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I am going to risk something by writing this post, I’m not sure what it is yet, but I can feel it. I’m doing it for you, so I hope you can appreciate it. I am a firstborn, and I show all the classic symptoms. I achieve. I feel responsible. I protect. I make decisions no one wants to make. I feel bad and say I’m sorry far too often. If anyone is upset with me, my gut response is to feel that something must be wrong with me. I cave to the pressure of upholding all the rules, whether spoken or unspoken. I compare myself to others and then expect myself to achieve far beyond others.

We know we are the products of our choices, but I feel that some of the things we think are inevitable– these things are really just effects of our habitual choices. Our compare-yourself-to-others “rational” mind often gets in the way of the best decision-making by getting us think that we have so few choices. We complain of never having enough money because we force ourselves to think of luxuries as needs. We try to be “balanced” with perfect health, perfect relationships, perfectly neat houses. All the while we wish something extraordinary would emerge from the ordinary environments we’ve created for ourselves. I love what Dave Ramsey says, and I’ll risk repeating myself as I quote it, “If you want to live like no one else, you have to live like no one else.”

I can just see it now… someone criticizing Mother Theresa for failing to hone her public speaking skills, or lecturing Abraham Lincoln about how he should have had some better premarital counseling. There are some things that are just more important than other things, but it is different for every person according to every situation. A Mother Theresa does not need to be an Abraham Lincoln and vice versa. They were each great for being authentic to who they were. No one but you and God can really tell you what your values and priorities need to be at any given time. Sure, we have principles that we live by, general guidelines. And we can try to convince others to adopt our values until we are blue in the face– that’s not all bad. But when push comes to shove, we make choices that are all our own and we have to be willing to live with the results.

Knowing this, I cannot live for the fear of others and their conceptions of me. I have to live from my own understanding of myself as painted for me by my Creator. I have to be able to stand on this truth alone or I will not live a life of authenticity. Anything less than my authenticity robs the world of the gifts only I can bring. So, I dare you to chuck it! Well, don’t just chuck everything you may be tempted to chuck… Hold on to your values, your convictions, your truest revelation of who you are. Act on what you know to be true.. and chuck all the rest. All the rest is just there to distract you and detract from your calling.

Try something you’d never try if you thought you might be rejected. Try living like no one else to get something you’ve always dreamed about. If you’ve been crying out for a new experience or a new kind of life, go exploring. Don’t let go of God’s hand, and don’t be surprised if the journey is a little extreme. Don’t be surprised if the path is as unique as you are.

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