It is deceptively simple: if you continue to do what you’ve been doing, you get the same results. If you want to see change in your life, you must change something about yourself. It is deceptively simple to the point of being a cliche.
When I think back to the various types of individuals I was hoping to become, it seems absurd that I would have ever thought I could be any single one of these individuals without being purely committed to sacrificing myself every waking hour for the sake of re-molding me into that person.
There are a million moments I can now look back upon in hindsight and declare what I could have done differently to get a different outcome. There are only a handful of moments I can say with some certainty that I knew what to say when the moment was taking place, and chose not to out of fear–mostly fear of becoming someone who was alien or foreign to myself.
And yet, life has certainly transformed me in spite of me being dragged kicking and screaming along. I am not the same person I was standing inside my candidate’s house when she invited me to stay and network and meet people who would have helped me have a career in politics. I am the kind of person now who would have fearlessly stayed if that’s what I wanted, or never even had gotten into all of that in the first place, because I would have known it wasn’t for me. Those moments where months or even years of preparation brought me to a place where the opportunity was now before my eyes and it was simply up to me to say “yes, I am ready to walk through that door and become someone new,” are much fewer and far between. I do live with some regret over how much I allowed sheer fear to overwhelm me.
Do I still live ruled by fear today? Of course. I make easier and safer decisions all the time. I could have gone the extra mile to see what seminaries I could get into in other parts of the country, like in NYC or Princeton, but I didn’t. Why didn’t I? Because I knew that this one would ultimately accept me, and it required only a minimal amount of stretching and sacrifice. It was more work than if we’d stayed in Waco, and I’d gone for free to Baylor’s seminary, and switched denominations, but it wasn’t that much of a struggle, since I have family in the area, and Austin is such an easy place to come back to.
But, at the end of the day, it isn’t that different from any other number of times where I played the safe choice. My excuse now may revolve more around what is best for my son, but I should be clearer with myself when I am really just using him as an excuse to do or not do something out of fear and laziness.