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So many things affect our lives…
…The decisions we make or fail to make.
…The people we hang around with.
…The failure to stop and think before following an impulse.
…The values we hold and act upon.
There is an ongoing transformation as we work to improve our life. We will have different passions and goals and create different ways to make that happen. In the process, we are communicating to others that this is who we are.
When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.’
Every day, we observe seasonal transformations that fill us with awe and wonder. Who hasn’t been renewed and refreshed by a cooling summer’s rain or been moved by the beauty and quiet serenity of an earth blanketed in mounds of downy snow or snowflakes that shimmer like diamonds in the winter sun?
Who hasn’t witnessed the peace of a countryside bathed in the light of a full moon?
And what person hasn’t marveled at stars so dazzling and vivid, it seems we could reach up and touch them? At such times, nature is silenced, and time, suspended.
And yet, the snow is only frozen water, and the sun, moon, and stars are nothing more than hardened, desolate, uninhabitable rocks and dangerous gases.
What transforms your world from one image to another?
Has the world itself changed or have you changed? And why does it matter?
Disasters can so alter our perception of life that we no longer see blessings or anything of beauty or goodness.
It’s as though we put on dark sunglasses that completely obliterate anything positive and encouraging.
And in our desire and haste to find a new comfort zone, a new predictability, we look for the quickest solution that comes along – good or bad.
But we can transform our thinking to believe that deep within us lies the resources we need to meet any crisis, adversity, or unwanted change.
These resources are often buried beneath doubts and old destructive messages. But we can uncover them, collect new information and alter our thinking to accommodate old models of doing things.
Misfortune and hardship will take us out of what was predictable and comforting and place us in unfamiliar territory. We don’t know what to expect and are temporarily thrown off balance.
Misfortune changes our perception of what we think life ought to be.
Our future looks dark and dismal, and the world of sunshine has become colorless and grey.
The refreshing summer rain becomes an intrusion on outdoor activities.
We see the falling snow as a hazard to driving; we don’t even notice the sky full of twinkling stars as it is overshadowed by flashing neon lights.
Our night-time activity is so encompassing we never stop to look up and see the beautiful full moon or observe how it turns the earth into an exquisite and ethereal landscape. The beauty of the world has suddenly been transformed into a nuisance – annoying and irrelevant.
Yet, in the midst of all this, we can pause, take off those dark glasses and see God’s creation and beauty that surrounds us every day. In that pause and reflection, we are reminded that God is still with us and in charge. He has not abandoned us and continues to reach out to us in many ways.
In that pause, we become aware of the kindness of a stranger, the helping hand of a friend, or the encouraging words of the psalmist. And we are transformed.
The mystery of life is constantly unfolding around us, from the green shoot pushing up through the dirt to the developing baby spiders clinging precariously to the edge of their web. We brush them aside as a nuisance before we have had time to consider what it would be like without them.
But to experience that wonder, we need to stop and take time to observe.
There is an ongoing transformation. Good things can come from tragedies, misfortunes, and adversities.
We may hesitate to believe that we can have a meaningful life once more. We may not be sure how to begin. But when we take that first step with faith and belief, we will be inspired. We will be transformed from sorrow to contentment. And in the process, we develop strength, resilience, and a deeper appreciation of life.
Taking the next step: A thought exercise
Grab a cup of coffee or tea and think about where you are right now.
- What would it take for you to take that next step?
- What from your past can you use to transform your life today into something refreshing, positive and relevant?
- What have you always wanted to do but never took the time to do it? Can you make time now?
- What energizes you?
- What is stopping you from experimenting with some of these?
Next, think about the events in your life that were transformative.
- How would you explain them to someone else?
- How did it affect your thinking about who you are, what you are capable of, and how you would like to keep on with this outlook?
- Define that belief.
Even if you have explored this before, I encourage you to do it again.
Start a My Life Planning Notebook and write down all the things you see yourself doing. Include the hopes and dreams you had as a child. Be expansive – don’t prejudge. Just write them down. Later you can go back and prioritize or eliminate.