Why is it so difficult to make healthy changes and grow personally in our vocations, our health, our relationships, etc? We easily get stuck in a range of mindsets that undermine our growth and hinder the impact we make.
Here are six common traps. Which ones keep you from moving forward?
Our lives are more hectic than ever yet living at full speed is hardly the abundant life Jesus came to bring. (John 10:10) Our culture puts busyness on a pedestal. Case in point: the commercial enticing you to buy an SUV because it holds all the gear your kid needs for her six different sports. Truth is, busyness keeps us distracted from thoughtfully living for God’s purposes. So how do we say no to all that’s extraneous and yes to what truly matters? It takes FOCUS.
Even though we long to live with greater joy and purpose, our habits carve grooves into Lives one day at a time. Saying yes to life-giving things means saying no to what we find most comfortable, safe, reliable. But growth and transformation can’t happen while we’re camped out on the couch. The cure for comfort is finding what drives us into action, that is, our PASSION.
Webster defines insecurity as the “uncertainty or anxiety in oneself.” Insecurity hit me hard when God called me to attend seminary after a long season focused on raising my sons and volunteering at church. What if it was too difficult for me? What if I failed to take good care of my family? What if I hadn’t heard God’s voice calling me to ministry to begin with? I learned that the only way to conquer feelings of inadequacy was to face them head on. Confronting insecurity builds CONFIDENCE.
Many paths are possible but which is one is best? Fighting confusion means turning on the defrost so we see clearly through the windshield of our lives and envision the road ahead. It means doing the work needed to understand how God uniquely wired us and why He put us here. Only then can we discern how to invest our time and gifts to build God’s kingdom and bring us joy. We desperately need CLARITY.
One-third of Americans now suffer from anxiety, which at is core, is deep, debilitating fear. It stops us dead in our tracks or sends us running in the wrong direction. But we as God’s beloved people need to know fear is not from God. In fact, His love drives out fear. (1 John 4:18) We can have complete confidence in His goodness. His plan is always good–not easy or pain-free–but ultimately for our good and others’ good. Moving forward into the unknown despite our fear grows COURAGE.
Life throws us all curveballs, dreams can be dashed, and hardship upon hardship easily lead to despair. Simplistic as it sounds, when we’ve run out of hope, let’s remember of the The Little Engine That Could’s mantra, “I think I can, I think I can.” That’s the voice of wisdom and hope. And hope never puts us to shame because God’s love has been poured into our hearts. (Rom. 5:5) The seed of growth and transformation is HOPE.
If you’re stuck in an unhealthy mindset, take heart. FOCUS, PASSION, CONFIDENCE, CLARITY, COURAGE & HOPE are all within reach. You CAN find a way forward and discover your God-given purpose, passion and potential. And once you do, the world will never be the same.