The last year has been a series of transitions. While I understand their importance, I dislike them. They’ve left me frustrated and exhausted. I’m a CAPRICORN. We are goal oriented. I’m at my best when I can “check off” goals I’ve achieved. It shows I’ve accomplished something. Lately, I’ve fallen short of those check lists. I’ve been grieving the loss of my home and job. While I haven’t sat down to write down some kick-ass achievable goals, I was led to looking at why I couldn’t.
The loss of my home and job left me anxious. Although my therapist gave me strategies to get over these losses, I kept returning to them. I kept replaying the day of my eviction and job loss. Both of those situations violated my personal space. They also destroyed my confidence. Internally, I could feel my confidence returning. It was fragile. I needed to strengthen it. I didn’t know how, until Christmas.
I go to church on a daily basis. I attend Mass 6 days a week and go to a Christian church on Sundays. I’ve gotten to love church. I see the importance of it. It fills me up. I feel empty when I’m unable to attend. The pastors of both churches have inspired me to take risks, and know that the end result is in God’s hands.
Xmas was different this year. I knew I had to protect myself by not getting caught up in the nostalgia. I also knew that church would be my leverage and “safety net.”
I attended Mass on Christmas Eve and Day. Both days were instrumental in setting a goal for myself. It involved a sermon about Jesus’ mother Mary.
Our pastor is good with sermons. He can take a complex topic and break it down to make it functional. He didn’t disappoint. He explained that when Mary was told she’d be the mother to the Savior, that she had to continue to say “yes” to the idea that she’d be responsible for the most important part of history that the world, and churches, have ever seen. (Mary was only 14 years old when the angel came to her and told her that she’d be the mother of Jesus.) When the angel told her she’d be with child without the conventional way, she trusted God and said “yes.” Once Jesus was born, and she and Joseph saw the importance of Jesus and his life mission, she continued to say “yes.” Each “yes” brought her closer to fulfilling God’s plan. If she hadn’t said “yes” to all the small things God had in store, we’d never have things like the Holy Spirit and the resurrection.
When you think of how God’s plan involved someone so ordinary, you gotta think that trusting His plan and saying “yes,” really was the best way to approach Mary and Jesus’ destinies.
As our pastor broke this down, it dawned on me that each time I said “yes” to small things, that not only could I be like Mary, but I could overcome the devastation I encountered with the loss of my home and job.
The next day I started my plan. I’d say “yes” to God’s plan for 30 days. I knew that if I chunked things down in small, manageable steps, I’d be successful. I began each day in gratitude. I would say aloud 10 things I was grateful for. In addition, I would say aloud, “I’m saying YES to you God.” I started with things like locking the car at night. (In the past, my doors froze, making entry challenging. With a new “1 day at a time plan” I rationalized that the car would not be stolen (or the doors would freeze.) I also incorporated things like going to lunch with my friends. In the past, I rationalized that I didn’t have the money. I DID have the money but I was so caught up with “lack and loss” that I continued to think in terms of the glass half empty vs. half full.
Each day, I journaled my progress. If I didn’t feel any anxiety, I had a “good day.” In addition, I put a “GD” on each day I succeeded. The “GD” represented “Good Day.” When I got to the 30th day, I recognized that I could accomplish MORE than I thought. In a nutshell, if I took each day as it came, stayed PRESENT in the moment, and didn’t project “future fears” I was successful.
I won’t lie. I REALLY had to work on this. I didn’t want to fuck up. Thirty consecutive days was the goal. There was no turning back. If I didn’t achieve the goal, I HAD to START OVER. My incentive through this journey was that when I was secure with my home and job, I never thought about shit like this. HOWEVER, the emotional and psychological scars from losing things that defined me (i.e. home and job) had me “by the balls” and kept me in a negative cycle. I had to do something that showed me PROGRESS. This activity did it!
My Christian pastor shared a testimony that stayed with me. He’s been in charge of his church for over 15 years. It has been successful and profitable. He shared that even at this stage of his life, he is still scared to do things. BUT, when God guides his steps, he takes a “leap of faith” and does it. He’s learned that he can’t solve spiritual problems the same way and expect the same results. Each time, he’s faced with a new problem, he HAS to solve it differently.
I guess I have to do things this way from now on . . . DIFFERENTLY, and with TRUST IN GOD.
Questions for You: 1) What current situations leave you anxious? 2) How are you handling them? 3) Is this way working for you? 4) What do you have to do to get a better result?