Tuesday, August 28, 2012

If You Want Your Life to Change, You Have to Change Your Life

This is another blog post where I discuss my thought on another blog post. This one is from Marc and Angle Hack Life, “9 Reasons it’s Time to Move On”- http://www.marcandangel.com/2012/08/27/9-reasons-its-time-to-move-on/#more-499 .

It happens to you slowly as you grow.  You discover more about who you are and what you want, and then you realize that there are changes you need to make.  The lifestyle you’ve been living no longer fits.  The people you’ve known forever no longer see things the way you do.  So you cherish all the great memories, but find yourself moving on.
This article is very timely for me. I mentioned my fundie upbringing in a recent post- “Take Heed Lest You Fall”- but what I didn’t mention is that I have still been attending an IFB (Independent Fundamental Baptist) church, although I don’t think it is as extreme as the ones I attended in my pre-teen and teen years. Still, as the opening mentions, I have been living a lifestyle that no longer fits.
In fact, yesterday at church a girl (and she is still a girl) in her early twenties asked me how I had managed to accept and be content being single when I was in my twenties, after all, every girl wants to get married and have babies. As gently as I could, I said that not all women do feel that way and it happens at different ages for some than for others. My biological clock did not overcome my fears until I was in my (very!) late twenties. (I’ll post more about my fears at some future date I’m sure.) But as to how I had accepted it, I told her that if you want your life to change you have to change your life. I was too scared to change my life and I am a practical enough person to know that. It wasn’t about accepting it; it was just fact. Still, I knew what she was really asking me was for some sort of formula to make her feel better about her life and I couldn’t help here there. I got a job, a real job, with health insurance and paid vacation, but I know that may not be possible for her because of mental and physical limitations. In my junior year, I ditched my non-accredited degree program and re-started my bachelor’s degree at an accredited University. I’ve also discussed this with her before and know that she wants to go to a fundie college and is not willing to compromise with online courses. Maybe I should have told her to get on the internet and start looking for programs that would help her to be able to become more independent. I am sure that they exist.
When I realized that she is looking up to me as an example of how she should act as a single woman in an IFB church, I felt badly that I did not go on to mention the fact that I am making changes because I realize that my life won’t ever change if I keep doing the same things I’ve always done. While getting a job and going to school was a great start, it wasn’t enough. I started reading and listening to differing opinions. About ten years later than the average person, I started making decisions, finding out what I believed, learning who I really was.
Here are nine reasons it’s time…
  1. You can learn from your history, but you can’t live in it. – You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.  Sometimes we avoid experiencing where we are because we have developed a belief, based on past experiences, that it is not where we should be or want to be.  But the truth is, where you are now is exactly where you need to be to get to where you want to go tomorrow.  Read The Power of Now .
  2. Some things aren’t meant to be. – Everything from your past does not belong in your present.  To hold onto relationships and circumstances that have already moved on without you is to stay stuck in a place and time that no longer exists.  Moving on doesn’t mean you completely forget the wonderful things from your past, it just means that you find a positive way of surviving without them in your present.
  3. Life is shorter than is often seems. – While you are complaining about all the little problems in your life, somebody is desperately fighting for their right to live.  You own every minute that you pass through, and that it is up to you to make the best use of each one of them.  Because someday, suddenly, there will be no more minutes.
  4. Holding on to pain is self abuse. – Your past has given you the strength and wisdom you have today, so celebrate it.  Don’t let it haunt you.  Replaying a painful memory over and over in your head is a form of self abuse.  Toxic thoughts create a toxic life.  Make peace with yourself and your past.  When you heal your thoughts, you heal the health of your happiness.  So stop focusing on old problems and things you don’t want in your future.  The more you think about them, the more you attract what you fear into your everyday experiences – you become your own worst enemy.  Read Full Catastrophe Living .
One of the changes that I am making is that I am leaving my fundie church. Because of past pain that I experienced in IFBx church, I purposely became less than I could be in order not to draw attention to myself. I was punishing myself for something that never happened just because people believed that it had. My leaving will hurt some people, including this girl who is looking up to me.
  1. Some things are out of your control. – No matter what happens, no matter the outcome, you’re going to be just fine.  Let the things you can’t control, happen.  Allow the universe to bless you in surprising and joyful ways.  What if, instead of pushing so hard to make life happen, you decided to let go a little and allow life to happen to you?  What if, instead of trying to always be in control, you sometimes surrendered control to something bigger than yourself?  What if, instead of working so hard to figure out every last answer, you allowed yourself to be guided to the solution in perfect timing?
But some things are in my control. I have spent too much time letting go and letting life happen to me. Right now is the perfect time to make this change while I have an “acceptable” explanation for extricating myself from the few areas of service that I allowed myself, areas where I was one of many so all I had to do was not stand out. In my efforts to make my life hospitable to becoming a single mom, I have taken on a second job to help me clear my debt faster. Since this work takes place on weekends in another town, I have just said that I will be attending church there instead. For this girl that looks up to me, maybe this is the best way that I can be an example. Maybe she will find the inspiration to change. If she does not, do I have any responsibility for “failing” her?
  1. The past never changes. – You can spend hours, days, weeks, months, or even years sitting alone in a dark room, over-analyzing a situation from the past, trying to put the pieces together, and justifying what could’ve or should’ve happened.  Or you can just leave the pieces in the dark and walk out the front door into the sunlight to get some fresh air.
I don’t know why my life took the path that it did. I do know that I am tired of staying where it is constantly brought back up to me, even if the person who keeps bringing it up is me.
  1. Moving on creates positive change. – You may blame everyone else and think, “Poor me!  Why do all these crappy things keep happening to me?”  But the only thing those scenarios all have in common is YOU.  And this is good news, because it means YOU alone have the power to change things, or change the way you think about things.  There is something very powerful and liberating about surrendering to change and embracing it – this is where personal growth and evolution reside.  Read The Noticer .
I certainly hope that it will be a positive change for me. The problem is that it seems like when life is at its best that is just when the other shoe drops.
  1. New opportunities are out there waiting for you. – Nobody gets through life without losing someone they love, something they need, or something they thought was meant to be.  But it is these losses that make us stronger and eventually move us toward future opportunities.  Embrace these opportunities.  Enter new relationships and new situations, knowing that you are venturing into unfamiliar territory.  Be ready to learn, be ready for a challenge, and be ready to experience something or meet someone that just might change your life forever.
There really are. Despite this girl thinking that I was so accepting of being single, there are so many times I cried myself to sleep and wondered what was so wrong with me that I wasn’t worthy of a second look from the opposite sex, nights where I cried because someone younger had gotten married or gotten pregnant and I had no hope. Now at a new church in a different or non-denomination, I don’t have to let my past follow me. Maybe there is a guy out there for me. But if not, I know that through the miracle of modern science, I can still have a child if that is what I find that I need to achieve contentment with my life. Maybe I will find contentment in being single and childless.
  1. The world needs you to let your light shine. – The powers above added one more day in your life today, not necessarily because you need it, but because the world still needs you to let your light shine.  So starting today, fall in love.  Not necessarily with a person, but with an aim, an ambition, a passion.  What would be your reason to wake up every morning with a smile?  That’s what you need to start working on today.
The person that I hurt the most by trying to be invisible in my church was myself. I’m not saying that I am a superstar at work or school, but I make good grades and I get excellent recommendations from my coworkers and frequent praise. I know I have the ability to be an asset to a church and not be someone who is invisible. Many who leave their fundamentalist churches find they need the time to sit back and be invisible but I have spent the last fourteen years being invisible and I am ready to let my light shine.

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