Friday, March 22, 2013


I was chatting with one of my kids this morning, about the changes that have taken place in the last four years, things I never thought possible, things that have become the norm for me now.

It came to me that the changes are never-ending (that's as it should be), and that there are certain principles surrounding change that are good to remember in any transformation of behavior, whether it be a physical or a mental habit, a belief, or a behavior pattern. 

Here, in a cursory attempt to gel my own thoughts, is a summary of those principles.

Life is a journey. In every journey there are forks in the road - decisions that we make - that will affect outcomes. When the outcomes aren't what we planned, in the majority of cases, that can be directly connected to the choices we've made at those junctures. The longer we stay on a given path, the longer it will take to get back on the right one.

We all make mistakes. We stray off onto a bunny trail, fail to set boundaries, or encroach on others' boundaries ... and we end up paying the consequences. Some of those consequences are pretty wrenching, and we wish we could have a "do-over." Or that we could be airlifted out of the situation and somehow end up on the right road for a change.

The reality is that we need to get back on the right track. The question then becomes - how do we do that? How do we get on the right path when we have been on the wrong one for so long that it seems like the only one we have? 

Sometimes, we will need to accept "what is." Acceptance is huge. 

And sometimes, we will need to change what we can. That takes courage

Change is never easy!!

Sometimes, God takes pity on us, and we can be delivered from the consequences of our own choices; it happens. Divine deliverance still does happen. Sometimes

"Arrows Choice Shows Options Alternatives or Choosing" courtesy of Stuart Miles

Most times, however, the way to the right path is simply by stopping, fighting our way back to that junction at which we made the wrong decision or series of decisions, and making the right one or ones. And then ... sticking with it.

Backtracking is hard. It involves a lifestyle change, a paradigm shift in how we relate to God, to ourselves, and / or to others. Or a shift from just believing something to acting upon it.  It also involves a great deal of effort to overcome inertia - that tendency to allow things to carry on as they have been. If something is important enough to make that kind of a change, it's important enough to follow through on.

Nobody promised that it would be a walk in the park. The new way of thinking and behaving feels odd, uncomfortable, strange, unnatural. That's because it is.

Do it anyway. 

Backtracking, regaining lost territory, making things right again, learning a new way of thinking, believing and behaving, is like any new thing - it will feel awkward at first. It will take practice - and there will be times when we do it without the finesse that we would like - before it starts to feel a bit more "normal." Making mistakes is a given; however, it's okay to stop, rethink, go back, admit the mistake to those involved, and try again. 

Even if it's hard. 

It will take time. We will want to see results long before they happen. That too is normal. However, the only way to get those results is to consistently stick with the program, so to speak. Think of it this way - we reap what we sow. But sowing and reaping don't happen both at once: there is a period of time that is needed for the seed to germinate, grow, mature, and produce flower and/or fruit. This is the way of things. Instant results only work in the cartoon where Bugs Bunny puts a drop of water on the Instant Martian. Poof. 

The real world doesn't work like that. 

It does help, though, to have support and encouragement. We can be grateful indeed if we have friends who will help us, pray for us, and encourage us to keep the faith. And by far the best encouragement comes from that inner voice - - the one that is in our corner, the one that looks out for our best interests - even if it means that we are uncomfortable sometimes. Even if that voice might only be a whisper ... for now.

It will get louder ... if we keep listening to it.

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