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“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.’”
— Erma Bombeck
You have been on a life-altering journey, a journey you had neither anticipated nor wanted.
There have been many unexpected surprises that demanded change, adjustment, a new assessment, and adaptation of plans. Your life has been forever altered.
Taking back the reins of your life requires purpose, choice, and determination.
I believe that deep within each of 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.
This is not for the faint of heart. But those willing to dig deep inside themselves will find the resolve needed to meet any challenge. And with the help of God, we can find both the strength and courage to step forward.
“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel change, grow or love. Chained by his certitude, he is a slave; he has forfeited his freedom. Only the person who risks is truly free.”
—Leo Buscaglia (1982)
Since January of this year, my blog posts have offered information on ways to heal, recover and gain a new appreciation for who you are as you developed new skills and applied them in rebuilding your life.
Sometimes we are required to do whatever is necessary in the moment until we are able to mobilize our goals. Then we often ask ourselves, what can we do as we sort out the ins and outs of beginning again?
Let me share a personal story of a time when I needed to ask that question: What can I do? While it might not fully define your circumstances, there is an important lesson here that can benefit everyone.
My husband and I had just moved into a new home we had built and were in various stages of unpacking and finding a place to put things. A vertebra in my lower back had been gradually deteriorating, putting pressure on a sciatic nerve. Without warning, it could trigger a leg spasm in my left leg, culminating in a leg cramp that locked my leg in a rigid position. Once locked, I was unable to move it until it had run its course. With enough warning, I could alter the outcome of the spasm.
If I recognized the beginning of that muscular contraction, I could push my foot down hard on the floor and break the cramping cycle. Even when asleep, there was a part of my brain on constant alert for the beginning of such a spasm. If I jumped out of bed quick enough, I could stop the process.
If I didn’t catch it in time, I would have to endure the excruciating pain until the affected nerves and muscles released me from its grip. Lifting and bending aggravated my lower back even more. Unpacking boxes was impossible.
I had to wait a week before I could see my orthopedic surgeon. Not being able to finish unpacking was frustrating. But what could I do in the interim?
Reading books or looking at magazines would be short-lived and trivial pursuits were not for me. I needed to be doing something constructive. Then, I heard that small internal voice remind me, as it had so often in the past: focus on what you can do and forget about what you can’t do.
Focus on what you can do – not what you can’t
But what could I do?
Then, I remembered all the cooking magazines I had collected over the years full of great recipes and cooking tips that I had brought with me to my new home. I was waiting for a time when I could go through them, select the ones I wanted and throw the rest away. I had been too busy until now. Now, I realized, was the perfect time to get the job done.
Before I went in for scheduled back surgery, I went through all those magazines that had been languishing in boxes, placed the saved recipes in binders and threw the rest away. I still have and use those recipes and cooking lessons.
No matter what the situation, difficulty, or limitation, there is always something of purpose we can focus our attention on.
A New Mindset: Yes, You Can!
One of the most important skills you can develop is a mindset of “yes, you can.” This mindset believes in “you” and looks for ways you can apply yourself.
It is an attitude that reflects a willingness to dig deep inside and pull out those resources waiting to be developed and used; resources such as determination and the ability to be flexible.
It incorporates what you have learned but may have forgotten or dismissed. Think about what you mastered in the past and how you did that. Add to that the resourcefulness of ingenuity and perception gained through this journey.
You will make mistakes.
You will misinterpret the data you are given. You will judge yourself harshly and have doubts and concerns. You will get discouraged. That is part of being a human being.
But granting yourself grace to make mistakes, accepting yourself with all your faults as well as your strengths, and asking for the strength and wisdom you need from God, will see you through the toughest of times.
You can make it. And you will be richly blessed in the process.
“You are never too old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream.”
– C.S. Lewis
This isn’t just about putting a positive spin on a serious situation.
It’s about looking at where you are in this moment and telling yourself, “Yes, I can.”
You may not have all the answers or resources, but you can ask and find the help you need. But the bottom line is you need to believe in yourself. With the help of God, you can strengthen your resolve, have faith in yourself, improve your life skills and accomplish.
We need validation for the turmoil of thoughts and emotions we experience. But we also need the tools necessary to create a new beginning that is both satisfying and meaningful. My new book, Learning to Live Again in a New World, offers those tools to help work through the problems you might be facing.