Josh Irby

Live from Sarajevo

What to do when you realize you are not who you want to be

This weekend I am speaking to a group of college students about Personal Development Plans and Character Development. This post came out of my preparation today. 

reflections (A) Camil Tulcan via Compfight

If one morning you pass a mirror and don’t recognize the face you see.
If a haze of gloom descends as you realize, you are not who you wanted to be.

If lines of disappointment crowd your brow and distant dreams seem hopelessly lost.
If you realize you are not who you hoped to be.

If sadness rises from your gut, becomes a moan and threatens to escape your lips.
If you begin to mourn something never even born.


It is not too late.

Breathe deeply and feel life fill your chest. Remember: As long as you have breath, change is possible.

Listen to the rhythmic thumping of your heart.  Remember: As long as your heart beats, change is possible.

Clasp your fists and shift your feet. Remember: As long as you can move, change is possible.

Choose to move forward.

Move towards the exposed wound, towards the shame, towards the failure. Dive in with your whole being. Embrace your imperfection but do not accept it. Draw it into the light and expose it for all its deformity.

Call it by its real name.

Then make a plan to change.

Pull out the life map and chart a new course. Head full speed into the brush and blaze a new trail. Let the thorns tear at your skin and your legs glow red and warm. The external wounds show that something is fighting to get out.

There is no birth without pain.

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through the experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved. (Helen Keller)

Move into the pain.

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

It is your choice.

Don’t blame controlling parents or corrupt governments or circumstantial realities.
Don’t squander the God-gift of each day.
Don’t settle for hopeless despair.

Move forward.

Because, if you do:

Years later, you will pass a mirror and not recognize the face you see.
The light of joy will descend as you realize, you are not who you used to be.

A smile will crease your cheeks and distant dreams appear too small.
You have changed into someone you never thought you could be.

What do you do when you see things you want to change in yourself? Let me know in the comments.

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