Change is a process we move through as we live out our days in this uncertain journey we call life.
One of the most fundamental elements common to all life is movement. Those who have mastered this truth understand how to lean into life each day, hugging and embracing the growth and development process. In other words, the most successful people have developed the habit of living in the moment, forgetting what is behind, moving into and living in the next moment life provides.
Without movement, you will die and the change process often requires much movement.
Most of us have heard unfortunate stories about survivors caught up in tragic life events. Whether plane crashes in the mountains, car accidents in the cities, storms and weather-related natural disasters, almost all the survival stories routinely have one thing in common: They all kept moving, embracing the changes that were happening all around them in such a way they kept them alive in the moment and moving forward into the next moment.
They understood the changes that were taking place around them and the need to transition from passive observer to proactive responder. This approach changes the emphasis from the tragic events to how you will personally will respond and embrace those events, in such a way that keeps you fully in the moment and purposely and intentionally moving through the uncertainty to be able to live and experience the reality of moving forward in the change process.
Sometimes life changes can feel a lot like driving through mud. Getting stuck is easy, but getting unstuck usually requires admitting you’re in a rut and willingly acknowledging the positive benefits of allowing yourself to be helped out.
I used to have this cool 4×4 Jeep. I loved it. One night after a lot of rain, a friend shows up at my office. He’d been camping and his minivan was stuck in the mud. When I showed up and saw all the mud, I was elated. The road into the campsite was 100 yards long and looked like quicksand. He was worried if my Montero would be able to pull his van out. We hooked up the chains and rehearsed our strategy. I gave him the thumbs-up sign as I climbed into my Jeep.
It wasn’t pretty. There was mud flying everywhere as the Jeep pulled that van all the way back to the paved road. My Jeep was totally covered in mud. It was an awesome sight, but not nearly as priceless as the look of relief that continued forming on my friend’s face as the reality of being unstuck settled over his being.
Sometimes the change process and forward movement are about being a strong enough person to know when and where to embrace your natural supports.
Good, bad and ugly are all par for the course we call life. But growth, development and the process of moving forward require you to be fully present in the moment; experiencing and taking in all that’s occurring for the express purpose of transitioning to the next phase in the journey. Change is the one constant that is here to stay whether you want it or not.
But there is one change you always have control over. You can choose to change how you understand and view everything that’s going on around you.
By changing how you think, you put yourself in a position that moves you away from perpetuating the problem and toward being part of the solution.
This kind of forward-thinking process is exactly what empowered my friend to reach out to someone with a 4×4 to get his van out of the mud.
This is why I share with people who are stuck in emotional mud or traumatic ruts, “I’m not nearly as concerned with what’s happened in your life as I’m concerned with what you actually think and believe about what’s happened.”
To the degree you change your thought processes, you begin changing how you believe. To the degree you change how you believe, you will reshape how you behave and act. To the degree you behave and act differently, you will transition and move into a life experience where you are more than a survivor. You are a soul shaper who hasn’t become your story, but has put your life experiences in their proper place,
Understand that life changes and tragedies have happened to you, but they are not allowed to define you or prevent you from moving into a more meaningful and purpose-filled life.
Dr. T.J. Kimble of Radcliff is a clinical pastoral counselor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.