Put the Hammer Down

hammer

I well remember, just over 20 years ago, sitting in the office of one of the ministers at my church asking for wise counsel. His daughter was my best friend and he was one of my most trusted mentors. Rivers of tears flowed that day. A young college student at the time, I was in a relationship with a young man and it wasn’t going too well. The situation had become rather toxic, but I was engaged and didn’t know what to do. I didn’t think “good Christian girls” were supposed to go back on their promises.

He looked me directly in the eyes and gently said, “Amy, it’s like you have a hammer and you are hitting yourself in the head with it over and over again. It’s your choice. Put the hammer down.”

The words were simple, but empowering. They made me realize I was indeed in control of my destiny. I didn’t have to bow to the expectations of anyone else. My future could be a matter of my choice.

Too often we blame our circumstances on other people or situations. We say things like, “Well, he…” or “Well, she…”. Or we say, “But I can’t…” or “If only…”. We become victims of our own choices. Our mess is by our own design.

Maybe it’s a job you need to give up, or a relationship you need to end. Maybe setting some healthy boundaries even though it angers a loved one at first would be helpful. Oh, and of course there are numerous money problems that could be solved with some conscious decision making and a little extra self-discipline. Or, maybe you have a load of guilt you simply need to set down.

Unfortunately, there are circumstances we can’t change. However, we have much more power to change the direction of our lives than many of us might think. Often, we are simply too afraid to make the decision that can launch us into a better trajectory. We worry about other people’s feelings, or what they might think of us. The uncertainty of the future paralyzes us, or we allow physical comforts to trump our emotional health. What ifs keep us rooted in mediocrity.

It’s a new year, my friends. Do you have any hammers in your grip that you’ve been beating yourself up with? I managed to put one of mine down a long time ago, and I’ve never regretted it. Make 2015 a year with a little less pain and a much brighter future!

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