“Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” – Phil 3:13,14 [MSG]
The Light Bulb Is Officially On!
Feet don’t move unless thoughts are 100 steps ahead. Literally! I am convinced that if I don’t venture ahead of myself into the future bold and unafraid, I will stay stuck in the present and it will soon become the past. I’ll be scared and shivering like a lost puppy. Why? Because the world can be intimidating, people can be mean, and life can throw you curve balls. After you share out loud that you’re interested in change, and then make steps toward it, you may discover a lot of things begin to set themselves against your attempts to #improve. Especially if your change is a game changer.
“You just have to decide that a better you is more vital, and being trapped in a cycle is too expensive.”
I’ve come to understand that I’m purposed to be amazing, but understanding is powerless without a will to act [James 2:17]. To get anywhere in life I have to make a start and commit; trusting that even if I don’t totally know where I’m going, I have in my mind’s eye where I deserve to be and won’t stop until I see it. If I’m not my best cheerleader I will talk myself out of change every day. This was my issue after Grad school; I temporarily stopped cheering for myself.
Post degrees, student debt, emotional roller coasters and life losses, I had friends and family watching me like it was showtime at the Apollo; waiting to see what I would do with my life. There was an expectation from everyone for me to #improve but no one had what I needed to kick-start the process.
When you’re used to getting an outline for life:
- GCSEs by 15 1/2
- A Levels at 17
- Shift Continents at 18 [UK – -> US]
- B.A. by 23 and M.S. by 27
and then without warning BAM! reality changes the rules?!? (fired months before graduation) and the cheat sheet gets torn to shreds right in front of my face.
So there I was with a crippled #improvement mechanism. I had started well but then the unexpected hindered me in my race [Gal 5:7] and suddenly being better felt like more of a fight than an exciting experience. Everyone was expecting me to find another job and continue making money. Everyone felt they could offer solutions and advice to help. And it was awesome that everyone believed I could #improve, but their patience wore thin on my victory when things weren’t turning. Life happened hard for me and unless you were really paying attention you wouldn’t notice that my joy had gone mute with it.
Unable to speak to my destiny and blinded to foresight, #improvement went ghost [or so it seemed]. I didn’t feel like the girl on top of the world anymore. And when everyone expects but there’s no lift in your spirit this is where God’s hands enter stage right as THE lifter [Psalm 3:3].
Doors I tried to open wouldn’t, and opportunities presented required way more giving than the getting being reciprocated. So I’m pushing to #improve my current situation but it feels like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place. You can be smart, stunning, talented and a promising addition to modern society. Or overlooked and underestimated with potential hidden beneath your beautiful. No matter what hand you’re dealt you can still find yourself at a loss if you don’t know how to become your change.
“There are many bodies in the ground and their potential got buried with them!” – Bishop A.J. Wright
Through these 6 points on #improving I will map out my life lessons. Hoping you can find something useful and close this blog post knowing that it honestly doesn’t matter where you start out in life, but it does matter on the steps you choose to be your best you.
1. #improving is not a race
Wanting to be better can be influenced by different things, but the journey is not a race because everyone’s destination is different. Even if we’re both setting out to drop 50 pounds before summer of 2017, your body shape could be a pear and mine with less curves. And maybe you have diabetes while I’m allergic to nuts. We can covet / be jealous of someone else’s better, or see someone at their worst and want to judge their wounds, but if we can’t appreciate the process we won’t comprehend the downpayment. Rushing to be the first is not what’s most important, I do however desire to be on time. God has allotted time and seasons for every stage of life [Eccl 3:1-8] and I don’t wish to experience the sting of regret because I missed my window of opportunity.
No matter how many things you feel you need to accomplish in life it’s important to pace yourself; be patient and understand that every life experience is producing something [Romans 5:3,4]. Detours, rest stops and re-routing can and will make their guest appearances on your way to being better, but if you know how to operate at each turn you’ll still make it to where you’re supposed to be. Not when expected but when it’s right.
2. #improving can be frustrating
The list of ‘things to do’ can get long and look daunting, but attitude really does make all the difference in the world. There can be certain things which can and will tick you off especially when openly sharing / living out your change.
People have opinions, situations bring distractions and circumstances act as barriers. But God says we can #improve anyway [Phil 4:13]. An abundant life is our right and a gift [John 10:10] but the road to abundance was never promised as a free ride or an easy journey. Be smart about what you share and with whom [Matt 10:16], and submerge everything in prayer including your emotions and your words [Proverbs 21:23]. There will be some days where you’re just NOT feeling it, but with the right attitude, you’ll find strength to push anyway.
Encourage yourself and embrace error as you #improve because along with everything else that comes from the outside, you yourself are liable to misjudge and falter. And even in that you give grace to yourself, forgive and keep moving. If you feed the wrong attitude / emotions before you know it you’re a broken record, literally, and your road to better has become an archived experiment that you’ll maybe pick up again when the next New Year rolls around. Attitude is everything!
3. #improving never stops unless you do
Being passionate and determined are lethal weapons in the heart of a person who is ready to progress. Connecting with point two about having the right attitude, if thinking about a better me gets me excited then I have to submerge my life with as many things as possible that will keep my feet in motion, and if my feet must stop then my mind still has to stay fixed on the vision [Proverbs 4:25].
I know that if I can constantly see where it is that I’m supposed to be going I can train my thoughts to not accept what doesn’t look like #improvement [Hebrews 11:1]. Have faith, stay motivated and keep your goals before the Lord; ask Him even for the blueprint. If He’s already promised then He knows the way [Job 23:10] and all that’s needed is sharper listening skills and an obedient heart [James 1:22; Isa 1:19].
4. #improving demands responsibility
You can trip and then crash during your transition to #improve if you’re fixated on the wrong motivator; for me there were several. Shifting the power of accountability enables you to view #improvement as a personal responsibility and not count others as liable for your success or demise. Some people and some things just aren’t meant to be apart of the magic. And it’s not because everybody sucks (although some people can be very convincing of that trait). Simply everyone’s just not equipped and they shouldn’t be blamed for that. For others, they’re happy in their ‘now’ and never asked to be a part of your ‘next’. So if they don’t want it why expect them to go with you? None of us were promised life partners throughout the journey. #improvement is personal, the results impact many but it’s dependent on YOU.
5. Give yourself permission to #improve
It felt like forever before my desire to #improve was lit and stayed that way. Even after finally getting another job, having a wealth of knowledge on faith and discussing interests and goals with various individuals. Even after writing down what I wanted and daring to start speaking destiny again. I was full on talk with little guts for life action; I was afraid to give myself permission.
You’re allowed to #improve because everyone can’t have everything. There’s a piece of joy that’s reserved for each of us that we all deserve to rest in, irrespective of the dominate and conquer mentality we are fed in Western civilization. Not certain how civilized it is to desire someone be less in order for me to be greater. We all can get a piece of the action and be satisfied while also celebrating our neighbor if we knew and understood exactly what was designated for us specifically.
Allow yourself to wear that hairstyle if it fits your face. Allow yourself to go for that degree if you have the capacity to learn and then earn. Permit yourself to access new territory even if no one else is like you and it’s never been done.
So I’m Running For My Life!
My light bulb didn’t switch on until I got my insight back and it stayed on when I decided to lock in my vision on the future, independent of myself or outside influences. Present life circumstances can and will throw monkey wrenches, old shoes, banana peels and stinky diapers (or nappies depending on your side of the Atlantic) into your mix. I made the list random because life can literally get that interesting. But when it get’s interesting the WORST thing you can do on your journey to #improving is stop and / or give up. Remain constant in your change and #improve in everything that’s meant for you!