“The key to forming good habits is to make them part of your ‘rituals.’ I have a morning ritual, afternoon ritual, and Sunday ritual. It’s one way to bundle good habits into regular times that you set aside to prepare yourself for the life you want. Rituals help you form habits.”—Lewis Howes
With no real easy way to tell you this. Your head is going to be at times, your most formidable adversary. Wanting to stay status quo. Comfortable in misery. So much so you don’t feel the pain at a level like the beginning.
Changes in our lives, new paradigms to replace old thought processes is what is needed now. The past will not give up easily. Prepare yourself for a title fight.
If you’re a Christian, the enemy is preparing an attack like you’ve never fought. Why? He wants you to continue miserable. He hopes that you will implode. As we move further in this chapter, I will share with you how I made it through the toughest times.
The enemy will attack you to keep you down. He is afraid of losing you to an excellent team. So he will fight you in the form of:
- Depression (not diagnosed or medicated) Just feeling depressed.
- Keep your mind on past mistakes.
- I am feeling hopeless.
- I am reliving the past over-and-over in your head.
- Dark thoughts of self-harm. (NEVER AN OPTION)
Working through this will be difficult, and you will be tested. You can and will get through this time.
We are making it easier to understand. We all buck change at work. If a policy changes everyone in the office complains. “Why are they changing, the old way worked.”
Let’s say, for example, you’ve done the same thing, the same way for years-and-years. Change won’t come easy. Excuses like:
- I’m too set in my ways.
- I’m too old to change now.
- Too hard f*&^ it.
Don’t fool yourself into these false statements. You can change, you’re not too old, stop limiting yourself!
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”—Nelson Mandela
Allow yourself to change. It won’t happen overnight; I can tell you I still fall into traps; however, I can happily report that the bear traps are further apart.
So how do we bring about real change, especially when confronted with real pain? Here is how I brought myself out of the dark:
- Learn to quiet your mind. Declutter all the garbage that goes through our minds. Meditation can be life-changing if you practice daily.
- Something that seems innocuous has tremendous value — taking times daily to slow your breathing for sixty seconds only. Slows your pulse, helps relax your body, relieve tension. Tension causes aggravation. Breathing several times per day for a minute or so will slow you down.
- Do something physical every day. Walk, gym, run, get off your butt, and do something to relieve stress in your body.
- Helping others will get you outside yourself. Reminding you that life is not all about you. Be a blessing to someone!
Changing our lives takes time and work. You can’t all a sudden tell God you want to make a million dollars this year, order a Pizza and wait. Sorry life takes real work.
The most important of this is discipline and organization. Set reminders daily to do the tasks laid out in this book. Otherwise, you wake up a week later and go, “crap, I was supposed to meditate every day.”
If you want lasting and real change, fill your calendar with an activity that fosters change.
You are fighting with yourself. I call it kicking your own ass. Your noodle will run from the pain of change. Your mind is falsely convincing you that you cannot change. It’s too hard. Don’t listen to these false prophecies of your life. Years of conditioning will take time to shake off old paradigms.
At times this will seem relentless the attack on you to stay status quo. The enemy will come at you in ways that look as though you cannot win. You will feel alone, like nothing you can do will ever help. Surrender to God. Let him know that you can’t see a way, but you know he will take away.
When I first moved from my home in South Texas to live in West Texas. My ex-wife wanted a divorce that I honestly at the time did not want a divorce. Financially in dire straits, the woman I believed to be my soulmate now gone.
Could not at the time be in more of a dark place. I had so many times thought I had no reason to live. Scary how close that came to pass. For whatever reason, I never acted on dark thoughts. Thank God I did not.
With some lucid moments of I need to start over. I began to think about life without my wife. I decided I would get into Church and try to understand the spiritual side of my life. I was drawn to this need to find a Church home.
After finding a Church that was recommended to me by someone that I trust, I became a regular attendee, most times staying for two of the three Sunday services. Because my head would clutter with such garbage; I was fighting so hard to hear what the Pastor said; it was exhausting.
Most Church services end with a call to give your life to Jesus Christ. To confess, you’re a sinner and that you accept Jesus as your Lord and savior. For a few weeks, I had faithfully attended sitting mostly in the back of the sanctuary.
One Sunday during this altar call; I raised my hand. The Usher came and gave me a CD, and I confessed and prayed the short prayer to accept Jesus Christ. At the end of this part of the service, the Pastor headed across the stage stopped and turned.
He began to say “sir, sir,” not realizing he was trying to get my attention for a moment. As I realized he was trying to get my attention. Pastor Don said to me God had put in his heart for whatever I was doing artistically to keep going, don’t stop.
Here is the real kicker to the story. I had been blogging, take pictures with my camera and stating to myself that for the last half of my life I was going to do what I wanted to do not what I have to do. I wanted to be a freelance writer and photographer.
Not one person in this Church, including the Pastor, knew me from Adam. I stayed to myself and never said as much as a good morning unless first approached.
No way could the Pastor know that I was doing or working on anything artistically. This Pastor stopped in the middle of the ending of this service to tell me that God told him to say to me, keep doing what I love to do.
To say the very least, I was utterly in shock. It took a bit for this to sink in. Nothing in my life to this point was so profound.
This event helped me to go further and keep trying. Freely I admit stumbling and falling post this event. However, remembering that God has come into my life then and several times since then.
When I thought a couple of times all is lost something would happen to show me that even with a Mustard seed of faith left, God would bless me so that I knew he was still protecting me.
My point of this is even in your darkest moment when you see nothing, but my life is worthless not also worth being here. God if you try, if you fight through when you cannot see anything but dark, let God know you are trying to hold on, God will answer.
Today after many events from small to abundant miracles. God has convinced me that if I focus my faith, he will lead me through anything. Now I run after God.
The old me would not have hung in the darkness to realize the blessing. I would have long before quit and moved on. That is the old paradigms I must break. When enough-is-enough, you will change. My time was when I moved to West Texas, once you make that decision, you will be amazed at how life opens for you!
No matter what happens, you cannot quit. Take one more step, always.
Let me share with you why having patience will serve you well.
The dream job of a lifetime is something that you now focus your attention too — searching far and wide for this wonderful job. Some time goes by with nothing happening, and you cannot see any hope.
What you don’t know is that a beautiful person occupies the job you seek; someone that has had a fantastic career, beloved by all at the job. This person is getting ready to retire; the job will come available for you to apply for and get!
This person is another thirty days from retirement, and well-deserved retirement. God has you in mind so that this job will cross your path. Your search has gone on for five months with no results, so you quit thirty days before the position of a lifetime comes available.
Your focus moves on to something else, and the Universe moves on because you did.
Stay in faith even when you don’t see a way God is making a way. You won’t know what is having to take place in front of you before God can move this part of your destiny to unfold for you. The Universe won’t cut you in line. So have patience!
Here is the real kicker that will blow your mind. You can’t move yet because God is blessing someone you don’t know with something you currently have. He is driving your life around to be a blessing for someone you don’t even know.
Point is none of us know. So why stress over a fair outcome that may take a little more time. How many times have you quit than if you had not your life might be completely different? Think about that. Patience can make all the difference in your life. Faith, Hope, resolve, need to be your mantra!
A chapter from my book Tying It All Together. Click the book cover to see all my works on Amazon.