Imagine taking a soda straw and a bottle to Lake Tahoe and trying to drain a portion of it to create a piece of dry ground on which to build something solid.
No one in his right mind would do that.
But that’s the equivalent of what we do when we drain ourselves in attempting to change someone else, in waiting for someone to wake up one day and decide to change, or in expecting God to swoop in and perform a particular miracle for which we’ve been praying.
It’s a complete waste of time to put all our time and energy into something that we have no ability to change, improve, or even affect.
When we take all that we have and waste it on someone or something that will return nothing in exchange for our efforts, we continue to live in reactive ways.
Instead, we must do something radical if we want to take our lives back and build meaningful, purposeful, and powerful connections with God and others.
We must change the way we think.
Don’t think: I can change the other person.
Start thinking: I can change myself, no matter what the other person does. It’s not your job to motivate change in other people. But that person staring back at you in the mirror? Start there.
Don’t think: Life will get better when the other person gets better.
Start thinking: My life will get better when I get better. When you stop focusing on everything that is wrong with the other people in your life and you begin to focus on the areas in your own life that need improvement or radical change, life will get better.
Don’t think: I’m trapped.
Start thinking: I may feel trapped, but I still have options. The options you want may not be available today, but if you start working toward making them a reality, you will no longer feel trapped because you will have taken your life back and started to live it in a way that is satisfying and fulfilling.
Don’t think: I’ve tried everything.
Start thinking: I’ve tried everything I know how to try, so it’s time to connect with someone who can show me some better options. If you’re willing to get help and try some new approaches, your future will have a new sense of hope.
Changing our thinking really is transformational in our lives because it takes our focus away from everything in front of us and places it firmly on everything within us.
This is an excerpt from Take Your Life Back by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop pages 131 and 133.