Whether you have kids or not, how you handle your life and make decisions surrounding your finances are two of the most important things you will navigate in your life. There are a lot of well-intentioned people in the world who make a living off telling you that the situation you’re in isn’t your fault and that if only the government would change or the rules would change, then you could start doing well.
That’s not how life works.
It is true that there is a small segment of people who get burned by the rule book, but even those people have an opportunity to break though that glass ceiling and do something great.
What I have learned is that no matter who you are, there is always a chance to do something better with your life. Last year, I met a young man who was 20 years old and had a host of opportunities in front of him. However, he couldn’t see it because he was buried in what his “friends”, family, and society told him his options were.
See, we are a product of our surroundings and sometimes that’s a bad thing. People who grew up and didn’t accomplish much will usually spread that poor message to those around them and sometimes people listen. They push blame on others, ask what the government or the state or their neighbor is going to do for them and they never think to ask what they can do for others.
That type of behavior spreads like cancer.
This young man saw me at church and wanted to talk to me about what he could do to stop the habits that he had picked up from those around him. We spoke for hours, several times, about his choices and the one consistent thing I told him was that he was the author of his own life, no one else. It was his choice as to how he would turn out and what he would become.
He listened and followed his instincts. He quit drugs and alcohol and decided to pursue his passion. In less than two weeks he moved out of the state and began working at a job that he was truly passionate about, but was always laughed at for.
This kid beat his environment and rose above it.
I tell you that story for two reasons. First, it shows us that no matter what your circumstances are, there is always a chance to do well. And second, that you have a fundamental opportunity in front of you to be that light to someone else who may feel like they are out of hope and options. Now it is possible that someone else may have spoken into this young man’s life but had I not, who knows what would have happened. That is not a pat on the back for me, but more of an example on how inaction is still an action.
For those of you who follow scripture, James, the brother of Jesus, wrote something very powerful that I read again just today: “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them” (James 4:17, NIV).
There is a whole lot of good that we can do in this world but if we choose to stand by while people with good potential get wasted by their surroundings, then we will have a tremendous burden on our shoulders as we get older.
You can either be selfish or selfless, the choice is solely up to you. The former will promulgate an ongoing system of people getting eaten alive in their own poor environments. The latter will rescue people from where they are at and show them that there is hope. That, my friends, is something worth fighting for.
It’s your call. It always has been.