past might not be so easy. You might be the victim of trauma, abuse, loss, or even just regular life. You might say that you’re bitter, hurt, tainted, broken, and I would say that all those feelings are real and valid. What I challenge is the quiet assumption you are making behind the scenes. The assumption that, “I am broken…and I will continue to be this way.” I challenge that assumption because it is (in my opinion) the number one thing keeping you locked up and stuck.
Freedom comes from dropping the “ed” in your life. Choose to believe that you create who you are today, not that you are created by your past. Let me show you what this looked like in my own life.
The wake that I got tossed in was addiction. I experienced my life shattering around me, shame drowning me, and the skepticism if recovery could actually help a man as broken as me. For a time, I fell into the belief that I was nothing more than the sum of my past mistakes. I had no confidence and the idea of “making it” in life wasn’t even on the radar. Through my recovery I was able to learn about this amazing ability to create myself. Let me be clear: no switch was flipped and no progress came without effort and consistency. I had to learn this, step-by-step, until eventually I was able to look my past in the eye and genuinely say, “Thank you for the lessons you taught me, but I don’t allow you to have any more power than a history teacher. I no longer resent you and I am no longer defined by you.”
How does one start this process? First: pray and ask God for wisdom, because he will give it to you if you believe (James 1:5-8). Second: you need to drop your “ed”. Allow a paradigm shift in your heart, choosing to believe that you are a great deal more than the sum of your past mistakes or victimizations. Third: challenge every old thought of being “broken” or “stuck” by calling out the lie and replacing it with something true. The truth does not need to be anything fancy. It could be as simple as, “In this moment, I am okay.” Or “ I have some healthy plans for the future.” Or “I am enough, simply because Jesus says I am.” Dig into these steps and make them a daily habit and you will be well on your way to freedom.
So…in short, I challenge you to learn, as I did, to be careful about your “ed” so that you can say, “I live” instead of “I lived”.
Please comment below and let me know your thoughts!