Sometimes you have to see something to believe it! I recently watched an episode of one of my favorite HGTV shows, “For Rent.” The guest on the show was David, a 6-foot-plus gentleman looking for a new home. David lived in a basement apartment where he literally needed to bend his neck to shower, to cook—sometimes just to get across the room. He was looking for a place where he could stand tall. I watched and wondered why anyone would choose to live like that. How could you live in a place where you can’t even stand up straight?
Then came the answer. David’s short ex-girlfriend used to live with him and loved the apartment. The space was perfectly comfortable for her and she never had to compromise at all. Once the relationship ended, she moved out and on, leaving David in an apartment that was literally causing him physical pain. Out loud I mused, “Who does that? It’s so stupid.”
But the truth is that we’ve all done it at some point in our lives. We may not have lived in a physical space that wasn’t right for us…but we’ve lived in, or accepted, situations that didn’t fit. In those moments, someone else’s acceptance meant more to us than our own. Like David, we didn’t realize that in the end, we would be the one who suffered most.
No matter how long, life is too short to lose sight of what you need and value. I learned three things while watching David on HGTV that you need to know as you prepare to make your next move. Whether the move is to a new city, a new apartment, a new relationship or a new job, you must:
Know your ceiling: In all of your life’s situations, you have to be able to stand up tall. In tough and lonely times, it can be easy to value security more than fulfillment, happiness and growth. We tell ourselves that security is the most important thing, because it puts food on the table and clothes on our back. We convince ourselves that the known represents safety. But the truth is that the known is not necessarily safer or better. In fact, it is what you know that could very well be standing in between you and the next great move of God in your life. Security is nothing more than the things we’ve allowed ourselves to be comfortable with and have convinced ourselves that we can control. We only have to look at the headlines and our own past to know that security is an illusion.
If we can’t stand tall at a job, in a relationship or anywhere else in life—there is a problem. You can’t allow anyone or anything to diminish your capacity to walk with the confidence of knowing you are God ‘s creation.
Know your floor: In life it is important to know where you stand and what you’re standing on. Most of us convince ourselves that we are standing on facts and the way things are, but most often we are standing on our fears. As believers, our floor is always His Word. We can never allow the appearance of a situation to determine where we will place our hope and confidence. As believers, there is always a relationship between our faith and our facts. Our facts must be acknowledged, but always through the lenses of our faith.
Know the score: David didn’t know the score when he signed a lease for that basement apartment. He thought he was moving in with someone who loved him. But the truth is he was moving in with someone who cared more about her comforts than anything else. There’s no way in the world someone you love encourages you to live in a way that compromises and demeans you. You need to know who has your best interest at heart. You have to be willing to move on and let go of those who don’t. Every day, the actions people take towards you show you their heart. Don’t romanticize intentions or make excuses. As Maya Angelou put it, “When people show you who they are…believe them!”
Live it! Examine your life and find the area(s) where you aren’t standing tall. You’ll know what they are because it is where you know you aren’t living up to your full potential. If you want to move forward, identify your ceiling, floor and be honest about the score.