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There is one lesson (among the many dozens) that I like to drill into my kids’ heads: You can only live one life- yours.

You may be gifted in some area, and everyone sees it and wonders why you’re not more excited and proactive in pursuing that skill. They seem to notice your potential and capabilities more than you do. They might even believe in you more than you do yourself. That may seem like a good thing, that you have such wonderful support, but upon closer examination, we’ll find that it is not good enough. It is not what others think and believe about you that will help you accomplish your goals; it is much more important what you think of yourself, what you know and believe about yourself, what your self-image and self-worth is.

You must have faith in God and in yourself and believe that you’ll eventually accomplish that which you’re working towards.  If you don’t have faith, you might as well just stop dreaming and working, because nothing can be realized without faith.  Why? Because your faith is what will transform the thoughts and dreams into plans and action and accomplishment. And this faith must come from you; it must be internal.  All the faith in the world can never make up for the absence of faith in your own heart, towards your own endeavors, towards the realization of your goals.

It is a good thing when other people support you and join their faith to yours.  But this external faith isn’t all you need- it must be in addition to the faith that you already have.  The whole world can believe in you and in your dreams and abilities; but if you don’t believe it yourself, it’s a waste of time.

Conversely, the whole world can be against you, but if you stand firm in faith and plough ahead, you’ll eventually reach your destination. The Bible tells us in Romans 8:31 that “If God is for us, who can be against us?” If you have faith in God and are walking in the path that He has called you to walk, no power on earth or in hell can stop you.  Only you can really thwart God’s plan for your life by your disobedience and non-cooperation.

Life is hard, with many twists and turns, with many failures and a handful of successes tucked in between. We are called to love and support each other, particularly family members and friends.

However, we shouldn’t interpret this to mean that other people can exclusively carry our burdens for us.  We are to bear each other’s burden, to support each other, to walk alongside each other as we journey through life.  But realize that we are walking together; it’s a support system, not a crane on which we can casually deposit our problems and just walk without a care in the world.  You can’t hand off your responsibilities to others to handle them for you.  The person who handles a responsibility will be the one to enjoy the privileges and recognition that comes with successfully managing the responsibility.

No one can live your dream, to bring it to life and maintain it for you.  They wouldn’t even know how to do that, even if they wanted to.  No matter how much they love you, they will eventually fail, because the vision wasn’t theirs to begin with.  God didn’t give them the dream; He gave it to you.

That is like trying to have someone answer to your name; only you can successfully, genuinely and legally do that. You must answer to you own name; everyone answers to theirs.

Sometimes parents or spouses try to live their children’s or spouse’s lives for them.  They try to force them to do something that even though might be good for the child or spouse, but if they are not willing to do it themselves, there is little that the parents or spouse can do to change the individual or situation.  This can be unsettling at times, and it can cause friction in the home. But here’s the undeniable and unavoidable truth: we must make our own choices. We must have our own faith. We must walk our own path. We must answer to our own name. We must live out our own destiny. No one else’s.

If that statement bothers you, take comfort in the fact that there is adventure, self-knowledge, growth, maturity and liberty not just at the end of this journey, but in the course of the journey.  And with commitment and diligence you might develop your own faith, confidence, dedication and strength to walk your own path, to run your own race, and to not only finish, but finish well.

God bless you in your race! Cheers!!

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