Life is a funny thing… you can have years of wonderful ease and predictable pattern, then bam, just like getting hit with a bus your life is not your life, and everything familiar is gone. As you may know, almost a year ago my world rapidly changed with the announcement of my layoff from a job I loved.
Initial reaction was much like the stages of grief = anger, bargening, acceptance. (My old Sociology professors would be proud of me to remember the Kuebler Ross stages of grief…) But a year later I can tell you I have learned several lessons that turn this possible crisis around and indeed it was fortuitous in my life. Here are the lessons I now carry with me:
1. When it all seems the most bleak you will always find out who your friends are. Good and true friends run to you, wrap their arms around you, and pray you through. I am very thankful to know who is there for me, and who is willing to walk along side me, or take that call where I just need to vent. Thank you to each and every person who has been and will be there for me. I want to live this out and be there for you too.
2. How you view the events of your life can either breath life into you or disable you. Being layed off a job intially felt very personal, very literally rejected by a select group of people. The reality is that it was probably very personal but I have amazing talents and gifts that are not appreciated by that group. Had I continued in that routine job I would have never realized how creative and capable I am nor would I have allowed my life to be stretched out of the box.
3. Never confuse what you do for a living with what your purpose is on this earth. There are certainly times when the physical work you do is tethered to the purpose you have on the earth. Some of us are blessed to know from childhood what we want to do, and what we are good at… others (like me) try on many hats, and often work using some of our skills and abilities, but never fully harness what we were designed to do. Learn what energizes you, learn what others tell you you are good at… and this is a good indicator of what you were designed to do in this life.
4. Never ever loose the wonder of simple life. You could have a million bucks in the bank and be miserable, or you can have nothing and be miserable if you focus on that. Find joy in each day – the smile of a baby, the gentle breeze on your face, the smell of fresh flowers, or tomatoes freshly picked from the garden. The simple joy of conversation, of cherishing the boquet of friends you have, of watching the stars at night, or the clouds dancing in the sky.
5. Life is too short to hold grudges, or not forgive others. It is an old lesson, but after I lost my job I wrestled with that issue majorly. The truth is the more I wrestled with holding negative thoughts about others the less I moved forward. It was like I was shackled to them, unable to move. I love freedom. I love the thought that I have been forgiven for all the things in my life that were wrong, or offensive… and I need to share that freedom with others. Forgiveness starts as a thought, but must be a consciencious intention to think in this way, make a decision to forgive, and allow the emotions to catch up. You are only responsible for your own thoughts.
6. Heal the past, live the present and dream the future. It is a saying on a magnet on my refrigerator, but there is a depth of thought to that little slogan. Until we find and deal with issues of the past we are not free to live in the present, or focus on the future. This year has been a lot of healing the past. No, I don;t have a crazy wild life to get over, but I do have baggage, just like you do. But it is good to evaluate, and deal with the hurts of the past and MOVE ON!!! The most important part of this idea for me has been renewing the desire to be an active participant in the here and now, relishing everything I experience and do. and more than that, dream a dream, and move toward it. Dreams are gifts – not all of them are fulfilled, but when they are it is like christmas morning. Amazing.
7. Dreams take courage. In my case the security of a predictable paycheck has given way to a business plan, and the success or failure of my income directly tied to the success or failure of myself to market the business. I must admit that I like predictable, stable, reliable, routine…. but I am becoming very fond of the adventure of building a business, of trusting God to open doors that I cannot open, and of knowing that in perfect timing opportunities come. There is a kind of adrenilin rush when what you dreamed, and hoped for becomes reality. Dreams take courage.
8. Never look at the past, but always look to the future. A favorite author of mine has a fabulous quote that helps hone the thought: “Driving with your eyes on the rearview mirror is difficult indeed.” – Seth Godin. For anyone who has ever either learned to drive or tried to teach someone the first and most important point of driving is to keep focused forward (unless you are backing up) and your eyes on the road ahead. It is a great life lesson to not get stuck looking to the past, but keep the eyes ahead – in the direction you are moving. A side lesson is that you will usually go in the direction your eyes focus… hmm, that makes sense.
So that is some of the whit and wisdom I am learning, embracing and processing in my life. I have alot more thoughts, but for now I think this was a good attempt to document some of the lessons. Hope this encourages you like it is has me. Thanks for reading.