Reality Reflection: Autumn Changes

Monday we have our first official day of Autumn. The calendar switches over from summer to autumn. Many people say they love autumn because it means hot beverages, but I drink hot beverages year round, so that’s not an enticement for me. I’m cool or cold 90% of the year so the turn to cooler weather that some people enjoy isn’t enjoyable for me either. While I think the trees changing colors is magical, it’s always stood as a symbol for what comes next (snow/winter) so that doesn’t excite me much either. And yet here another autumn comes and I’m staying where I am and don’t have any plans to move to someplace where the seasons aren’t so defined or extreme (like the Carolinas or New Mexico).

As I was contemplating the fact that I haven’t had any real inclination to move despite my dislike of the cold, I got to thinking about why I don’t want to move or why I haven’t moved yet or why I’m here to begin with. Ask anyone who has done some traveling and they’ll tell you that no place is perfect for one reason or another. It may be harder to come up with reasons in some places but if you really put your mind to it you can. So when it comes down to it there’s always give and take whether it’s where you want to live, who’s in your life or how you earn your income.

But all of the discussion and contemplation in my head brought me to another point as well, that as much as this is about weather and temperature, even more it’s about change and its place in our lives. How well do you anticipate changes and work through changes both anticipated and unanticipated? You may not welcome change excitedly each time it shows up, but do you have a positive attitude towards working through it? This autumn while others are working on kids homework and sports schedules or keeping up with their favorite sports team, I’m going to work on understanding, accepting, and most of all working through change. What part of change is most challenging to you?


Reality Reflection: Going with the Summer Flow

Sometimes life throws you a curve ball and all you can do is watch it come at you and wonder what on earth you’re supposed to do. As it does the damage it does you have to figure out how you’re going to pick up the pieces and what comes next. One of the biggest emotions you experience is frustration, anger might be a close second, with disbelieve and sadness also possible contenders. It’s not fair, but if we didn’t have these curve balls, would we really be as smart or creative as we are?

I lost a blog post I was going to share with you today, it just magically vanished and there’s no way for me to retrieve it. It’s rare but it happens. Once I got over the panic and thought about it I realized why it vanished and wasn’t so mad, but I was a little frustrated. It’s times like these that I wonder if the universe has a better plan, or just wants us to do something different or just thinks we need to do a little extra work.

So I’ve changed course from my original topic and now I’m thinking summer, because there’s nothing better than coming up with alternative plans when it’s the summer. Like having to find a new activity to do because it’s raining and you can’t go to the beach or pool like you were originally planning, so now you’re driving to that little donut or BBQ joint you heard rave reviews about but never found the time to check out. Or maybe you’re just going to stay home and clean some stuff out that you’ve been meaning to do (maybe for years!!).

So much of summer is about moving with the flow, but we forget that during the rest of the year. Somehow it’s awesome in the summer but not acceptable during the other 3 seasons. So as we officially begin summer this week I would invite you to go ahead and adopt that summer flexibility, to really work on going with the flow and being more flexible and willing to change as change is needed. If you’re more open to it, it will be easier to navigate, and you’ll feel better about it too.

God with Us

It’s that time again, the time when young people move on in their lives to the next thing.  The many people graduating this year and every year is a reminder of success for each of us, we’ve managed to help yet another generation through another year.  But that final college graduation should not be seen as the last graduation that we’ll go through.  In fact we all go through times in our lives that are graduations.  No, in all likelihood there won’t be a big celebration or lots of people attending those future graduations, but they’re not any less important, or any less scary than graduating high school or college.

At different times throughout our lives we’re asked or forced to move on.  It’s never easy and takes lots of courage to truly move on in a way that doesn’t damage us permanently.  If we hold onto the negative emotion of being let go or dealing with death we’ll never be able to get to that next step in our lives.  The good news is we’re not alone.  In Exodus 3 as God is speaking to Moses about the graduation He has planned for the Israelites Moses naturally shares that he’s got some fears about the whole situation.  God says

I will be with you.

Yep, that simple.  And it’s the same for us too. God promises to go with us through the different challenges and trials of our lives.  He doesn’t promise it will be easy, but He does say He’ll go with us.

If you’re facing a change or graduation in your life today, don’t let the fear take control or take over.  Know and trust instead that God is right there with you and will be the whole way.

Welcoming In Spring Changes

Today it was windy. It was one of those days where you don’t plan a hair style and you certainly don’t wear a hat or scarf because it would be four towns over before you could even think about trying to catch it. I know there’s the old saying about March how it can “come in like a lion and go out like a lamb” or “come in like a lamb and go out like a lion,” while the saying for April is supposed to be “April showers bring May flowers.” So while I’m glad it was a sunny day, it made me think of these sayings as well as one that fit better: the winds of change are coming.

I think we’re at the right time of year to really embrace change. Yes, there are different periods of time during the year that we talk about change more, and one of them is in the spring time with all the exciting new life around us. With this new month we’re also entering the second quarter of 2019, if you can believe the year is moving ahead that quickly. So now is a great time to not only be open to but also excited about changes that could be happening in your life.

Change happens for many different reasons, sometimes because we really encourage it to move forward, other times because we’ve taken actions that have put changes in motion, other times because the world around us is changing and growing, and sometimes there’s no real direction from change other than to see that it’s happening. I’ve been doing some planning and working ahead in anticipation of some things I already know are coming up this month and I’m open to change happening, so we’ll see if that brings along positive changes and improvements.

What about you? Could you use some ‘winds of change’ in your life, relationship or career?

The Highway of Life

The other day I was driving down a 3 lane highway and had multiple cars come up quickly behind me in the middle lane and stay behind me. I was driving a little above the speed limit similar to other cars on the road, and while there were other cars on the road there weren’t so many that they couldn’t easily move to another lanes. You’ve probably experienced this, right? That there just doesn’t really seem to be a good reason for someone to be that close to the back of your car, not moving into another available lane, not to mention the drivers who consistently weave fast through several lanes of traffic.

Having this happen several times throughout a course of several days got me thinking about how we live our lives. We could talk about the issue some people have of rushing and never being on time for things. We could talk about how fast-paced life is and how much faster some people try to live it. We could talk about the inconsiderate nature of people expecting others to just get out of their way. Today what I wanted to talk about is in line with that last one, it’s about having multiple lanes in the highway of life.

I believe that there’s almost always more than one way to get things done, to get to a destination, to become successful, to improve yourself, or to work through an issue, with the most obvious exception being that of salvation through Jesus (that’s a one-way street). I believe that we should always have a ‘plan b’ and an alternative plan or direction if things don’t go as expected (and sometimes a ‘plan c’ and ‘plan d’). I don’t believe it’s smart to rely on one source of income unless you’re in an absolutely recession proof career. I believe you can be committed to just one partner (one marriage) as long as you are both on the same page about being committed to really working things through, tackling necessary changes, talking often, and working together.

With as many resources and options as are available to us, there’s no reason for us to force others to live our way or get in line with how we do things, nor should we expect them to. We also should not feel cornered or stuck in one option and not, at the very least, be aware of the options. Our life journeys can be full and rich, or they can be filled with frustration because we tried to do things one way and only one way when the fact of the matter is life is changing at a very rapid pace that doesn’t allow us to live in the past.

I would encourage you to take a minute and consider if you’re living life trying to force others into your way of living, if you’re feeling restricted by your current life path or if you’re trying to get things done in a way that isn’t truly productive. If any of those are true, I would encourage you to look into options and start opening up your mind to alternatives that are healthier and more satisfying for you and others.

New Year’s Analysis

I don’t do new year’s resolutions. I don’t find the new year to always be the most effective time to start something new or make such a big change. It works well for some people, but unfortunately too often the idea of new year’s resolutions doesn’t live up to the potential. Most of us do better with more concrete motivation than just a ‘new year.’ For example, people get in shape when faced with the upcoming summer outdoor season, they work on relationships when faced with a holiday or big life event, and they clean the house when they know company’s coming. That said, even if you do make a new year’s resolution, it doesn’t mean that you have to do it all year long, you may make the change in the next few weeks and not have to working on fixing it for the next 11 months.

So if you’re not into resolutions, or even if you are, the new year is a great time to evaluate where your life is at and what does need to change, whether the time is right to change things now or it’s coming up in the future. We don’t always take the time to do a serious evaluation of our lives, habits, relationships and plans, but a new year with a fresh and empty calendar, can be a great time to do so. A big part of dealing with dissatisfaction and making improvements in our lives has to do with taking the time to really evaluate where we’re at and exactly what the issue or cause is.

So this week I would encourage you to take some time to really think about what’s frustrating you or what you would like to improve or how you want to grow or ways that you’re hindering yourself. Take the time to write down each of these things and explore a little around the feelings, actions, reactions, frequency and situations of each and how they’re impacting your life. Maybe this list will motivate you to make changes or at least plan for changes in the near future, but even if it doesn’t I bet it will reveal some interesting things to you. What will you learn from a little introspection analysis?

30 Days of Thanksgiving: fresh starts

While many people struggle with change, it’s a fact of life, and sometimes the best thing is to have a fresh start. I’ve got several clients right now who are in the process of major life changes, and all around the US are people who are being handed a “fresh start” by the fires, hurricanes and other natural disasters that happened this past year. Fresh starts are opportunities, but they’re not without their growing pains.

I was talking with someone who had been to California on business recently and they were saying that they would get tired of not really having seasons anymore, as here in the Northeast we’ve got 4 every year. I think life is similar that most of us need change and variety in our lives, we aren’t at our healthiest or happiest if we’re not growing and changing. Maybe that’s typically just going out to new restaurants and doing new activities, but sometimes it means big fresh starts like job or relationship changes.

I’m thankful that in 2018 it’s easier to have a fresh start than ever before, and it’s also more accepted by society to do so. It often comes down to how willing are you to make those changes and get a fresh start in your life. It’s easy enough to just keep things status quo and just accept that life isn’t all you hoped it would be, but in this day and age there’s no reason that it has to be that way.

This Thanksgiving as you think about all the things you’re thankful for, I encourage you to take time to think about what you might want to be thankful for next Thanksgiving. How do you want your life to be different? What fresh starts do you want to be thankful for? What do you want to be thankful for that has been left behind in your life? What new people do you want gathered around you’re table that you’re thankful for? What fresh start will you start this Thanksgiving?