Picture your whole existence being a treasure map and you following the clues to the prize.
Most of us wake up in the morning with a routine. We have a hot or cold morning beverage, get children off to school or homeschool, exercise, read, pray, watch the news, or walk our dog, etc. Whatever you do, you are probably a creature of old habits—you commute to work the same way, etc. Now, imagine changing one thing you do every day. One tiny thing. Even letting a new person into our world changes our world. If you meet a person on the subway, at a book club, a coffee shop, or a conference, and you give them your number or connect on social media, and they respond, you’ve caused a ripple effect. It’s the same with the people we shut out or the decisions we make to look the other way, not answer a text, or phone message, disregard the invite, stop watching the news, stop attending the congregation, drop out of school, etc., This does affect us and others.
Every choice we make is changing our life. Letting one new person in that is toxic can change the dynamics in our home, business, ministry, or family. Depending on who we let in, what roads we travel and what routines we keep, the whole structure changes, and what about the signs sent from above that we pay no attention to? What if we awoke to the tiniest details? The ones we never noticed before.
A few years back, I started questioning every emotion I had. I would stop and ask myself why a blog or book gave me a feeling I did not like. Why was I angry, hurt, envious, happy, joyful, or confused? Why did I not like this person? What was broken in me? Why did certain people make me uncomfortable? What was the root of my many emotions? What needed to be healed in them or me, and why were they like Job’s friends forever trying to heal me? And did I have any business trying to change them? Could I discuss deep things easily with them without them walking away? Did I have freedom to be raw, honest about my faith, my work, my life and so forth. On and on, I went gathering more information about my spirit man and my seat of emotions.
Continuing with this introspection: Certain people in our lives have opened our eyes to new adventures, things we would have never tasted or discovered. At times our relationships can be compared to plants. Picture two plants, one is growing and budding, and one is staying the same or worse, wilting, dying, and in need of water. Change for some of us is scary. Routines are comfortable. Knowing that you can afford gas for work or that the baby formula will be on the shelf are things we don’t think about until we have to. The people in Ukraine had to abruptly think about many things we take for granted, including prescriptions for diseases, water, electricity, food, and safety. It happened suddenly. Soon millions of people had to leave their comforts and go to strange lands with nothing but what they could carry. Sound familiar? Other things happen suddenly. The divorce. The diagnosis. The betrayal. The death of a loved one. The broken family. The trauma. The car wrecks. Every day is filled with new beginnings of some sort. Some bring joy erupting, new locations, new job openings, new careers, new marriages, new babies, and laughter. Some are mundane desert journeys. They all involve waking up and breathing—six feet above the ground.
Today I want you to meditate on taking a new path, having a cup of tea instead of coffee, or vice versa, laying the cellphone down and studying the trees, flowers, and birds singing to welcome the dawn, listening for the still soft Voice of the Creator. Reading something you usually wouldn’t read. Listening to music, you haven’t heard since you were 16 or 35 or? Pulling out an old photo album. Take a new route to work. Join a book club with strangers. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in years. Take a painting or cooking class. Join a gym or swim at the Y. Remove people from your life who were never supposed to be there this long. Wave goodbye like Ruth on a journey from Moab to the House of Bread.
Place boundaries up. Learn to say no. NO! Ask yourself what type of sheep you are. What leaders do you follow and why? How much do they influence you, and how does your spirit man feel inside? Are you closer to the Creator this year than last year? What is your community like? Do you even have a community? Friendships? Are they safe? Can you be yourself? Vulnerable? Do you feel the need to change the people around you? Does it feel exhausting? How big does your platform need to be? Or are you always looking and listening to those standing on platforms instead of listening to your own soul? When is enough? Do you know that you are worthy of love, happiness, and dreams and that you are enough? The world needs you. That is why you are here—walking with purpose. Not a bystander. Happy in your skin. Amazed by the new canvas. A unique palette of colors. Who excites you and inspires you?
The quote above rings true. When people are chasing you, they want something. Hopefully it’s a friendship worthy of honor and trust. Don’t blindly follow a leader or person until you fall off a cliff. Don’t sit on the sidelines for too long. Stop allowing people to micromanage you.
Stop fearing new adventures. Run the 5k for you and no one else. See who shows up at the race and cheers you on. And when you tell people, those in your circle, that you did it, you finished the race after beating cancer, after losing a child, after going bankrupt, after the divorce, etc., notice who doesn’t see you or cheer. Note who has no water for you when you cross the finish line covered in sweat, panting for a drop.
Notice who has an agenda. Notice who isn’t your people and find your people. Throw pebbles in the water. Open the door to vision. Speak the words your spirit needs to hear. Look in the mirror and see yourself as the most amazing creature, created by the Greatest Artist, the creator of all! And start mixing things up a bit. Throw some red with yellow paint to create the sunrise. What excited you as a child. What makes your heart sing? What is your assignment? Does it have to be grandiose, or can you relish in the simplicity of the garden you planted, a dove cooing, a new baby in your arms, the wind in your hair, and the sun setting on the water? Begin again.
Turn the page. Start a new chapter. Find a unique B&B. Rescue an animal or volunteer at a shelter or adopt a child. Set one free. Change the wallpaper, paint color, or pictures on the walls. Remove the plates you’ve been eating on for years and find a thrift store deal or a new set with peacocks, birds, or Spanish moss. Buy a paint by numbers and sit with a grandchild or an elderly parent. Work a puzzle. . Call your family member again, even if they don’t pick up the phone. Say what has been bottled up for years. Do something that changes your world and the whole world one ripple at a time. Before you know it, grey hairs appear, more lines and us fading like a flower that once had a royal hue. Before all our fragrance evaporates, may we send it on the breeze and spritz it from our bottles so the world can experience our time on earth when our bare feet left the womb and learned to walk.