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Circumstances and choices, can lead us to conclusions about life. Hopefully, after we struggle for a while these conclusions or lessons make us better and or stronger. I have heard, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” But I have also heard, “Our experiences can either make us or break us.” What If you come to the end of your rope and the only thing you can say is, “What is the use?”

Believe me I have been broken many times in my life. I will tell you counseling is a good thing, medicine if you need it is nothing to be ashamed of, self help books are great, but what if you feel you know all that, and you still feel either hopeless or cynical? This is a question I have had to ask myself a few times over the span of my life. And the answer is always: TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK!

In the olden days cartoons used to have a little angel on one shoulder and a little devil on the other and they would be fighting back and forth with the character to do what they thought was right. The angel, of course, would encourage the right decision and the devil would be tempting with the wrong one. I liked this visual as a kid because as a grown up I definitely hear those little guys on my shoulders fighting back and forth.

In these cartoons occasionally the character would flick the little angel off and then proceed to do the wrong thing. It was funny as a child to watch such things, but I find that I am capable of flicking the angel off too, and when I do, I am left with a condemning little devil. He then joins me in processing my circumstances and choices. Instead of joy and peace I get anxious and frustrated. I am left hopeless and cynical.

Over the years I thought I had conquered that little bugger, but every now and then with his sly ways I listen to the wrong shoulder. I found myself there recently. All the counseling, even medication, and self help books won’t help this. Only I can. I was talking with a friend about counseling and I told her, “Counseling is a wonderful thing, but once you go for a while the reality is that action is in your hands. A person can encourage, lead, help you see things you didn’t, but the hard work still falls on you.”

It is time I take my life back! We can not control others. They will do what they do. Their actions will effect us if we let them. We are only in charge of ourselves and our own behaviors. When prayers don’t get answered on time or how we want, when people we love continue to make mistakes and refuse reason, when disappointments try and smother us, when we screw up and let others down, when we feel too lonely to live, too sad to cry anymore, we have a choice to make. We can live in our self pity, anger, frustrations, anxieties or we can take it back.

Let’s take it back! Our disappointments, others mistakes, our sadness, our anxieties, our own mistakes, our loneliness, we can do this! What do you have control over? Yourself. Pray, kick, scream, get it out of your system, forgive, let go, write a letter you’ll never send (burn it), do what it takes, then begin to take it back. Stand up to the little devil on your shoulder and flick him off! We can do all things through Christ who strengthens us. Philippians 4:13.

I am taking my life back today. I have sat in this pity party too long. I have allowed hopelessness to steal my joy. No more! I can tell the thoughts to, SHUT UP! I can forgive and move on. I can die to myself and what I would like to happen or what I would have liked to happen. I can let others live their lives and make mistakes. I can pray for them and wait for them. I can trust the Lord above that He has a plan. I can surrender what has been holding me back and I can take my life back!

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