Monday, January 21, 2019

Examine It

Every season and experience of life can be helpful if we take a closer look at it. Each change we undergo offers opportunities to learn and to become more than we are today. With that idea in mind as we begin another year, I recently found myself contemplating the question, "What has 2018 taught you?"

-Your calling isn’t defined by your profession. Your profession gives you an opportunity to live out your calling.

-Even when you strive to look at people through the lens of grace they won’t always act gracefully.

-When you’re unsure of where your future path may lead focus on doing the next right thing.

-Your impact on the people around you is greater and longer lasting than you realize.

-You and your family are tougher and can endure more than you might have thought.

-Freedom is a powerful feeling especially when you haven’t experienced it for some time.

-You can start new things no matter your age.

-Sometimes we need to be told someone believes in us so we can take the next step forward.

-Voices and influences that were once vital to your growth can become detrimental after time.

-Seasons and friendships change and that doesn’t take away from the value they once had even if they are no longer as relevant.

-If you’re the only one working to maintain a relationship it’s clearly not as valuable to the other person as it is to you. Have enough respect for yourself to graciously walk away. 

-New beginnings are always available. You may have firmly believed that for others, but it is solidified as one of your values when you experience that truth for yourself.

-You are a survivor and always have been. Don’t forget that key part of your identity just because certain things you once held closely now fall apart.

-What you once thought was the worst thing that could happen to you can turn out to be best thing for your future.

Your perspective on your present will determine your mindset for your future. Keep going and don’t forget what you’ve already learned.

Saturday, January 5, 2019


We used to have a white mutt of a dog named Zeddie. He was a pretty pitiful dog, but was deeply loved by our family. He was a rescue through another family and it become clear to us early on that he had been abused as a puppy. He become part of our family when he was no more than two years old and yet the abuse he suffered had an impact on him for the rest of his life. He would cringe whenever strangers came around and even acted fearful of us on occasion. No matter how much we continued to love him he still struggled with those base fears that had been imprinted on him when he was younger.

I don't think it's that different for people either. The negative experiences we have in our family of origin, previous relationships, and unhealthy work environments imprint a response on our souls that is difficult to change. Perhaps the most difficult part of our own lifelong education is in un-learning negative patterns, reactions, and assumptions. Like any other lasting change we want to make in our lives this won't happen accidentally. We have to decide to learn not to respond in emotionally unstable ways, not to drift back into destructive habits, and not to flinch every time we approached.

This isn't alway a simple process, but there are some key things we can do to get moving in the right direction.

  • Get out of the unhealthy situation: when things are toxic you need to step away for your own safety
  • Recognize your negative reactions: increase your self-awareness and see where your past experiences are influencing your present behaviors
  • Swap in healthy responses: start changing out fearful, reactionary responses with ones that bring peace to your soul
  • Deal with your grief: meet this head-on as you'll need to address what's happened to you instead of burying it deep and hoping it goes away
  • Move forward: this sounds easier than it actually is and will take longer than you want it to take.
We won’t get it right the first time or every time, but we will get better as we travel this pathway to healing and learn new ways of living fully.