Monday, May 9, 2011

Mental Vitamins: Unstuck

Change is inevitable. We try so hard to resist change but it always seems to say, "Ready or not, here I come!". So what is it about change that we fear so much? Perhaps the unknown that lies on the other side of that change or maybe certain changes will require more from us and we're too lazy and/or don't want to risk our comfort? Whatever the reason, resistance to change just creates more stress, sleeplessness and discomfort. Our attitude towards change can make a huge difference in how change can effect us. So here are some steps you can take to help you handle transitions:

1.) Stop acting like a victim.  Stop expecting others to rescue you, feel sorry for you, or reduce your stress levels. Get behind the wheel of your own life! You're not helpless, and your situation is not hopeless. God's word promises us that we "can do everything with the help of Christ" (Philippians 4:13)

2.) Stop refusing to change. Instead of banging your head against the wall of reality, invest your efforts into changing what you can - like your attitude and your approach. None of us are perfect so if we never accept the need for change then we are declaring our lives perfect as is and only a fool would make such a claim. Evaluate your attitude. Usually it is the first thing in need of change. (Philippians 2:1-5)

3.) Learn to adapt. When the music changes, it's time to learn some new dance moves. You may not like the changes but you can learn to flow with them. The only stabilizing influence in a constantly-changing world is Christ. We have to learn to trust in Him instead of struggling to make sure life always happens on our terms. There are no problems that we will face that our God is not bigger still. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, Psalm 34:8, Proverbs 18:10) He not only wants what is best for us, but He knows what is best for us. (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28, Isaiah 40:31)

4.) Choose your battles wisely. Do you instinctively give into fear and oppose change, even when it might benefit you? Do you keep throwing yourself across the tracks, hoping to stop the freight train of reality? Waging war on too many fronts always results in fatigue and defeat, so choose battles big enough to matter.

5.) Welcome new experiences. If you're moving forward in life, your surroundings will be constantly changing. If they're not, then you're going in circles. Clinging to comfort just buys you comfort for today at the expense of tomorrow. Draw from God's grace and know that if He leads you to it....He will lead you through it. (Psalm 34:19)

We all want to live stress free without having to work at it, but it simply can't be done. There's an old Chinese proverb that says: "A diamond cannot be polished without friction, and a person can't be perfected without trials." Often it is in the toughest times where our faith, our life shines brightest and we are improved. (James 1:2-4) Change requires effort and responsibility on our part so if you are unhappy in your current condition, ask yourself if you are doing all you can to rectify the situation, are you seeking God's best for your life, or are you choosing to stay stuck in your circumstances? I encourage you to get unstuck.

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