Mother nature must be having a good old laugh at my expense, as I was just commenting with my family how blessed we have been to have had such an incredibly mild winter so far. Well things have certainly changed, and not for the better I am afraid. So how is everyone keeping warm these days especially with these record setting, bone chilling, winter winds we are experiencing? No thanks is what I say! I am a sit by the fire, hot chocolate type of girl. Weather like this just make you want to hide away and not face the world, but unfortunately that is not an option.
Feeling the need to hide from circumstances and issues is a common trend. Life can get a little too hectic and stressful for all of us at times and the urgent need to escape sets in. Many people I have worked with over the years as a counselor would share their creative solutions in their attempts to outrun and hide from their circumstances. They would change cities, change jobs, get a new spouse, lose weight, have a drink, adopt healthy or unhealthy habits, or whatever they could do to run from whatever was bothering them. They were sure this would be the change they needed to finally overcome their problems. Although these types of behaviours gave some temporary relief, the problems were still there loud and proud at the end of the day. As the cliché sadly confirms, you can run but you can't hide. The issues don't go away from ignoring them, but actually much to our dismay, they grow bigger.
It is hard to admit when we have an situation that needs addressing at times. I am so happy to see movements like Bell Let's Talk that encourages open and honest dialogue about personal struggles. I remember hearing the quote "we are only as sick as our secrets" and that is spot on. We have had a great series at our church on our thought life. Many great points and take aways were present each week of this motivating and practical series. One recent point was how what we imagine is often so much more stressful than what the reality is. We envision a difficult situation, an awkward conversation or a disastrous scenario and that fear keeps us stuck, unable to move forward into problem solving mode. Delaying decisions does not make them any easier, but instead just makes us more stressed. It is true that some decisions are harder than others and need more time to process, but there are often many that could be decided more quickly if we were just open and honest with ourselves.
Recently I made an important decision to have a surgery on my foot that I have been putting off literally for years. A painful bunion had become too difficult to continue to ignore. I was scared to have surgery. I felt it was not the right time. I would have to be off work. I would be laid up for quite some time. I could think of so many reasons why I could just let it go and continue on as usual. The problem was though, no matter what type of footwear I wore, my legs and feet would ache at the end of the day and my mobility was being compromised. I felt like I was old beyond my years and knew it was time to get it done. The problem had to be addressed, not tolerated. I am in the recovery process now and am coming along. It was difficult and painful. I had it done over the Christmas season. I am off work and laid up, but it is for the best. I will come out a better, stronger, more energetic and active person in the end. The temporary pain was for a greater long term gain and that is what I keep focusing on.
Self care is becoming more in the forefront. We are all living busy lifestyles where we give to others on a daily basis. It is easy to lose sight of ourselves and what we need to do to improve. So rather than hiding our heads in the sand when the times get tough, how do we move from fear to action? Here are some action steps you can start implementing today.
Surround yourself with good, positive, life affirming people who add value to your life. Talk to people who have faced adversity and have come out better people for it. Seek their advice and be honest about your struggles. Give your concerns a voice. You will be surprised how willing people are to love you wholeheartedly flaws and all. Know that you are not alone and others want to be there for you and support you. Look at people who are succeeding despite their struggles and use them as role models and mentors. You can do it too!
Be open to change. Know that your situation can change for the better. Some people remain in their troubled state because they feel that their problems are unsolvable. There is nothing further from the truth. You are not the exception. There is a better life ahead for you if you seek it. It starts with a willingness to believe this is even a possibility.
Be patient. Like anything worth waiting for, positive change takes time. Go easy on yourself and know that every step in the right direction puts you just a little bit closer to your goal than yesterday.
Seek God in prayer. The Bible says that God is our refuge and our strength, a very present help in times of trouble. Go to God with all your problems big and small. Ask him for wisdom. Ask him for peace and direction. Ask him to give you a vision of how awesome your life can be if you are willing to embrace positive, life giving change. If prayer is new for you, give it a try. There is no right or wrong way to pray. God is there for all of us if we desire a relationship with him.
It may be cold outside my friends but we can be warm inside as we take steps to move forward, stop hiding, get talking and step into the light. We have just begun a new year. Perhaps 2018 was your best or your worst year yet. I don't know. What I do know is though, that there is a better life out there for you if you are are willing to take the first step and believe it.
Until next time,
1 Peter 5:7 ~ Cast all your care upon him because he cares for you.
Little Lesson Learned: When life gets hard, make a plan, not an escape route.
Copyright: littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2019