What direction are you going?

Our lives are filled with joy, pain, victories, and even defeats. We all live lives with all the elements of a best-seller or box office hit and at any given moment would be classified as an action, thriller, drama, horror and most times comedy. In the midst of all of this excitement, I must ask the question, “What direction are you going?”

Our lives are made up of different storylines, or experiences, that guide our decisions and views. The thing that’s interesting about these storylines is that, most times, they have more power than they’re really worth. A storyline, simply put, is a snapshot of a moment in time that we hold on to as a basis for why we act and react the way we do. Here’s an example… Your first love betrayed you and now there’s an expectation of betrayal from every relationship that follows. Or, you secured a job, worked hard at it and became irreplaceable but when it came time for promotion, you were passed over for a new person with no experience. So, the expectation is that no matter how hard you work, you’ll be overlooked and unappreciated.

Storylines are crazy because we tend to hold on to the negatives more than the positives. Quick question… Do you remember your favorite birthday growing up? What made it your favorite? Do you remember the day after? What about the day before? My favorite birthday was the “Chocolate Birthday” where I requested and received EVERYTHING chocolate from the cake to the ice cream to the snacks… I don’t remember the exact age that I was nor do I remember what happened the day before. But, I do remember being sick the day after. Now, does having a chocolate filled birthday make me Willy Wonka? No, but that’s how we treat life and our storylines.

So, how do we get away from this unhealthy cycle? Well, we move towards our own personal values instead of avoiding pain. Most of the time, we make decisions based on our pain, or discomfort, levels. We are running from a storyline that seems to haunt us and our mind is made-up to avoid repeating history. But, running from the perceived pain IS repeating history because every time that we perceive that situation arising we’ll keep running. BUT, when we move towards our values then we are moving in the correct way.

Then, what are my values? My friend, only YOU can answer that. The difficult part about answering the value question is history and expectation. Many of the concepts that we hold to were passed down on our parents, our social circles and even our friend-/relationships. But, where is your heart? What does your heart tell you? If your heart beats to the rhythm of relationships then, why do you keep pushing them away? If your heart speaks baseball then, why are you playing monopoly? The reason that many of us live unfulfilled lives is because we aren’t moving towards our values but rather moving in someone else’s.

When it comes to YOUR values, they are perfect. They are perfect because they are yours and yours alone. You can’t jack up what was ingrained in you. It’s like this… If someone told you to go West, would you ever actually get West? The answer is No. You may go in that direction but you can never actually reach it because West isn’t a destination, it’s a heading.

I know that today’s letter is a lot deeper than normal but I pray that as we move through our lives, that we are conscious of our heading. Are we moving away from perceived discomfort and pain OR, are we headed in the direction of our values?

I love you ALL!!!
Stay Blessed,
Jackie

 

How to deal with change…

Ecclesiastes 3:1 ESV says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:” From the very beginning, our lives are filled with changes. Nothing, other than God, ever remains the same. Everything changes. Life is change. Life is hard. Life is painful. Life isn’t fair. And if Life is all of these things then so is change.

The problem that we face is that we don’t deal with life properly and subsequently when life happens then we’re all jacked up. And just for the record, the words ‘Life’ and ‘Change’ can be interchanged throughout this entire letter as they are one in the same… The reason that we’re all jacked up is that we have learned to place our attention on specific events in our lives and we have deemed these moments as the turning point or catalyst that has created who we are. So, whenever new things happen in our lives that remind us of that historic moment, we reach back and respond to the new thing in the old way.

Here’s a question for you… Growing up, what was your best, or most favorite, birthday? Do you remember how old you were? For me, my coolest birthday was, I believe, my 8th or 10th birthday. I call it my Chocolate Birthday. This particular year my request from my parents was that I wanted nothing but chocolate!!! And guess what, they did it for me!!! I had chocolate cake with chocolate icing, chocolate milk, chocolate ice cream, chocolate candies everywhere… It was amazing!!! Kids bouncing from everywhere!!! Now, here’s the next part of the question… Do you remember the day after that special birthday? What about the day before?

You see, this is what we do. We hold fast to one moment, or event in time, and call that ‘ME’. Does my having a Chocolate Birthday make ME a Chocolate Birthday man? No… Now, that was a positive moment. What about the negatives? My parents beat me, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I was adopted, my girlfriend left me, they never picked me to play basketball, and the stories go on and on. But, does this story encapsulate the entirety of who you are? Does that one passing moment forever change the makeup of what makes you the person you see in the mirror? Let me help you… NO, it doesn’t!!!

The key thing to remember is that these were passing moments. It is our choice to hold onto these moments. So, if we can choose to hold these moments with a death grip then we can also choose to hold them lightly. I’m not saying to just let them go as if they never happened because they did happen. But, we don’t HAVE to let these moments guide the rest our lives.

What’s even crazier is the fact that we hold to the negative moments more than the positives. In looking at life as a movie, there is a storyline that is played out from start to finish. It is OUR storyline but there are little plots scattered throughout. Have you ever seen the Young & the Restless? Why is Ms. Chancellor still alive? I’m sorry… SQUIRREL!!! But, this character has been on the series forever. She’s like the energizer bunny… going and going and going. But, her part doesn’t make the whole show. And that’s what I want you to take away today…

In dealing with life, we need to accept that it is what it is. The Bible calls it short and full of trouble. Frankie Beverley & Maze called it, “Joy and Pain”. I call it ever-changing…

So, how do you deal with change? Accept that change is inevitable and focus on your desired end. Focus on your goals. Focus on the finish line. Realize that change is only the hurdles standing between you and the finish line and jump over them AS you are running. Don’t stop at each hurdle. Don’t nurse each hurdle trying make sure it’s okay… NO, run and jump over each one. Sometimes, you will catch a hurdle with your foot or scratch your knee but that’ll only knock down the hurdle and slow you up… Keep running!!! When you get to the finish line and look back, all you’ll see is that fact that you ran the race!!!! The hurdles are inconsequential and unimportant!!! Change is the same way. Change happens… Keep it pushing and know that the race is worth it!!!

You are not what they said that you are!! You are a WINNER!!! You can do this!!!

I love you ALL!!!
Stay Blessed,
Jackie