Have You Ever Felt Powerless to Change Your Life?

If there is one thing to be discovered about the root of most of our problems / issues / concerns / anxiety / struggles / failures, I would say it rests somewhere in the midst of an inability to let go of things that we believe 'should' bring a particular outcome.

I hope you will stay with me here. Learning the grace of holding on to what is important and relinquishing what isn't working is a tremendous game changer.

Consider the morning flight of an eagle... she lives in the moment, totally focused on her flight, likely sharply focused on a search for food. She's not thinking about how unpleasant the weather is, what other birds think of her, will her next nest building be a success, or why she doesn't have feathers as cheerfully-colored as the cardinal. She doesn't have the anxiety that is associated with all of this comparison and desire to have things a certain way.

Our brains are bigger that the majestic eagle, which gives us the ability to solve problems, write poetry, build bridges and unfortunately, the ability, to create many issues or problems that we would be better off not having to deal with. We can easily step into feeling anxious, frustrated, depressed or angry over things that happen or might happen to us, then turn this feeling into an over-thinking session.

If we choose to relinquish what we cannot control (if we can't control it, what's the point of holding on to it anyway?), we are quickly able to reduce our stress and our propensity to procrastinate, improve our relationships, learn to embrace change, let go of limiting beliefs and unfavorable habits and become more present and intentional in our lives. This would certainly provide some freedom, right?

Stress and anxiety often come from wanting things to be or work out in a certain way when they can't or won't. A longing or a desire to avoid failure, difficult tasks, confusion or discomfort, often leads us to procrastinate. If we choose (and, it is a choice), to let go of the way we want or expect things to be, we can learn to accept and appreciate things as they are, allowing us to enjoy peace over chaos. This requires us to focus on the fact that God is Sovereign and it is all in His hands and under His control.

When we experience significant loss, such as a divorce, death of a loved one, or loss of a job, there is a grieving period that we will face... it's best to step in and allow the grief to come as you feel the pain or loss. Pain is inevitable but suffering is a choice that we make when we choose to hold onto or obsess over things we cannot change. When we choose to release it, we can allow the process to grow us. This often requires a moment-by-moment choice in the early phases. If we are willing to ask God to be with us and to strengthen us, He will help us learn the things He wants to teach us during this season of our lives.

Fear is often the deep root of our unwillingness to let go of things we cannot change or control. When we want (or feel we deserve) things to be a certain way, we can become immobilized in starting our own business, losing weight or anything that requires us to step out of our comfort zone.

Things that don't align with our ideal are often the very things that help us to grow or experience things beyond anything we ever imagined. The fantasy in our ideals is that they whisper (or yell) that our life will be "easy", that we must 'know' what we are doing at all times and 'feel' totally competent and successful. We tell ourselves that if all of these 'ideals' do not align, we will avoid them and refuse to move forward.

It is God who is the initiator of all change in our lives, and He offers us the ability to let go of what isn't working for us so we can pursue our desire to grow, build, create, and truly experience the best of our lives. The pathway to achieving anything of value is growing through the processes of our lives. When we attempt things we don't know, we learn new things, new skills, and with practice, we can get really good at doing them. When we learn better, we can choose to do better.

Regarding our relationships, we often are tempted to either avoid the challenging ones, expect others to do what we think is right, not take initiative to be the change we want to see, or believe it is up to someone else to do something some other way…. (you may want to reread that sentence). 

My grandmother often said, “If it’s to be, it’s up to me”. Our choices and taking initiative can become powerful components to letting go of what we are weighed down by so that we can soar in the mindset and opportunities that bring joy and freedom.

The most compelling thing we can do to change the way we feel is to change the way we think and speak. What I mean is that our negative self-talk that typically comes from negative or limiting beliefs, is the most definitive thing that dictates whether we will feel sad, lonely, rejected, discouraged, fearful and not supported. 

Turning that around Into a positive thought life can bring us clarity and encouragement to believe the best about ourselves, our circumstances and others in our lives. 

If you don’t believe it try this little exercise, spend 2 or 3 minutes focusing on all that you are mad, sad or scared about and observe the feelings that arise. Next, spend 2 or 3 minutes focusing on what you are happy, glad or delighted about and observe how your feelings become lighter and more encouraging. 

Old habits and patterns of negative self-talk and thinking are many times the culprit behind our feelings. Yet, we often look for the remedy in something else that someone else has done, needs to do, or won’t do. Thus, we have handed off control of our peace and calm to someone else to be in control.

Yet, we have the complete ability to consider what can go right in any given situation as opposed to what can go wrong. We can focus on what is good, true and right and not on what we don’t have, hate or won’t stand for. 

If we take a walk and look down at the grey asphalt or cracks in the sidewalk, we may never get to enjoy the sunshine, blooming flowers or beautiful birds. Whatever we look for in a situation, good or bad, that’s what we see. If we focus on it, whether good or bad, that’s all we see. 

We can learn to be thankful for the challenges that lead to achievement, the discomfort that leads to growth, the uncertainly that leads to learning, and the difficulties in our relationships that lead us to resolving differences.

It is all a choice that we are completely at liberty to make!

Sheri Geyer is a Relationship Coach for Christian Women*

*And women seeking to learn more about a relationship with Jesus Christ! 

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