Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Starting a New Life


Yesterday we talked about seeking guidance when making decisions. Every decision we make should be brought to the Lord for His input in the decision making process. Only then can we be confident that we are following His will.  Since I have that valuable lesson under my belt, it’s time to move on in Og Mandino’s principles for changing your life. Scroll One is “Today I begin a new life”. 

I've had several "lives".  Lives as a daughter, a wife, a mother.  My most important "life" began when I was in fifth grade.  One warm spring afternoon I was sitting alone in the front porch swing going over the events of the spring revival at our church.  Almost all of my Sunday School class had made the walk down the aisle professing their faith during the revival.  Several of them had encouraged me to come with them because “everyone was doing it”.  That didn’t seem like the right reason to do it so I sat all alone in the pew while everyone else was congratulated for making this life changing decision.  After I replayed everything and thought about the sermons we had heard, I remember looking up to the beautiful blue sky and saying “Lord, I believe.  I believe that you sent your Son to die on the cross and save me from my sins.” It was a day that I remember so vividly 40 something years later.  I had claimed the new life promised to me in the book of Romans.
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:4)
Now, I’m two years into retirement several years earlier than I had envisioned.  I suffer from Fibromyalgia, Myofasical Pain Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Peripheral Neuropathy and edema. Life is nothing like it was four or five years ago. My days are spent dealing with chronic pain and fatigue.  Some days are not so bad and I can almost forget that I have these problems.  Other days I can barely move to get out of bed and doing anything productive is not going to happen.  I will admit it.  It’s been hard to accept.  I don’t want to accept it.  I have to accept it.  God has a plan for the next stage in my life.  If I am to remain in His will, then I have to accept it and move on with my life.  I am claiming the promise of 2 Corinthians 5:17 as the next step of my new life.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!”

Now that I've made up my mind that it is time to begin the next chapter in my life, where do I start?  How do I do it?  Praying for guidance has to be first and foremost in my mind. I have to trust God that with His help that I am capable of building a new life. Philippians 4:13 has long been my life verse:” I can do everything through him who gives me strength”. I’ll be repeating that verse over and over again along this journey as I reject the idea of failure.  I refuse to accept failure!   Since failure is not a possibility, I’ll be praying for guidance and learning from the wisdom of those who have gone before me. My life has changed.  It’s been hard to accept.  I don’t want to accept it.  I have to accept it. 

One thing I’ve realized is that I procrastinate a lot. Previously, I never procrastinated.  I wanted things done and marked off my to-do list.  Now procrastination is the first habit that I have to get rid of.  I believe that a good bit of my procrastination is due to being afraid to fail. I'm not accustomed to failure so if I don’t start a project then I can’t fail.  I’ve lost a lot of self confidence since I’ve been ill. My short term memory can be nonexistent some days and the pain and neuropathy hinder my ability to do many things.  These are real stumbling blocks but I have to overcome them and quit putting things off.  I looked up procrastination and when I was reading about it on Wikipedia, it was like someone had been watching me.  Here’s what it said:

The tense-afraid type of procrastinators usually feel overwhelmed with pressure, unrealistic about time, uncertain about goals, and many other negative feelings. They may feel a sense of malaise. Feeling that they lack the ability or focus to successfully complete their work, they tell themselves that they need to unwind and relax, that it's better to take it easy for the afternoon, for example, and start afresh in the morning. They usually have grandiose plans that aren't realistic. Their 'relaxing' is often temporary and ineffective, and leads to even more stress as time runs out, deadlines approach and the person feels increasingly guilty and apprehensive. This behavior becomes a cycle of failure and delay, as plans and goals are put off, penciled into the following day or week in the diary again and again. It can also have a debilitating effect on their personal lives and relationships. Since they are uncertain about their goals, they often feel awkward with people who appear confident and goal-oriented, which can lead to depression. Tense-afraid procrastinators often withdraw from social life, avoiding contact even with close friends.
My life has changed.  It’s been hard to accept.  I don’t want to accept it.  I have to accept it.  I pressure myself, setting unrealistic time lines without being clear what it is I really want to accomplish. I end up accomplishing nothing but disappointing myself becoming as frustrated as I was when I did something but didn’t accomplish what I set out to do.  In my new life, that has to change.  Procrastination is a time waster and a stress builder that I don’t need in my life.  It is out the door – gone from my life!

My life has changed.  It’s been hard to accept.  I don’t want to accept it.  I have to accept it.  To be successful with making the change, I have to form good habits to help me in my new life.  Habits, good or bad, are who you are.  They control your life if you let them.  By learning to control my habits, I can make constant progress toward my new life.  I’ve often read that if you focus on a new habit for thirty days it will become a part of you.  In that length of time, your brain should be conditioned for the new habit to be part of your life without even thinking about it.  At this stage there is a chance of problems throwing you off so you still have to be diligent in adding the habit to your life. After ninety days, the changes you have made are a part of your life to the point that without it, things are difficult. At the one year point, it’s firmly established as part of your life.  These new changes need to be simple so that they can be consistently achieved every day.  To accomplish this, I’ll will pray for guidance and help in putting these changes to work.  God transforms our hearts when we accept him into our live.  He will change our lives as well. “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (Revelation 21:5)

My life has changed.  It’s been hard to accept.  I don’t want to accept it.  I have to accept it. I will make a new life with God's help.

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