Are you dissatisfied with an area of your life – work, family, kids? Have you been feeling overwhelmed or frustrated?
The end of a year is a great time for reflection and renewal. And, although we can choose to live differently at anytime, a new calendar year sometimes gives us the clean slate we need to implement a change.
For the next few weeks, I’ll be walking through some of the things I’m learning via Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, as well as what the Lord is teaching me along the way.
The first habit is… Be Proactive.
In order to be proactive you have to know what needs to be done.
So, what needs to change? Is there anything?
In my experience, frustration and anxiety are warning signs alerting us that something is broken, or about to be. What’s continually frustrating you or causing anxiety? Is there a coworker that you just can’t stand? A problem you wish you could solve, but can never seem to? Or are you just fed up with that annoying thing that your friend or spouse does?
Resigning to “that’s just the way things are” is abdicating our responsibility, our ability as humans to utilize our self-awareness and act.
The good news is that God doesn’t leave us to figure out life on our own. We do have the freedom to choose, the freedom to choose what we do with our feelings. Those feelings of frustration, hurt, and anxiety can lead us to the Lord by helping us understand our need for a Savior… IF we let them. IF we choose to bring them to Him and ask for help. That’s humility.
“For God sets Himself against the proud (the insolent, the overbearing, the disdainful, the presumptuous, the boastful)—[and He opposes, frustrates, and defeats them], but gives grace (favor, blessing) to the humble.” -1 Peter 5:5, AMP
This verse is hard for me to swallow when I examine my own heart in relation to the circumstance that is frustrating me.
“If our schedule wasn’t as busy, then I’d be happy…”
“When I move to my new apartment, then I’ll be more content…”
“When I get to the next season of life, then I’ll have more peace…”
Stephen Covey refers to this as “The ‘Have’s’ and the ‘Be’s'”… The “have’s” are outside of control, the “be’s” are in our circle of influence. For example, I can’t change our schedule currently (in some cases we can, and should) but I can change my attitude by looking at what l can influence.
I can be loving, encouraging, and seek to serve amidst the busyness.
I can be content where I live now… and thankful! (I can also keep praying about where the Lord would want me to live next, research apartments and keep saving money so I’m prepared when the time comes.)
I can be a faithful employee, doing diligently and joyfully the work I’ve been given.
I can love my family now and serve them, seeking to love them like Christ and keeping my eyes on Him.
As I’ve been focusing on what I can do – even just writing it out again now here, I feel encouraged and empowered.
Stephen Covey says, “It is not what others do or even our own mistakes that hurt us the most; it is our response to those things. Chasing after the poisonous snake that bites us will only drive the poison through our entire system. It is far better to take measures immediately to get the poison out.”
In 2015, let’s stop chasing the snakes and start dropping to the feet of Jesus. He’ll give us wisdom to know what to do. His Word will give us Truth to focus on. And His Spirit will empower us to live and love our friends, kids, coworkers, spouses and strangers.
Take 2 minutes and reflect: What are your “have’s” and how can you change them to “be’s”?