Taking responsibility for our lives can be huge awakening

Edith "Dotsy" Fauntleroy Smith
June 3, 2009
Enell Bradley Brown
June 5, 2009

A reader sent me the following essay entitled “The Awakening.” St. Irenaeus at the end of the second century said, “The glory of God is a person fully alive.” The unknown author is pushing us to take responsibility for our own lives and to be all that God wants us to be.

A time comes in life when we finally get it. In the midst of all our fears and insanity, we stop dead in our tracks and somewhere the voice inside our head cries out, “Enough!” Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on.

Like a child quieting down after a temper tantrum, our sobs begin to subside, we blink back our tears and begin to look at the world through new eyes. This is our awakening.

We realize it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change. Happiness, safety, and security will not be arriving over the next horizon. We are not Prince Charmings or Cinderellas and in the real world there are not always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter). Any guarantees of living “happily ever after” must begin with accepting life the way it is. When we do that, a sense of serenity is born.

We awaken to the fact that we are not perfect and that not everyone will love, appreciate or approve of who or what we are – and that’s OK. People are entitled to their own views and opinions.

We learn the importance of loving and championing ourselves for who we are not for what we have. When we accept ourselves, a newfound confidence is born.

We stop complaining and blaming other people for the things they did to us (or did not do for us). We learn to forgive and let go. We learn that people do not always say what they mean or mean what they say.

Everyone will not be there for us no matter how loving we are. We learn to stand on our own two feet and to take care of ourselves. When we learn to be self-reliant, a sense of safety and security is born.

We stop judging and pointing fingers and we begin to accept people as they are and to overlook their shortcomings and human frailties. When we accept them as they are, a sense of peace and contentment is born.

We realize that much of the way we view ourselves and our world is the result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into our psyche. We begin to sift through all the junk we have been fed about how we should behave, how we should look, how much we should weigh, what we should wear, what we should do for a living, how much money we should make, what kind of car we should drive, how and where we should live, whom we should marry, our obligations to our parents, family, children and friends, etc.

We learn to be open to new worlds and different points of view. We begin reassessing and redefining who we are and what we really believe.

We learn the difference between wanting and needing and we begin to discard the doctrines and values that are false, crippling or distorted. In the process we learn to trust our instincts.

We learn that it is truly in giving that we receive. We experience the power and glory in creating and contributing and stop maneuvering through life merely as a “consumer” looking for our next fix.

We learn that principles such as honesty and integrity are not the outdated ideals of a bygone era but the mortar that holds together the foundation upon which we must build our lives.