A reference website I use sometimes runs ads along its margins. One has a caption which asks, “Will 2018 bring change?” and shows a young woman staring into space. She reminds me of my younger self in Washington, D.C., several years ago when a new administration came to office and sent some of us to unemployment.
At first, I was in shock. Then, I felt like a walking anxiety attack. On nights, when I actually fell asleep, I awoke soon after, shaking in fear. Sometimes, I created my own waking nightmares, including being a bag lady in the slums.
During that time, an older, wiser friend reminded me that I could choose the nightmares or I could choose the possibilities. She taught me about visualization, so I could imagine a more prosperous and fulfilling future.
One of the truths we discover on this journey is: Life is change. Sometimes we choose the change. Sometimes we don’t. Either way, it’s discombobulating when change pushes us beyond our comfort zones and/or disrupts our “ideal” plans.
Facing and embracing change, even when we choose it, requires a continual deepening of our inner faith and strength. It requires courage to face an unknown future with trust. It means transforming fear from “Forget Everything and Run” to “Face Everything and Rise.”
To help you rise, consider these strategies:
- Recommit to your spiritual practice and plan extra time for contemplation, meditation, prayer, and reflection.
- Recommit to any creative activities — carving, crafting, drawing, painting, cooking, baking, singing, dancing, writing, gardening — you love, especially if you’ve neglected them.
- Recommit to your self-care. See the doctor, dentist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, or other practitioners who support you in your physical healing. Treat yourself to facials, massages, reflexology, or mani-pedis.
- Leave room in your schedule for extra rest and for mourning the losses change brings, especially if it’s related to a long-term illness, break-up, divorce, or loved one’s death.
- Stay connected to loving relatives, trusted friends, clergy, counselors, sponsors, or therapists who can help you navigate the changes in healthy ways. Ask them to pray with you and remind you, as my friend reminded me, about your resilience and ability to learn and adapt.
- Be gentle with yourself. Avoid making big decisions, such as buying or selling a home or car, diving headlong into a new romance, or trashing valuable possessions, as well as excessive eating, drinking, shopping, or other addictions you’ll regret later.
- Get out of the house and into nature daily. Notice the gentle changes as trees fill with leaves, flowers bloom, snow melts, and rain falls.
Overall, when we face life’s changes directly, rather than seek the nearest exit, we support our inner growth and transformation. We harmonize with the ebbs and flows of life, so we feel calmer. Especially, we remember that we’re divine creations of God, eternally grace-giving, infinitely compassionate, unconditionally loving, so we know that we can overcome life’s challenges and rise beyond them.
© 2018 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.