This is a topic that hits close to home for me, because I went through two major life changes last year that were the direct result of other peoples’ decisions. I had no say so in them, and the changes were literally rammed down my throat. Yes, I felt victimized. It definitely wasn’t fair, and I resented that other people were making decisions that were affecting my life. But I have come through, and I can honestly say that I feel my life is much better today than it was before the changes. How did I do this? Well, there are a few secrets to playing the hand your dealt and turning a hodgepodge of crap into a winning hand:
1. Take advantage of every opportunity, no matter how small. It’s the small things that lead up to the big things, and often it happens in incremental steps. My 2 E-book contracts are the result of an article I read on E-publishing last summer. I’d say that idea went a long way!
2. Realize that you have a right to work things for the very best in your life. No, you can’t choose what happens to you, but you can choose whether to remain a victim. When life gets derailed, take some time to analyze the new situation and look for ways you can work things out for good. You often can’t control what people come into your life, but you can determine what kind of relationship you have with them by letting them know what’s good, what’s acceptable, and what’s absolutely intolerable in your life.
3. Accept what you can’t change and change what you can. There are some things you can’t change, but in every situation there are details you can control. I had no control over my job move, but I decided to demonstrate my skills and abilities to my new colleagues right away. As a result, my duties were assigned based on my strengths instead of putting me wherever they needed another body pushing through work – and I’m happier with my job than I’ve ever been.
4. Don’t let other people run your life. Yes, there are times when decisions that other people make will affect you, but these times should be the exception and not the rule. That’s a poor way to set your sails and usually leads to ports you never intended to visit, much less live at. Stand up for yourself and make it clear to other people that they will respect you as an individual or they will no longer have a place in your life.
5. Reaping and sowing is a real way to turn a losing hand to a winning one. It’s a real concept, folks, and I’ve seen it play out over and over again. What goes around really does come around. If you aren’t a person of faith, consider this: The universe only has a limited amount of energy, and you can only get back what you give. So please, be mindful of your words and actions. Honesty, integrity and hard work will yield fruit. Deceit, deception, and laziness, well, sowing those if fun but reaping them’s a witch.
6. Be thankful for what you have, and take care of it. Because why should God give you more if you gripe and complain about what you have? Do you know when I saw a breakthrough on building our dream home? It was after I finally accepted the home we had and dedicated myself to taking the best possible care of it.
7. Realize the Law of Undulation. I absolutely love this concept of the ebb and flow of life that C.S. Lewis presented in The Screwtape Letters. Life really is a series of peaks and valleys, and you’re always at some point in that curve. So if you’re down, don’t fret because you will go back up. If you’re up, stay humble because things will level out. And if you’re in the middle, then praise God because at least you’re moving. The nature of the universe is change, which means that ruts are an illusion. Eventually, something will move.
8. Honesty and integrity always win the day. Do the best at all you do, and be honest. Truth has a way of showing itself, and integrity demonstrates character. You may suffer for it periodically, but in the end what’s right always stands while lies and deception dissolve into nothing. In my 13 years in the work force I can say for a fact that people that played politics and stepped on others to move ahead never lasted. They shone for a while, but eventually the favor ran out and the truth showed itself. It all goes back that that annoying “reaping and sowing” thing.
9. Don’t let fear be a factor. If the Lord brings you to it, He’ll bring you through it. I don’t care if you’re scared. Find your courage and bring the fire. We have a Savior that defeated the devil, freed the souls from Hades, defeated sin and death, and sits at the right hand of the Father. I think He can handle whatever we face – especially if it’s His will for our lives!
10. Don’t be afraid of who you are. Be real. Be authentic. Embrace yourself, rough edges and all. Because when we stand before God, He won’t ask why you weren’t more like other people. He’ll ask why you weren’t yourself and why you didn’t appreciate the blessings He gave you.
Life may deal you a bad hand every now and then, but that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to live in defeat. In fact, you should fight defeat. Don’t settle for life trapped in a box or accept bad things for yourself. Stand up, be yourself, and do all you can to make the hand you have a winning one!
That's my soapbox speech for today. More later. I hope the rest of the week is great.