Sure you are busy. Sure you have limited energy. Sure there are headwinds. Sure things get complicated and messy. Of course you can’t control everything. Naturally there are people and systems and structures that get in the way. Sure it seems like everything you do is already determined and programed for you and you have no margin or room for changes. But wait a minute. Stop with all the reasons why things are the way they are and how they aren’t the way you want them to be. Pause and think for just a minute: what are you tolerating?

What are you putting up with and making excuses for? What are you denying that you really have the power to decide and determine? What are you truly capable of doing and making happen? You know what it is and that it isn’t happening.

Why are you tolerating that?

You probably don’t need permission to make the change.If you make the change you would probably be surprised at the number of people who say, “It’s about time! We’ve been waiting for this to happen!” You will probably find out that there is less push back than you imagine. You may have even conjured up this huge collection of opposition that really doesn’t even exist.

So maybe the resistance isn’t “out there” but it is really “in here!” Maybe you are the one who has been the biggest obstacle. Perhaps you have been the one who has gotten in the way of the healthy change. What has been the real problem? Why are you stopping yourself? What are you afraid of? How much more time are you going to waste with that?

Why are you tolerating that?

If you move forward with the change you will have to see yourself differently. You will view yourself as someone who is now doing it this way instead of that way.

It may feel like you will be admitting that the way you were before was wrong and that you were wrong. It may feel like how you were and what you did for so long was a waste of time and that you are embarrassed or even ashamed. But keeping on the wrong track makes even less sense. So if not now, then when? When will you make the change from what you have been tolerating?

Perhaps you know you need to make a change but you are not exactly sure how this will turn out. That’s not a surprise. That’s life. You know it is the right thing so get started. You can figure it out along the way or “build the bridge as you walk on it.” There are lots of people who would gladly help you if you have the courage to ask. There are plenty of resources, wisdom, help and support. Just like you have come to see and admit to what you are tolerating, open your eyes to the possibilities and see it as an adventure of faith where you watch what God can do as you are faithful.

You don’t have to eat the whole elephant at once. Whatever it is that you are going to do you don’t have to do it all at the same time. You also don’t have to plan everything out ahead of time. Take one small positive intentional step at a time. You can take it slow but steady. Be determined and consistent. Set goals. Make it happen. Then one day you will find yourself being in a different place than you were.

Don’t be surprised if it is one step forward, two steps back. Keep getting up, keep reflecting, be sure to learn what happened and what knocked you back and get back up and get busy. 

Don’t travel this road alone. That can breed the attitude of resentment and feeling like a martyr. Being alone can leave open the space of giving up and failure and throwing in the towel. Rather find your fellow travelers who can help you get up, help you reflect, help you be determined along the way, help you trust God and believe in the gifts God has given you. Gather fellow travelers will encourage you and believe in you and love you because they are also convinced that you are more than you have allowed yourself to accept. They don’t want you to tolerate it anymore either. Sometimes they will be family. Sometimes fellow staff. Sometimes fellow believers, a pastor or maybe someone outside your circle, like a counselor or a coach.

So how will 2019 be different? It’s really up to you. You are more in charge than you think you are. Go after it. You can do it. Then some day soon, by God’s grace you will look back and rejoice in Him.

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Scott Gress is called by Lutheran Counseling Services and partners with the FL-GA District of the Lutheran Church as an independent contractor. He specializes in Leadership Training, Consulting, Coaching and Coach Training. Contact Scott to continue the conversation or experience a free sample coaching session. 561-542-4472, scottgress@me.com or scottgress.com

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