Free the Future

Free the Future

Would you like to free yourself to an unencumbered future? This week we are featuring Free the Future that Andrea wrote as a blogger for The Spirited Woman in 2014. Can you find meaning in her words today?

by Andrea Chilcote

While I am rarely inspired (or convinced may be the right word) by popular evangelical preachers, I took pause today at a statement I heard by Bishop TD Jakes.

He said, “When you hold onto your history, you do so at the expense of your destiny.”

td-jakesWhile the context for his words surrounded people working to release the trauma of severe abuse and betrayal – certainly a difficult and honorable journey – I was struck by the day-to-day implications. How many times (a day or an hour) do we allow what came before to poison what lies ahead?

I began listening for evidence, in my own self-talk and in the words of others. Quickly I realized that many of our future actions are predicated on what came before – often just moments before.

Here is a self-assessment, designed to determine if your past (even the past five minutes) influences your future. Before you answer the questions, please realize that most if not all answers will be “yes” –  if you are a human inhabiting planet earth.

  • Is there something more you would do if only you had the energy, connections, confidence or skill?
  • Do you feel badly because of a (non-healthy) choice you made (today or five years ago) with regard to diet, sleep or exercise?
  • Are you exhausted from arguing a point, championing a cause or trying to convince those who will not be swayed?
  • Do you feel inadequate because of any past injustice, trauma or difficulty?

If your answer was yes to any of these questions, I’m betting that some bit of self-judgment about past circumstances or choices is influencing the current situation.

So what to do? Ah, here is the answer, the one that I seek, quite imperfectly, to live into each day.

Forgive. Forgive yourself first. The choices you made before need not poison your future.

Then, forgive those who caused harm – not because they are absolved of responsibility, but because you release their power over you. What freedom that is, freedom to pursue the future, your destiny, as Jake describes it. Free the future to unfold, unencumbered.

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Today I Am Thankful – Thanksgiving 2012

Join Andrea as she reflects back on Thanksgiving 2012. What are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Andrea Chilcoteby Andrea Chilcote

I will officially begin celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday on Saturday when five friends arrive from Atlanta. As I prepare to enjoy time with them, I have begun to consider all of the things I am thankful for. And of all the wonderful blessings I have in my life, today I am most thankful for this one simple fact: I control my destiny.

I have been working, of late, to maintain a positive and hopeful state of mind. When small but annoying setbacks happen in my life and work, I have sought to not sweat the small stuff, and when faced with negativity seemingly all around, I have practiced management of my own energy. I’ve even succeeded in maintaining a degree of perspective in the backdrop of natural disasters and political strife.

While controlling one’s attitude is the ultimate source of control, it certainly helps to live in the land of the free.

Parrot's PerchLast weekend I met Karen Keilt, author of The Parrot’s Perch. Her book is based on her own true story, and I was stunned by the account Karen gave of her experience as a young adult in Brazil. A privileged woman living a fairy tale life, she was falsely arrested, imprisoned, raped and tortured by extortionists. Most astonishing is that the laws in that country still protect those torturers from prosecution, and the egregious offenses are ongoing.

Today I am thankful that I am a citizen of a country where success results from a marriage of effort and creativity, and flagrant violations of reasonable laws are enforced. Most of us can rest at night with a general feeling of safety and wake up each morning with an opportunity to make this day better than the one before. This foundation of freedom is, well, quite literally … freeing, in my opinion.

I am not Pollyannaish and I vow to never lose compassion for those who struggle. I am committed to remaining responsible for my thoughts, feelings and actions regardless of what’s occurring around me.

Just for a moment, step outside your present circumstances, whatever they may be, and answer this question. What are you most thankful for? What conditions or situations afford you the opportunity to choose the life you wish to live? What present factors serve as the foundation for your courageous actions as well as attitudes? Remind yourself of these in this upcoming week of Thanksgiving.


This post appeared originally on The Spirited Woman where Andrea is a weekly blogger. Enjoy it!