It’s my favorite line from the Oscar-nominated film 12 Years a Slave. The movie chronicles a slice of life for Solomon Northup, a free man who was lured from his home and subsequently sold into slavery.
As you can imagine, he fights his forced servitude with a vengeance. For unlike those who’ve grown up in captivity he understands that his life is his own, and it is his right to be free.
Unfortunately, his captors don’t agree. They turn to violence to try to break his will. In an attempt to save Solomon’s life, the other slaves beg of him to try to get along and be quiet so that he can survive. His passionate response, in the midst of horrific circumstances, is what blows me away – I don’t want to survive. I want to live.
It’s a nuance so many of us miss – the difference in living and merely being alive. Not because we’re slaves, but rather because we don’t recognize that we are free. Instead we live within the confines of a prison of our own making, as we seek to achieve the “THE dream” rather than pursuing a life of our own dreams.
I saw this first hand last summer. I was attending a women’s conference and two dynamic women had just finished speaking about pursuing your passions. A young woman stood up to ask them a question, what do you do when the shoes you’re wearing are just too small? I can’t remember how the speakers answered because what was screaming in my head was – TAKE THEM OFF!!!
Sometimes we know it’s time for more, but for the life of us cannot figure out how to take the first step. We crave that moment of transcendence – when we go from merely being alive to really living, but for whatever reason something holds us back.
I found myself at that very crossroads in my own life just two years ago. When I left a job I loved with no real plan for what to do next, I had to make a choice. Do I do what I’ve always done, or do I step out on faith and pursue the life of my dreams?
I vacillated for months, but finally surrendered to what God was depositing in my spirit. Why did it take so long to make the choice? Fear. Fear of failure, fear of going outside my comfort zone, fear of not having enough money to meet my needs – you name it I felt it. And truth be told, some days I still feel it.
It’s not because I don’t trust God. No, his track record is perfect. It’s mine that’s a little sketchy. You see I know me – my struggles, shames, and secrets – and given what I know about me, there are many days when I have to ask, God what were you thinking when you called on me?!?
It’s that very notion – that we are not enough – that keeps us in our too small low self-esteem shoes. We know God’s got his part. It’s our selves we’re concerned about. So instead of shedding what we’ve outgrown we force ourselves into small spaces so that we maintain our illusion of bigness.
But you know the trouble with illusions? They never last. Our temporary satisfaction eventually gives way to discontent as our soul longs to be set free. For it knows that we are not meant to survive. We are meant to live – fully, completely and abundantly!
I’ll admit, for me this has been a journey. I wish I could say that when we decide to take a leap of faith life gets easier. Truth is it’s like setting off on a long walk on a foggy day. You sort of know where you’re headed, but you can only see as far as the next step. It’s confusing and that self-doubt can come back pretty quick.
That’s why I write daily affirmations. They’re loving reminders that God has already given me everything I need to succeed. I don’t have to prove to myself I’m worthy. I just have to trust Him, and because He said I’m worthy – I believe it.
Below are the first 31 affirmations I wrote. Try meditating on one each day, and see what a difference a month can make. I pray they encourage you as they did me. To embrace a life of freedom, to trust God enough to courageously answer His call, and to every day learn to love you a little more.
Drop me a line and let me know which resonate with you. Better yet, add another to our list. Loving on Me as I Love You! Hugs and Blessings ❤
I am enough
I am a beloved Child of God
I am God’s masterpiece
I am whole and complete by myself
I am the CEO of me
I am worthy of my own forgiveness
I am worthy to love and be loved
I am expecting a generous harvest.
I am not confined or defined by my past.
I am valuable because of who and whose I am.
I am uniquely designed
I am more than I can measure
I am not alone
I choose my path even when I can’t change my circumstances
I choose to embrace abundance
I choose to be happy
I choose an attitude of gratitude
I choose freedom
I choose to believe in my dreams
I choose to trust God
I choose to be a light bearer and a peacemaker
I choose to let go, and leave the past behind
I choose to love others
I choose life abundantly
I have purpose, passion and a plan for my life
I have value outside of my comfort zone
I have unlimited opportunity
I have everything I need to take the next step
I have the courage to move forward without having all the answers
I have grit, gumption, perseverance, and determination
I have the victory