The photo below was taken at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. It was a windy, rainy, brisk June day…and standing on top of this cliff made me think about life, change, and our unknown future. It made me think about how things are unpredictable and can sometimes leave us standing up against stormy circumstances. The question is. How will we face it? How will we enter in to the mystery? You have the choice to let change create feelings that will run your life …or…you can let it change you for the better. It isn’t easy…and the process is challenging…but it is possible.
Change can be scary.
There is nothing more comforting than having life move along the way you had hoped, planned or dreamed. But change is inevitable and whether for the good or the bad it happens and we can’t stop it. It creates discomfort and anxiety. Messes with our routine, and causes stress.
In our lives we sometimes willingly or unwillingly leave that warm fuzzy place called our
“comfort zone”…and when that happens…we become vulnerable.
It is in these moments of change and during these season’s of life that we experience growth. Whether it be personally, as a couple, or as a family unit…change has the ability to create new possibilities and invites new doors to open. Although it is easier said than done…we can use change to acknowledge our human potential for growth and face it fearlessly…head on.
I personally struggle with change. I love control…(don’t we all?) and when life gets a little topsy turvy I tend to cave in a little. I get fearful of whats to come, worried I will disappoint people, and scared the experience may not amount to what I hoped it would be. I sometimes live life in fear…and what a terrible place to be, when life is so short and our time too precious. But the first step is recognizing it and knowing you can do something about it.
Here are some things I have been doing personally to work through un-invited change and the challenges of fear:
For me prayer is a key piece to really grounding myself and the feelings that are ravaging my mind and heart. I sometimes lose sight of prayer and meditation because I am so wrapped up in the details of “figuring life out” that I overlook the most important piece of my being. I turn to God for guidance, I turn to His word for strength. This may look differently for everyone…and that is OK. Everyone is spiritual…some find it by hiking through the woods, reading a devotional, listening or playing music…and the list goes on. Whatever it is that makes you feel connected spiritually…GO there…DAILY….and multiple times a day if you need to.
2) Family & Friends
Surround yourself with family and friends. The important thing here is to really categorize the people you consider friends…chances are you can only count your TRUE friends on one hand (and if you can do that…you are lucky). Sometimes I blur the lines between acquaintances and “friends”. And if your like me and you wear your heart on your sleeve this can be a dangerous situation. So stick close to the people who have your best interest in mind and can help you genuinely. You know who these people are. If you don’t have a friend like this…email me (seriously).
3) Think Positively
Closely linked to prayer and meditation is this idea of being in a positive mindset. The trick here is to do it INTENTIONALLY. When you feel negative thoughts creeping in to your head and heart…address it quickly and then intentionally refocus on all you are blessed with. Remember that life is full of blessings…and I can bet that you have plenty to be thankful for. Sometimes we lose sight of our blessings when life takes a turn. We can get so wrapped up in our sorrow and anxiety that we forget that we are blessed beyond measure. If you have a hard time doing this, make a list of all of the things you are blessed with. Don’t stop at at just 5 or 10…make this list as long as you can…from the biggest blessing and work your way down…put it in your purse or in a safe spot and take it out to read through when you have overwhelming feelings of negativity. Chase those unneeded thoughts right out of your beautiful head and heart!!
You don’t have to be a great writer to own a journal and use it. Jotting down inspirational quotes, or thoughts you are having is a great way to self reflect. Try to do this at quiet times during the day…for me it might be after my prayer time…or just before bed. It doesn’t have to be a lengthy journaling session… spend 10-15 minutes getting your thoughts out. You can come back to these journal entries over time and see how far you have come…there is nothing like going back a month later and reading your entries to realize “WOW, life sure has gotten a lot better…what was I ever worried about?” Personal growth happens and we seldom realize it. We are so worried about what is to come…that sometimes looking at what has happened…and where you have come from…gives you encouragement and hope for the future.
Get involved! Whether it is volunteering at an animal shelter, feeding the homeless, or raking an elderly persons yard…volunteering can be a great thing to fall back on when you find yourself sitting and thinking to much or dwelling on your situation. It is important to be involved…sometimes giving to others can be a great way to get your mind off of your own circumstances…sometimes we make life so much about US that we rarely see how we can positively impact others. When we are in a a less than comfortable time in our lives we can internalize everything…volunteering puts things in to perspective and offers us a chance to see how we can make a difference.
I am sure there are plenty of other ways you can address stress from change in your life. These are just a handful of things I find to be helpful. Please leave any ideas you have in the comment box below: