It’s February 2015 and 6 months since my first and last blog post. Since relocating my family, life and business, it has been a whirlwind of change to say the least. And although most of the change has been really good, it has still been really hard and at times, very stressful. In general, I personally am usually okay with change. In fact, I like to create change! But I also REALLY like to be in control of it! Like anything in life, however, we are often not in control of the circumstances or the details that can arise. What we are in charge of is ourselves and how we will react or respond to any given situation.
“If we could control ourselves all day long, THAT would be a really good day!” – Danny Silk, author of Loving Our Kids On Purpose
Some transitions in life can be short like the eyeglasses with transition lenses that people wear that adjust to when they are outside in the sun or indoors. And then there are the long ones… like a woman in labor:
Labor can take hours and hours and hours. The contractions get increasingly stronger and closer together as the labor progresses. Then there comes a point when the body kicks in and says its time to push. There is no going back. This baby is coming! A contraction comes and squeezes hard while the mother pushes. After a brief period of time, the contraction subsides and the pushing stops. But there is no baby yet. Now you rest. You wait. Catch your breath until the next contraction. Then again, here comes the contraction and the muscles squeeze hard and you push and (sometimes scream at this point!) and then again, you get a break. This goes on for a varied amount of time. Push and wait. Push and wait. Very exhausting. At some point, the baby’s head is seen and then eventually the whole baby arrives! And then there is joy!
When you can know something really good is going to come out of any kind of pain/suffering/difficulty, you will have an incredible amount of strength, energy and perseverance to give birth to it. The problem is, oftentimes, when we undergo difficulties, we are not always mindful of what good will be coming and we often get into a mindset that even doubts that anything good can come from it because it is so painful. However, although transitions and change can be hard, with the right perspective it can be an incredible journey in discovery. In any given situation, your mindset will affect the outcome. What you think, you will believe. What you see, you will receive. Perception is everything.
Here are 3 key factors in adjusting to any change in your life:
When you KNOW God is good all the time and that there is no evil in Him, then your heart will not be offended with Him when bad things happen. You will know that He is for you and not against you (Romans 8:31) That He has good plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11) And that whatever difficulty may come your way, He will see you through it to the very end. (Phillipians 1:6). You will never be alone. (Joshua 1:9) His heart for you abounds with loving thoughts that would outnumber the sand (Psalms 139:17-18).
Hope is not “wishful thinking”. True hope is defined as “a confident expectation of good things coming” or “a happy certainty”. When you are expecting something good, you will eventually see it. It may take awhile. But it will be there. And once you have been through something hard and survived, you gain some things. You grow. You mature. You strengthen. And the next time something difficult comes along, you can look back to the list of things you overcame and have HOPE, confidently knowing that something good will come from this experience also.
Know that you are loved. Deeply and absolutely loved. You are loved by your Creator, Father, and Friend. And your only job in the world is to be the target of His love. Know that you are loved by others and seek out those relationships that are healthy, safe, wise and fulfilling. Receive love first and then give some away. Go express love to people you care deeply about. Tell them. Show them. Hug them. Connect with them. You were not meant to walk through the life alone. You were meant to have all kinds of relationships and all levels of love. Life will never be more fulfilling than to feel deeply loved and to love someone deeply in return.
I know this isn’t a “practical” to do list…but it is a principled to do list. Your mindset or perspective will effect how any transition will affect you. Don’t get me wrong. You will feel pain. You will sometimes suffer. You will be afraid, You will be angry. You will FEEL any and all emotions at times. You may DO any number of things to act out in those emotions, good and bad, or work hard to control the people or situation as best you can. But at the end of the day, your mindset will determine how you will process those feelings and how you can best do something or do nothing and rest. Sometimes you just have to surrender. Surrender doesn’t always mean you lose. Surrendering to God means you win by letting God be in charge.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)