“But I don’t have a choice. I’m stuck!”
Being stuck is not the same as having no choices. Being stuck simply means that you are torn between two difficult choices. You know the right thing to do, but it is difficult to execute that decision to a point where you feel stuck. It can feel as if you don’t have a choice.
Here’s the thing: A difficult choice is still a choice.
This isn’t to say that your experience is invalid and the painful feeling you are feeling is not real. They are valid and real, but they don’t erase the simple truth that you still have a choice. For a lot of us, this is hard to hear because it is easier to accept that we don’t have a choice than to accept that we are afraid of making a choice.
“You don’t understand me. I don’t have a choice!”
Here is something to think about: Saying that and believing that is also a choice. You choose to accept the belief that you don’t have a choice and you have drilled that belief so deep in your mind that you start to even accept it as reality. No wonder it is hard to hear this simple truth: You do have a choice.
Does knowing that will automatically change your condition? Of course not! This isn’t magic, this is real life. But, knowing that will give you the tool you need to initiate the change you want. That tool is power. You have the power to control your choices, no matter how hard.
Believing in the simple truth that you have choices and you are responsible for your choices is the single most powerful thing you can hold on to in your life. How can I say that with absolute confidence? Because that is the single most important criterion upon which Allah will judge you by.
Think about it. When you stand in front of Allah, He won’t ask you about what people did to you, or about how hard your life is, or about why the results didn’t go your way. He will ask you about what do you choose to do with all the experiences He gave you.
He will ask you and I about our choices.
Life is tough, and it is tough by design. Not to torture you, but to test you and to see what choices you make in the face of difficulties. The Prophets were the clearest manifestation of this. If you want to talk about a difficult life, look no further than the Prophets.
Any difficulty you can think of, they had it all. What made them great was their choices; how they choose to deal with their given situations, how they choose to think about their difficulties, and how they choose to act to respond to adversities.
“They’re the Prophets! They’re different!”
Of course they are. But that is no excuse to not look at them for inspiration. Besides, Allah sent them to us as examples. In other words, one of their main role is to show us the realistic way to live. You can’t call yourself an example if nobody is able to follow your footsteps.
The question now is, whose footsteps you choose to follow?
That’s your choice.