what would you change in your life right now if you could?
On a recent weekend trip I had several hours in the car to do some reading. In my reading I came across this question "what would you change in your life right now if you could?" Initially I kept reading because the answer to this question evoked too many differing emotions and the things I would opt to change varied from lighthearted responses to heavier, more personal responses that felt complicated and even made me a little sad.
As we continued on our 4 hour drive home, the question kept looping through my thoughts so I decided to meet it head on. My mental list of things I would change was really long. I was changing everything from a botched perm I got in the height of the 80's big hair days to what I could have done the day my father became ill that may have changed the outcome and he would still be with us. The more I considered my answers the more the question felt like a slippery slope leading straight into a pool of regrets so I backed off the question again.
With my children each quietly engaged in activity in the back seat, my husband driving while listening to an audio book, I sat there, unable to keep my mind from drifting to that tough question, kind of like the way your tongue always goes back to that sore place in your mouth, you want to leave it alone but your just can't!. It became obvious to me that I had touched on an important topic that wasn't going to go away so I decided to revisit the question once again but shift the lens I was using to respond to it. I decided the best way to answer the question was to approach it from what changes can I make in my life right now, changes that I may be dragging my feet on that would be beneficial? This felt like a manageable question that would not leave me wringing my hands over things from the past that I could never change but allowed me to focus on things that I have some control over to improve my life and relationships today. I jotted down a few items that included:
1. spend less time on devices
2. spend more time outdoors
3. when reading with the children, always opt to read "just one more chapter"
4. choose healthier snack options
5. do more listening and less talking
6. give God my first waking moments of each day
7. thank God each night for all my blessings
8. don't blow of writing even when you don't feel like writing
9. stop chasing perfect- it's impossible to attain and perfectionism keeps me from doing and/or completing things
10. let my first reaction to challenging people and/or situations be one of kindness and a desire to better understand
This is just a sampling of things that I came up with and I noticed right away that there were themes emerging. All of my responses centered around relationships or my health (mind, body & soul). I also noticed that some of these are much easier said that done and the changes would not likely happen over night nor would they be consistent, but that's ok.
Change tends to happen in one of two ways:
1. by making small and consistent incremental steps (losing weight by adding a workout to your daily life)
2. cold turkey, all or nothing, just do it attitude (quit smoking by just quitting)
There is not a 3rd option where you wait patiently for change to show up, ready to do all the work for you
YOU MUST DO SOMETHING
Change is hard, especially when it involves those long standing habits- man changing some of those habits can feel like pushing up against a brick wall trying to move it an inch. But it can be done, it just feels like it can't. We have to stop giving our power away and stop feeling hopeless. Choose to rise and fall on your own - you are responsible.
The good news is we never have to face the changes we want to make in life on our own, ever, and we shouldn't even try to make changes alone, the Holy Spirit is always present to guide us, strengthen us, and listen to us. Remember, "I can do all this through him who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)
So I want to ask you the same question, what would you change in your life right now if you could? And If I might make a suggestion- write down the things that matter to you, the things that you would like to change. Read over your list each morning when you have all day to focus on them and pray for the Holy Spirit to guide and encourage you throughout the day. At the end of your day review your list again, acknowledge the successes first and foremost. Account for the areas you want to continue to improve but don't dwell on them, remember some changes occur in increments and the Holy Spirit may be guiding you to learn from the journey itself. End your day in prayer trusting Him in all things giving thanks for all things and remember "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:9)