“For I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power.” Philippians 4:13
Today is June 6th. On this day, 76 years ago, the invasion of Normandy took place, an event which ultimately signaled the defeat of Nazi Germany. The bravery of the soldiers, sailors, and airmen that participated in that invasion should never be forgotten, so today I begin the reflection with that remembrance. Just pause and offer a prayer of thanks to honor the participants, as well as the fallen of that day…
The opportunities for making heroic, strong decisions, such as ones in the hands of commanders of D-Day are rare. Most of us are not in the position to make dramatic decisions that affect the lives of thousands, even millions of people. But we are always in the practice of making small decisions which affect us as well as those around us.
So often, I see in my clients some hindering mindsets that have been ingrained early in life. Some have not had confidence instilled in them, or some were even abused physically or emotionally, and never gained the identity of seeing themselves as successful.
There is the story about chaining elephants that is instructive. One could never chain a full grown elephant to a stake in the ground. The huge, powerful animal would easily break the chain and go free. However, if an elephant, as a baby, is chained, even with a relatively small chain, he will learn that he cannot break free. The chafing of the chain will also reinforce the futility of the struggle, and the baby elephant will accept his fate, and just quit trying to escape.
As the elephant grows into maturity and strength, he could easily break free of his bonds- but he doesn’t try. He has learned that he is shackled, and accepts his fate and the limited territory to which he has been held since infancy.
Now, chaining elephants is a terrible thing and it should never be practiced, but the point is illustrative. Sometimes we learn as children that we are unable to succeed at something, so we simply stop trying. Even when we are older, and have gained skills, knowledge, wisdom, we feel restrained by past ingrained notions of inability to move forward, and we stop trying new, challenging things.
In counseling, we use the phrase, “Change one thing, change everything”. If we can muster the strength and courage to change one thing, we can change everything.
Prayer: Father thank you for the gift of free will, and the ability to decide. Give us wisdom and courage in doing so, Amen.