Reading all of the end of the year and beginning the new year blogs has made me pensive. It’s all about change. I feel like the silent, intimidated member of a very large therapy group. Some mention the fabulous 2012 and how to carry it on into 2013. Most mention the horrific or boring or misdirected 2012 and suggest that the turning of the calendar on January 1 marks the end of bad and the beginning of breakthrough.
I read. I listen. I wonder where I fit.
I say yes to a great year. I agree with the terrors and tragedies that befell the nation. I am a part of this.
Yet I feel so distant. I wonder if the writers of each and every blog are really planning to transform their life, change their game, and build something great. Or is it what you write when the new year approaches.
Actually, I think I have written these pieces at this time before.
This year is different.
I think this is why.
Change: What It Really Takes
I have changed and transformed my life many times over and am not sure if it correlated with the new year on any of the occasions. I think it is more likely correlated with the stages of change I learned about in grad school. They go like this:
Precontemplation: This is where most of us live. We don’t think there is anything wrong with us. We lie on Facebook, only posting the happy smiley pictures of our oh so perfect life. We say “what??” to a spouse or child who says we watch too much tv, or drink too much, and need to get a life. We tell peers, or worse yet, a coach we are paying, that our marketing is working fine and we have great people working for us. We are in denial. Life is life. It can’t be changed and it doesn’t need to be, so why are you bloggers ruining everything by trying to hint that life isn’t fine.
Contemplation: We espouse the bitterness of life on Facebook daily. We continue to complain about, but not work on, our relationships. We read about healthy living and diets. But if anyone asked us “if you could wave a magic wand and have the perfect life, what would it look like?”, we would say “I am not sure, but it isn’t this”. And we would say this in January, February, March and so on. That is until the bad gets much worse than the good. As long as they are somewhat balanced. As long as we still have a smiling picture to post on FB….we do nothing. We contemplate change. But we stick with the status quo. We stay where we are because the bad is familiar. It is known and we are surviving it.
Until we aren’t.
This is what it takes.
Until we aren’t.
Until we aren’t surviving it, we will not make a change. No amount of blogs, self help books, or therapy will make us change until we are ready.
Until the bad outweighs the good.
This is human nature.
Control: Is Always an Illusion
Except if you choose a different path. If you choose the path one day because things became so bad that you could never imagine the good outweighing the bad ever again. If you finally realized and admitted that your way, your path, never leads out of the bad, the blah, the never-changing.
The path where you are no longer in control awaits. Through the twists and turns of this new path you begin to realize and understand that you never ever really were in control. When the trail gets steep you lean in and an invisible force carries you. On this path, although still trodden with risk, despair, problems, and travails you are never alone.
Somehow you know that the direction is right and that the trail will unwind. You begin to explore the life that exists in the dark caves as well as the mountain springs. You savor moments in your life, people in your life, and places to go.
You are no longer at a crossroad, wondering which is the path of good things, and which is the road that keeps us on this journey of pain.
Actually, you no longer have to decide which path.
You don’t decide where or when or what.
You just decide who.
Who will you follow?
Choice: To Change or Not To Change
Many years ago I was at this crossroad. The negatives were outweighing the positives. I had exhausted the New Year’s resolutions. I had tried all of the change your life methods. But, in the end, they were still me holding on to control. To my way.
It wasn’t working.
The bad was outweighing the good.
I was in contemplation.
Survival: Something Has to Change
Until I needed change in my life just to survive. I needed a plan ( the third stage of change) and I needed action (the fourth stage).
I decided on a path. I decided that it didn’t matter which road I took. It only mattered who I followed.
I chose Jesus. I chose eternal change. I wanted a new life. I wanted a supernatural guide that would help me through the many other crossroads I would encounter.
I wish I could say it was a calculated decision. It was me, weighing my options at the crossroads, and choosing the right path.
In reality, as it always is, Jesus chose me. He just waited.
Relinquish Control: Your Way Isn’t Working
He waited until I was ready to change. He watched me fight and struggle to maintain control.
Until everything was out of control. When I was finally ready.
Ready to give up.
Then, thank God, He stepped in and true, lasting change began.
Lasting Change Begins
The fifth stage of change is maintenance. How do we stay on the right path? How do we continue to follow Jesus even when the world we live in will constantly through travails our way.
This part of the journey continues for us all. It will throughout eternity.
I only know to do the same thing I do when I don’t know what to do. Focus on Him. Turn away from the problem of the day and seek Jesus.
In our seeking, He will always be there.
God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.