“Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.” Hosea 14:9

There is this strange concept in life- experiencing the same lesson over and over again, and the opportunity we have each time to make a different decision or to choose the familiar, well-worn path that produces the same results as the last time.

You know your path.

Maybe it’s allowing others to repeatedly use you as a doormat. Or perhaps it’s the fear, so you never take a step outside of your comfort zone. Maybe it’s refusing to take responsibility for the repeated wrong turns, blame-shifting instead of owning your part, or being drawn to the same dysfunction.

Every few months, I find myself looking backward to think forward.

Time makes us older, but not necessarily wiser – unless we allow ourselves to dig deep and 33418_holding_compass_centerevaluate our attitudes, choices, and behaviors. Why do you stay in that toxic relationship? Why do you keep overextending yourself? Why are you stuck in a draining work environment? Why don’t you stand up for yourself in moments when others assert manipulative authority over you?

And once we’ve cleaned ourselves up and decided we’re ready to be stronger, why do the same situations and types of people keep appearing on our journey?

I think it’s because we’re given chances. I believe it’s a way for us to realize that we aren’t dictated by our past, and our future is still unwritten. But when we allow our past decisions to cripple us, we miss out on that surprising strength and satisfaction that comes from doing things differently this time around.

Rejecting toxicity.

Setting boundaries.

Making and reaching realistic goals.

Graciously carrying yourself as someone to be respected.

And there is nothing more satisfying than to see the same story conclude with a different outcome. To know that you alone have the power to make or break your journey. Victims blame and carry the weight of their past. But victors rise up from adversity and walk in freedom. True strength comes from quitting the cycle and receiving the consequential reward.

As Albert Einstein supposedly said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.” And personally, I’m choosing to forget what’s behind and press on toward what’s ahead- because that’s where the blessings are. Not in expecting a different ending to the story by choosing the same path. I’ve wasted too much of my past in the cycle, and I believe there is honestly only one way to change: we choose wisdom and discernment, or we choose to be blown around by the wind.