Why is Lasting Life Change is So Elusive?

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You’ve been working on yourself for some time now.

You go to counseling. You’re in church regularly. You’re seeking God, following all the self-discovery and self-care practices you’ve been taught, and making some radical shifts to how you “do you.”

But it doesn’t really seem to stick. You know what I mean? You feel good, eat right and go to yoga for a week, then the next week you binge out. You pray and seek God often, but you still struggle with tremendous bitterness about what you’ve been through. T

he new friends you’ve made are strengthening you … but for every one of them, there’s ten from your old life whose energy drags you down every time you open your social media feed.

Life change is elusive, Sister.

I know you know this. You wouldn’t be here reading this blog if you didn’t sense it in your bones. Know it in your soul. Feel it in the wet fabric of your pillow each night.

I get it. Totally. I was there for more years than I care to admit. Things shifted, yes, but nothing radically CHANGED until I got clear on one small truth that I kept wanting to overlook.

To get and become everything you want, you must say yes to ‘nothing.’

For most of us, I think we come to this healing journey because we desperately want more. More than the oppressive emotional pain. More than the broken relationships. More than the dead-end career or struggling business that is our daily reality. And I do believe God wants more for us. He is calling us to MORE, which is why He has led us to pursue the changes we are trying to make.

And yet.

And yet …

Sometimes we re not fully ready for the impact of what we are asking for.

You see, God knows that it’s impossible for us to have what we really want while we are clutching so tightly to what we actually don’t want. Half a life shift is no shift at all. You cannot have a legitimate resurrection without a legitimate death.

But who really, honestly, actually wants to DIE?

If you find yourself stuck in the middle of your healing journey, trapped halfway between who you were and who you want to be, mark it down. THere is something that must die before you can be reborn. There is something you must drop from your grip so you can receive your destiny with truly open hands. There is a nothing you must submit to so that you can step into everything.

Okay, you get that in theory. But what does it look like?

In my healing journey, there is one simple “trick” God gave me to help jettison myself out of every stuck place. And that was just a simple question:

“What is the ‘empty space’ I am resisting today?”

Invariably, there was a “loss,” a “death,” some kind of emptying I was resisting to. Instinctively, I knew that in order get where I wanted to go, I was going to have surrender that place: to step beyond it and leave whatever was there behind, so I could get to the next level of my destiny.

There’s nothing harder than letting go. Which is why we resist. Do everything else we can. And ultimately, remain stuck.

What could that empty place be for you? I have no idea; I suspect you already do. But in case you’re truly stumped, here are some “nothings” I had to face, in order to receive everything:

  • The “nothing” of space: Cleaning out a lifetime of emotional clutter in the form of stuff in my house that was emotionally dragging me down.
  • The “nothing” of relationships: Releasing boyfriends, exes I still had a “thing” for, and toxic friendships—as gently and kindly as possible—that I kept stumbling over.
  • The “nothing” of dreams: Closing my dream business and giving up on achieving my deepest desires, so that God could put brand new better desires in my heart.
  • The “nothing” of social expectations: Following God’s call into things and places that I knew my friends and family would look down on and reject me for.
  • The “nothing” of self-image: Letting go of my obsession with losing weight, perfecting my skin, getting the right wardrobe and anything else designed to boost my image to others, in favor of practices that made me feel good inside.
  • The “nothing” of finances: Submitting every dollar I had to God, watching Him take it ALL away, and trusting that He would provide for me.
  • The “nothing” of meditation: Returning daily to practices like meditation and yoga even when I struggled to quiet my mind inside, believing that the practice would yield rewards in time.

Did any of these resonate with you? I’m sure there are many more kinds of “nothing!” But I bet you can see something on that list that speaks to at least a part of your situation today.

Any time we are stuck on the healing journey, it’s only and ever becuase we are holding back, unwilling to release something we have been clinging to.

Let’s face it: the empty space can be terrifying. Who wants to sit alone with their thoughts (during meditation), sit alone with four bare walls (after decluttering), sit alone with themselves (after jettisoning the toxic job), or sit alone at the coffee shop (when others reject your choices)?

And yet.

And yet …

Though your healing journey is perhaps the biggest gift God will every give you, the “dirty little secret” of emotional freedom is that you will be required to lay it all on the altar.

Freedom never happens when you’re dragging your past around with you, or a toxic present, or excessive expectations about the future.

True freedom happens when you drop everything you’re clutching so tightly, and submit to the terror of the empty space.

Make friends with Nothing, dear heart, and you will find the change you seek.

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