Throughout our lives, when presented with challenges or placed in tough circumstances, we are repeatedly given opportunities to make a decision. Many of these decisions aren't easy ones.  And many times, what we decide can have a huge impact on how the way our lives play out.  After sustaining my traumatic brain injury, I was at the crossroads of one of these difficult, life-altering decisions.

It was a decision my doctors told me I would have to make, and at the time, it didn't seem like that big of one.  I had to choose whether to survive or thrive.  I always thought they, essentially, meant the same thing.  I never realized the dramatic difference between the two until I pulled out a dictionary and looked up their definitions.  (Okay, if I am being completely honest, I went to!)

To survive means to remain in existence.  To thrive means to grow and progress despite or because of circumstances.   Following my severe TBI, I was fortunate to have the ability to make my own decisions.  Once I grasped the stark contrast between the two, I knew the one I chose would have enormous implications on my life.   I picked the latter and this turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made!

I often ask myself "What does it mean to thrive in my current situation?"  To be honest, I am not exactly sure what this all entails but I am committed to figuring it out.   So far, I have figured out that part of thriving includes focusing on what I still have and what I have been given.  I think it also includes being the best husband, father, and friend I can be.  And it includes using my new strengths and new passions to share Jesus with others.  

Choosing to thrive, and not simply survive, is a decision I must make daily.   This is where I see similarities with thriving and my new outlook on following Jesus.  I now understand that following Jesus is a daily decision.  I must choose every day whether to live for Him or myself.

Neither deciding to thrive or following Jesus can be something I choose one day and forget the next.    Both require a steadfast and daily commitment to making the right choice.  And the closer I can get to making the right ones everyday, the closer I will be to true happiness and fulfillment.   

I am not going to pretend I have all the answers on how to thrive with a brain injury.  But I know it is possible.  And I know that for me it is only possible when Jesus, and not me, is at the center of my life.