Many people believe that we end up being products of society. You can view yourself as a product of your family, your economic demographic, your generation or even your body type. In their panic to make sense of life, people will categorize you to put themselves at ease. And the repercussions of this are devastating. It’s easy to identify generational patterns – from addictions to mindsets. Everyone can look at where they have come from, what they have done – and tied to the sense of duty to family, you can end up being a lesser version of the previous generation.
In a faithless world, the only way out would be to fight to be ‘self made’. But that also leads to living fixated on proving your original status quo wrong, which is just another way of living under the same oppression. That’s not what God wants.
In the Bible Joshua makes the statement:
“but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
As young people in Africa, I believe that this kind of decision is more powerful than ever. The world is changing extremely quickly and there is so much pain and injustice that haunts our past. But instead of living in the bitterness of our past, I know God can empower us to make the constructive decision to stand up and say, “this may be where I come from, this may be what happened, this may be what my family says, but AS FOR ME things will be different.”
I know many people who have made such a decision – drawn the line in the sand and have decided to change the narrative of their legacy. It’s a proactive, selfless response to a passive, self-pitying mindset. But without God, this decision could ruin your life. Stress, drive, self-righteousness and frustration will take over and make you end up despising where you came from. That’s not what God wants. He does not want you to despise your origin.
“Do not despise the day of small BEGINNINGS.” – Zechariah 4:10
Where you began has value to where you’re going. It’s just a factor of learning from the past instead of dredging it up and living in the emotion of it. What would happen if today you drew a line in the sand and said, “AS FOR ME, my financial situation is going to look different.” Or, “AS FOR ME I will choose to forgive and build my own life instead of judging others.”
Please hear me – this might seem like a betrayal of family or culture, but in truth it is actually a celebration of both. Children have the ability to inspire their parents – to show them what is actually possible outside the bounds of how they have had to live and think. But in the end the question is this: do you value the future more than the past?
I know in many traditional contexts, the past is honored with huge reverence in belief that that will ensure a good future. I will respect that cultural belief, but I have seen a different result. We need to value the future generations more than what has happened in the past. If you ask the question, “What will make my children’s life better” rather than, “what would please my family now”, you will be willing to make the right decision – even if it is much harder than the alternative.
You might say that this is too much to ask. You might think you have tried for too long and haven’t seen anything as a result. You might be burnt out and tired – having tried to change your life in your own effort. I want to encourage you to look to God. He is the only one that can truly transform and bring lasting change to your life. Yes, it includes you doing your part. But God takes everything you do and blesses it with so much more. If you would like to know how a personal relationship with God sets you free from your past and empowers you to live your best life, click on the link below.
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