My friend and sister in Christ, Joanne has a wonderful way of encouraging all of us to know that what we do about our circumstances, how we respond to them is a matter of choice. She is a wise woman. Misery lives in that dark, soul-less place where our lives are justified only in terms of the things that others or circumstances "made us do."
Portia Nelson's little parable, There's A Hole In My Sidewalk, adds to Joanne's wisdom. Go ahead! The video is only three minutes long.
Learning to make a real choice, if you believe that Portia's parable is accurate, is a process.
Too many of us think that we will wake up tomorrow and just begin to make new choices, with no reflection, no assistance (from God, for instance), and without making a mistake.
We could all use a little encouragement and good orderly direction from Portia Nelson. Deciding to do something different may be a step in the right direction, but most of the time it is only a step toward a new mistake, and if we are blessed and attentive, we will have the privilege to learn from that mistake, until one day we make a REALLY different decision.
All the not-so-innocent bystanders in our lives will inevitably stay, "Yeah, but she has it so easy. She doesn't have the problems I have."
No kidding. Life tends to get easier, and our circumstances become notably different than those of the people around us, once we learn the art of learning from our mistakes.
In the meantime, be forgiving of your mistakes. Don't take them personally. Like a musician with great potential, you can hear the way your life is supposed to be sounding, and it is discouraging to hear how far you are from making your life sound like that. Keep working at it. Make a project of it. Expect to make bad decisions, but resolve, right now, never to lose the lessons that are in your mistakes. And if I may say so, try surrendering your efforts to God's loving care. I think that may make the greatest difference of all.