Have you ever felt dissatisfied and unhappy? Have you ever felt powerless? Are you ready for change and moving forward? Are you unhappy with the quality of your life and relationships? This is actually a good place to be, because you are now motivated to do what is necessary to change and you have positioned yourself to be teachable.
I remember when I was growing up, my dad would give us an instruction, and we would not understand the importance of that instruction until everything went awry. Then my dad would come alongside, love us and instruct us some more. What changed? My dad’s instructions were still the same, his love was the same…. What had changed……ME! I was finally in a position to hear what he had to say, I was finally in a teachable mode, and I was ready for change.
God uses events, crisis and people in our lives to bring us to points of dissatisfaction; He is waiting for us to come into a teachable mode where change can occur.
So how do we move forward? How do we change? How do we go from the known to the unknown? How do we break old patterns and modes of dealing with conflict and stress? I believe that it must start with ME.
As an adult I have appreciated my dad’s parenting, he raised me to be responsible for myself. He loved on me, comforted me, defended me, but he always made me responsible for my part. What did I do? What could I have done differently? These are hard lessons, but it did not allow a victim mentality to be created in me. I did not understand that when I was 15, but I sure appreciate it now as an adult! He gave us the skills to navigate through life, preventing life from navigating us. He taught us the value of self-analysis and that blame shifting can’t be tolerated if we wanted to move forward.
My children love to tell the story of the ‘repenting bench’! They launch into tales of this infamous bench with gusto and laughter, each one adding their own viewpoint and story line. This infamous bench was actually the piano bench in our home. When the children were fighting with each other, we would make them sit together on the bench and work it out and apologize to each other. From the other room, we would hear them bicker and argue some more about who did what and who said sorry first last time! We would let this go on for a bit to see if they could work it out, and then we would step in if they couldn’t.
Now the tendency of our children was to tell on their sibling the things their sibling had done to them. It usually involved them both talking at once and over each other! David and I would stop them and say, ‘I only want to hear what you did to your sibling’. This was a hard task, because invariably they wanted to justify what they did by telling us what their sibling had done to them.
Now the beauty of this bench was, if your sibling wasn’t exactly honest in their version of the truth, the other child quickly made it know. Eventually we got down to the bottom of the issue, and who did what to whom, apologies were made, hurt feelings mended and relationships restored. They tell these stories today with laughter and who said what, and who did what first, but they learned a valuable lesson – be responsible for your own attitudes, words and actions.
So where am I going with these stories? Well, I hope that it illustrates a couple of points. One: for change to occur, I must be in a teachable mode, and I must be ready to listen and make changes. Two: I must be brave and look at ME – my own attitudes, actions and words.
Take a fresh look, with objective eyes, to see what needs to change. The ability to look at ME objectively (without excuses) is a challenge but it is necessary if I ever want to live a different life.
1 +1 will always equal 2. If I am not happy with my outcome – I must change my part of the equation. God always remains the same, He is constant, it’s our part of the equation that needs changing up.
Often when we are dissatisfied with our lives we look outward to other people, circumstances and events. The greatest challenge is to look inward….what do I need to change? What am I responsible for? What in my life does not line up with God’s Word and Kingdom principles? These are tough questions, but if we want a different outcome to our equation, we must look at ourselves not others.
We have a saying in our house, ‘Learn the lesson the first time, so you can move on and you don’t have to visit it again!’ This is easier said than done! Sometimes we get it right the first time, and other times we go around the mountain several times! But if we can be teachable and take a few moments to be objective about ourselves, the payoff is huge!