“See, today I have set before you life and prosperity, and death and disaster.
What I am commanding you today is to love the Lord your God,
to walk in His ways…Then the Lord your God will bless you...” 
from Deut 30:15-16 (MEV)

In the Himalayas lived an old wise man.

One day a boy in the village planned to fool the sage and discredit him. The kid would ask if the bird he hid in his cupped hands was alive or dead. If his elder were to say It’s alive, the boy would crush it; if he said the bird was dead, the boy would release it into the air. The wise man would be wrong either way.

“Old man, old man…is the bird in my hand dead or alive?”

Pausing for a moment, he turned to the boy and answered, “The bird is as you choose it to be; the decision is in your hands.”

There are many versions of this tale, but the meaning stays true: It’s up to you.

I agree that it’s wise to ask a trusted friend or leader for advice, especially concerning major decisions. But even with all of the resources and tools, unless we take those first steps, we will never make it to the finish line. And nobody can run your race for you.

It is your life. It is you who will make the ultimate decisions, and it will have to be you that makes the character changes and takes the necessary steps to reach those goals.

As we near the end of the year, we look back at our good intentions for 2017 and the goals that died on the vine. We blame circumstances, unexpected obstacles, finances. Will you let the setbacks of the past year determine how you enter the next?

You won’t get a do-over on 2017, but you have a powerful weapon going forward. Choice. Like the boy with the bird, you decide the fate of the dreams and gifts God has placed in your hands. Will you crush them or will you choose to take the steps to see them soar?

It’s up to you.

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