Life is often about choices, and those choices not only determine where we go and what we experience in your lives, but they even determine who we become as people.
Although we like to think that we remain the same over time, research shows that this is not true. Many of our values, interests, and personality traits may seem to remain the same from day-to-day, but measured over decades, over the entire course of our lives, they will change. We in many ways are like trees, which don’t seem to grow or change much from day-to-day, but on a timescale of decades experience substantial and fundamental change and growth.
Knowing that we do change and grow over the course of our lives, the question then becomes: do we have control over this, and can we intentionally choose the kind of people we will one day become? And the answer is yes, we do have choice, and we can plot a course for the people we someday want to be.
I have found that one of the most important principles as we intentionally set out our life choices is to choose to move in the direction of ever greater openness and freedom. We can make choices in our lives that intentionally expand us, that free us, and that give us more flexibility and openness.
Nowhere is this principle more crucial than in the people we surround ourselves with, our relationships. Any relationship in our lives will lead us down one of two paths. With some people we will find that we will feel pressured to limit ourselves, constrict ourselves, hide parts of ourselves, and play only the role that these particular want us to play for them. The longer we are with these kind of people, the more we will find ourselves becoming less and less of who we once were.
The second path is that we seek out and find beautiful people whose unconditional acceptance, love, and support frees us to grow and expand and become more and more of who God created us to be. They are fresh air, fertile soil, and pure water that nurture our souls and refresh our spirits. The more we are around them, the more we will find ourselves becoming the truest, fullest expression of all that we can be.
The difference between the two kinds of people and their paths for our lives is striking, but we have to be the ones who make the choice. We have to be willing to separate ourselves from people who pressure us and limit us, and we have to seek out and invest time with people who will allow us the open path of our soul’s growth and expansion.
This takes courage, to say no to toxic people who will certainly try to make us feel bad as we move away from them, and say yes to the courage to start new paths and new relationships. But the alternative to a life of courage is a life of regrets. And I, for one, want you to live a life without regrets, and so does every person that God will put into your life to truly love and encourage you along the way.