I had an interesting realization recently.
That even when we desperately want change, we can actually be resistant to it happening.
I remember, a long time ago, when I was in the throws of severe social anxiety, someone (I think it was a therapist) asked me, “What are you getting out of your anxiety?”
I think I probably looked at her like she was out of her mind, because I thought, what in the world could I be getting out of this?? It’s awful!! I wanted so desperately to feel “normal” again. To stop feeling so panicky and to be free to do all the things that it seemed like everyone else around me was doing.
But, even though I didn’t quite get it then, I get it now.
It’s not really in relation to anxiety anymore, because thankfully, I am pretty much past that. But, there were plenty of other areas in my life that I wanted to see change, yet on some unconscious level, was actually afraid of them changing. Areas like my finances, my career/calling and my incessant worrying and need to control situations.
They were all areas that I wanted to see “breakthrough” in, yet I kept thinking the illusive breakthrough was going to be when the situation changed. When more money showed up, when my career took off or when things stopped making me fearful or worried.
But, what God finally got through my often-thick head (after working on me for quite awhile), was that I am the breakthrough. I am the change. My heart, my thoughts, my attitude. Those things can change right now - no matter what the circumstances look like around me. I can be different within them.
And the same goes for you.
What escaped me for so long about this though was that I was actually resistant to the change. Even though I wasn’t really consciously aware of it. I just knew that something deep down inside of me “fought” against things being different.
Even though the things that would be different were all things I wanted. To use the example of anxiety again - I may have desperately wanted to have a “normal” life again and not to feel so panicky all the time. But, what my therapist was trying to get me to see back then, is that even though I hated it with a passion, I was also getting something out of it.
I was also able to use anxiety as a crutch. I could use it to get out of things. To not have to take chances. I could use the anxiety as a reason to stay in my comfort zone. In fact, I started referring to it as exactly that, “my anxiety.” I was taking ownership of something that I hated!
Which is why I’m so mindful now of the words I use and so passionate about teaching others about the same thing. Don’t say “my anxiety,” “my depression,” “my anger.” It may be something you are wrestling with, but it is NOT who you are.
Even though I don’t really struggle with the anxiety as much now, I do still wrestle with worry and control. (After all, I am my mother’s daughter and she was a world-class worrier.) But, it wasn’t until God went real deep in my quiet time one day and showed me what that was all about, that a lightbulb finally went off.
I worried because worry felt like control. And control was the only way that I could stay “safe.”
Except, the control and the safety were nothing but illusions. Let me explain.
I actually had a deep down, underlying belief that if I worried about something enough, then I’d stay in control. If I worried enough about a bill or my health, then somehow, I was still in “control” of it. And would therefore, be safe from something catching me off guard. But, if I just let go of the worry (and therefore, control), I’d be exposed… vulnerable. And then something or someone bad could blindside me.
Does that make sense?
I mean in the nonsensical way of making sense?
It’s a false form of control because it’s what we’re used to. It’s what’s familiar and what’s comfortable. Even if it’s actually UNcomfortable.
I have always hated how much power fear and worry have had over my life (especially after my mom passed away and I vowed to not live in fear like she had), but I hadn’t realized that even though I hated it, it was also the only way I knew to live. To survive.
Living without worry felt like trying to learn to breathe all over again. It made my head hurt and my whole reality shake.
I realized that the resistance I felt toward change - in my business, my finances, my relationships, my very existence - was because it’s unfamiliar.
I’ve always liked to practice things. I’m a rehearser.
If I’m going to have a conversation with someone, I rehearse it in my head 50 times before I actually talk to them. If I have to give a presentation or go to an event, I like to know what the layout of the place looks like in advance. I like to know where I’ll be standing, how many people will be there, where the bathrooms are and what the temperature of the room will be. (Okay, I’m exaggerating a little. But, not really.)
But, that’s the thing about change. It’s different. It’s new.
We can’t practice the new or rehearse the new, because it’s new.
We can’t go over what it will feel like because we’ve never felt it before. We can’t practice what it will look like because we’ve never seen it.
But, we can’t let that hold us back from experiencing it.
There comes a time when even though the change feels scary, even though we don’t know what it’s going to be like or even be sure that we’ll be able to handle it, we have to walk into it anyway.
Because the only thing that’s worse than walking through the pain and discomfort of change, is the pain of staying where we are.
It may be uncomfortable for awhile. It may be challenging. Heck, it may feel like you’ll never be able to make it to the other side.
But, you can and you will.
You just have to be willing to throw your arms up in faith and take the first step.
Because after that first step is another one. And another one after that. And they’re all leading you toward the life you were meant to live. The one you were made to live.
So, go ahead and take the step. Even if you’re afraid. Even if you feel like you might throw up or break down in tears.
Take the step.
Make the change.
You can do it.
Your new life is waiting. And it’s going to be amazing.