"I'm open to all God has for me"
How open are you? What if God told you to let go of what was in your hands in order to give you more? What if God wanted to see how you'd manage the current problems before you could advance to other areas of your dreams?
This post was difficult to write because it's not exactly in the form of formal prompts. It's more so an ode to getting through our problems, loss and the awful moments we don't anticipate, the circumstances and perceived obstacles to bless us, teach us something about ourselves and move us further into who we're truly meant to be.
What happens when we get off track? What happens when your path isn't clear? How do we turn life's detours and setbacks into something that can work for us? How can we take problems and come out of them stronger and better?
Talking with my father years ago, he mentioned adversity would make me stronger. I didn't want to hear that as a 23 year old woman struggling in school, money and trying to figure out how to eat. I was livid. Turns out he was right.
Who I am today has a lot to do with my upbringing and what I've thankfully and blessedly survived.
So, first thing I have to impart is you need to live to tell the tale. That's the most important thing. If it doesn't kill you, you can get through it. Much of it is up to our attitudes, how we choose to look at things, who we choose to surround us in our lives. It also means, you have to use your discernment to determine when and if someone should be in your life. I've spent a lot of precious time holding on to things and situations that didn't want to be held. Sometimes the difficulty was a way of getting me to let go. Sometimes things get difficult in order for you to let them go. Why is it we think things have to be difficult in order to be good? Let me be clear, in any endeavor worth pursuing, there's going to be difficulty and hardship. There will be things we have to get past and get over. However, the entire time spent on an endeavor, a job, a relationship, a goal, should not be on managing problems. There should be some enjoyment. Drama is no one's ultimate destination.
All of this is critical.
I was talking with Shefon who is such a bright light. I love her. And she briefly mentioned the notion of writing the key components to turning your bad into good and making lemonade when all you have is stacks of lemons. I've talked about taking the death grip off of hope before and then as I was thinking about this next set of prompts about turning what we consider the bad into good, I was thinking about how maybe sometimes God uses those situations in order to help you along with your decision making.
Maybe you're having a hard time because it's a test. Maybe you're having a hard time because there's something that needs to be developed in you. Maybe you're having a hard time because it's not the time to work on that project or have that relationship. Maybe you're having a hard time because it's time to let it go. Discomfort signals something needs to be fixed or an action needs to be taken. There's an art to handling tragedy or the things we deem as "bad" and turning it into something good and prosperous. In fact, I'd like to think it's part of that book of talents. Can you take this wreck and do something with it?
1. How do you handle loss, difficult moments and disappointment? Do you shut down and play dead? Do you go off? Do you spend money, over eat, drink, etc? I recently realized how I'm dealing with crisis differently than I used to. It took a series of crises to get me to a different point. A set of evolutionary tales to make me ask whether or not I valued myself and how I'd choose to make decisions going forward. How do you respond when something negative happens? Write down the different ways you've responded in an emergency or in a crisis (your own situation, that of a loved one). Have you evolved over time? Writing out and taking time to consider how you respond can help you understand yourself.
2. Learning how to manage our immediate response to something can change our lives. There's a time to respond immediately (life saving, quick thinking in business) and there are times when we need to take a moment before we take action. Action item: if someone says or does something this week that upsets you, take a moment before you respond. Remember, once something is said, it can't be taken back.
3. Think of something that's recently happened in your life. What can you make of it? Is there anything good that comes from it? Is there anything you can glean from it? For me, I came to the conclusion that certain people were put in my life to show me love, others were put in my life to make strong. Situations are often more about us that others.
4. Managing regret. I've written about this a few times. Regrets can come back and replay themselves over and over again. We get hung up on a certain moment, we get stuck there - replaying if we could've changed it. If we could've done better. I've done it way too many times. List two (2) major regrets. These would be journal entries. Then write about how the moment changed your life. Have you been able to help others because of that moment? Are you possibly better off and more mature because of it? I tend to be the one who's happy she has a glass. Not that it's full or half full, but that there's a glass. My moments of regret - some of them very large - have changed the way I manage the relationships in my life, regrets have changed my heart. I have to say, the regrets opened me up to being more of myself.
Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
5. Clearing space. There are times when we can't always pull our thoughts together. Mind is cluttered. Most often it might begin with something else being cluttered. Action: CLEAN. Undo that mess that's sitting somewhere in your house, your car or office. Sort through your mail. Make necessary calls. Whatever is pending. Sometimes, we cause problems by thinking things will magically improve or get better when it requires work, faith and humility on our part. Things don't get better unless we work for them to get better. We have to face the things we most don't want to face sometimes.
The day you decide to wake up your life will be waiting for you. There'll be work to do, problems to solve, but there will also be blessings to be had, moments to savor. It's yours. But in order to live our life to its fullest potential, much of it is solving problems. Time won't wait for you. Life continues on. Are you waiting for things to get better before you starting living? Are you waiting to accomplish something before you allow yourself to experience something else fully? That one part of a good life hinges on another? That maybe you think life can't be good when you're broke, sick or heartbroken? It can be good - but we have to weather the moments.