Have you ever found yourself in your normal routine and you’re doing something you used to really like but you realize you don’t like it anymore? It happened to me a couple weeks ago. What do we do?
Step one is to admit we don’t like it. As the psychiatrist might ask: “How does it make you feel?” We’re not going to make rash decisions based on feelings but we’re not going to deny them either. Feelings are just that, feelings. They aren’t good or bad. The devil didn’t invent emotions. God gave them to us. Like a barometer, they’re good for monitoring our atmospheric pressure.
We need to openly admit that something has changed in the activity or something has changed in us to make us feel unhappy with what we’re doing. If we’re going to move ahead with a healthy attitude, there’s no more room for pretending that everything is okay. Step one: How does the activity make us feel?
Step two is to take a good look at the activity and answer a few simple questions. Often we float through activities without giving them much thought. I was involved in a weight loss program for the past three years. I reached my goal weight, kept it off and developed good eating habits. There came a point when I felt like I wasn’t really learning anything new and the flavor of the weekly meetings soured.
My friend Miki kept asking, “Why are you still going? You don’t need to.” I’d give her some lame answer and just kept on going. (It’s funny how sometimes other people see us better than we see ourselves.) Well, I finally took a closer look myself.
In Quantum physics (for you science buffs) there’s something that relates to what I’m talking about. Atoms consist of electrons orbiting around a nucleus. The electrons exist in a wave state, like a cloud, whirling about the nucleus. That is, until someone looks at it. When the scientist observes it, suddenly the electron appears as a dot or particle and no longer a wave. It can be like that with our lives—things, activities, people and ideas all whirling about us. They don’t take distinct form until we actually observe them.
In step two, once we stop to take a good look at the disagreeable activity, we ask a few simple questions. “Why do I feel this way now, when I didn’t before?” “Has the activity changed?” “Have I changed?” Once we answer these questions we’re ready to move on to Step three.
In step three we ask ourselves, “Even though I’m unhappy with this activity now, is it moving me toward my goals?” If it’s not, then it’s time to pray about dropping it. With the weight loss program, I’d already reached my goals. When I prayed about it, it was okay to drop it right away.
With other things the Holy Spirit may direct us to wait or take baby steps toward leaving the activity behind. Praying for the Lord’s guidance will be essential. We want to be praying for the manifestations of the Spirit according to First Corinthians 12, especially word of knowledge and word of wisdom. If we’re in doubt whether we should keep doing the activity or let it go, then we need to go on to the next and final step four.
Step four is the last step. We ask the question, “Are the benefits of this activity worth the pain to stay with it?” Jesus said, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?” (Luke 14:28 & 31). On a piece of paper or the computer we make a list of the benefits, then a list of the detriments to staying with this activity. We prayerfully take the time to weigh the worth.
We’re half way through 2014. It’s a good time to examine our goals and the activities we’re doing in light of those goals. We ask ourselves, “What are my major goals: in relationships, in work, in exercise and health, in religious and spiritual matters, in finances, in entertainment and relaxation, in hobbies and special interests?”
Then we take each category and observe the activities around each. We make those activities stop swirling like a cloud and instead become clear like the electron dots of an atom. If there are activities we’re unhappy with, we carefully go through the four steps.
Step One: How does the activity make me feel? Step Two: What has changed? Step Three: Is the activity putting me closer to my goal and if not, how do I drop it? Step Four: Is this activity worth the cost?
NOTE: You may want to do this exercise one goal category at a time (bite-sized pieces). That’s what I’m doing, taking one more hefty goal and then the entertainment one, having some fun with it.
PS: This coming Thursday through Monday get your FREE download of WINGS SAMPLE BOOK A. For this sample book I’ve chosen chapters specifically about the POWER OF WORDS to direct our lives. These chapters are true life stories about the tremendous and varied BENEFITS OF CHOOSING WORDS WISELY. There are pertinent questions that go with each story to further help the reader look at his or her life and see HOW to apply the keys for more satisfying and victorious living.