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For a long time now I have fought and struggled to be defined by my words and actions and not by those of others. Even after being open and admitting my many faults and failures many still try to put me in a box of their own making. This phenomena is not something I alone endure. In fact if many took the time to examine themselves they probably would see that they too have been judged, or diagnosed, or pigeon holed into something or someone that they are not.
     Now this is not some grand conspiracy, but just an admission of the truth that we are all constantly being defined. From birth our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, even other siblings are trying to define us or we are being defined because of them. Your dad was a preacher so that is what you will become also when the time comes.
     At birth we all came out a certain color and are classified into a certain race. This alone will mark many of us for the entirety of our lives. You may be in the minority or the majority of where you live and still you will be immediately defined by your race. In fact laws use to help define what you could do based on that fact alone. In some peoples eyes, no law is needed, they still can only define you based on conceptions they have because of your race.
     You grow up in the city or the country and that fact could define you and choose your DIRECTION. The economic level of the family you were born into could set you in one DIRECTION and you may not be able to change course.
     You will do things good and bad, and all things being equal should be rewarded or punished the same as everyone else, but we all know that is not the case. It hurt me growing up watching as people I knew, family members even, worked hard and tried to do the right thing, and someone who was lazy and lacked strong moral fiber seemed to always be ahead of them. I couldn't help but wonder if my family needed to change direction. Did they, did I, need to follow the people of this world. Were we wasting our time doing 'church stuff', spending time in our community and helping people?
     So as I have aged I, like everyone else has had to decide what DIRECTION to go in. As we live there are always people, forces, obligations even that pull us in many DIRECTIONS. These things threaten to overwhelm us, to be the force in our lives that shapes and defines who we are. We try to use things we were taught and things we learned to guide us in our daily lives. We try to make a good life for ourselves and our families and maybe become 'good people'.
     I can attest that I have had to contend with forces that try to pull me in a direction because of my race, because of my economic status, because of the family I was born into, because of where I grew up even. Expectations are ever present of who people, society, and yes even family have decided who I should be and what DIRECTION I need to go in. The media tries to tell me who I am and what I should believe. Co-workers, friends, family all pulling, sometimes together and other times in eight different DIRECTIONS. 
     I tell you today that one thing I have come to understand is that I am not alone in the struggle to determine which way to go. We all must contend with these forces, but I am here to tell you today that we all can overcome. My ups and downs, trials and blessings have taught my that there is a DIRECTION we can all go. A DIRECTION that truly defines who we are. While people, family, and society are stuck on pulling you left and pulling you right, you just need to focus on UP!!
     So I just wanted to write this to encourage anyone out there struggling with what DIRECTION they need to go in, struggling with being pulled one way or another. Focus on going UP, no matter what you do, where you come from, who you are, who people say you are, keep striving to go UP! If your'e living your daily life focused on the things of this world. If you are focused on the politics of this world, the material things of this world, I encourage you to start looking UP! All good things come from above. This existence here is only temporary, above there is eternity. We can all choose the right DIRECTION, UP!


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