Can you believe it’s March already!?! Crazy! The winds of change are in the air. Literally as the upper 2/3 of Iowa is in a Wind Advisory today, and figuratively during the season of Lent. As an RN, health coach and child of God, I recognize the importance of letting go to allow space for all the goodness God has to offer. But sometimes the thought of letting go can stir up feelings of fear, doubt, possible regret or dread. Any kind of change can be hard. Even when we know the things we want to let go of are hurting us.
I recently came across this quote by Jack Canfield (co-creator of Chicken Soup for the Soul series):
“Let Joy be your compass.”~Jack Canfield
I thought it fit right in to the step-by-step approach I like to use because it allows us to use joy as our compass–and puts God at the helm. Putting Him (and his will) right smack-dab in the middle of process.
Change is hard. We were programed to hang on to things. The Great Depression of the 1930’s instilled a lot of fear of letting go. Today’s marketing is aimed at that fear factor-we have to have X, Y & Z! Our habits are no different. When I ask a client (or myself) what they really want to let go of, I tend to get a laundry list. Or sometimes nothing, as they want to do it all! The tough part is sorting through it and then taking concrete actions (that work for the individual) to help them let go of what isn’t serving them. Only when they let go, can they embrace what they really want. What God wants for them. Let’s take a look a the process I like to use.
Joy as Your Compass
- Write it down-all of it. Just list it, but don’t wallow in it.
- Ask God which ones are the most important to focus on. They might not always be the ones we think are the most important.
- Journal some positive affirmations using this format: Even though I currently (do, think, say, eat, etc., whatever you want to let go of), I choose to ….. (let it go, surrender it to God, come up with a new way, be open to God showing me a new way, feel happy anyway, etc., whatever you’d like to do, feel, have instead).
- Write down how you’d like to feel once you let it go.
- Take a few moments to visualize it has already happened. Feel the gratitude, the joy, the freedom of not being chained to it anymore!
- Notice how God inspires you to think outside the box. You’ll get the perfect idea, someone will say something you have to check out, etc. You’ll know it’s the right way, because you can’t wait to hop on it. You’ll be drawn to it rather than feel like you’re pushing yourself toward it. That’s the Godences (coincidences), your intuition, God inspiring you and will move you forward if you….
- ACT ON IT! Write it down, add a note on your phone, schedule it and then JUST DO IT! (Thanks, Nike 🙂 )
- Reward yourself every time you do it! Do a happy dance, sticker or star on the calendar, share it in our Facebook Group. Journal about it! Whatever works for you.
- Take a moment to thank God & feel the JOY in your accomplishment. It will motivate you to keep going.
Using Joy to Eat Mindfully
I did the above steps and came up with emotional/out of control/mindless eating. A challenge I’ve dealt with my whole life. As a sensitive person, I find I easily get overwhelmed (good things or not) and use food to quell almost all of it. Food (and beverages) are my go-to numbing agent. Lately I’ve been experiencing more indigestion, so I’m focusing on mindful eating during Lent.
I’ve been through counseling and have done countless things in the past, however, I never made God central to my desires in this particular endeavor. Last week, I did the steps (like I was working with a client) and it’s made a noticeable difference.
Don’t get me wrong-its a tough one! I just caught myself trying to eat my lunch while typing the last paragraph! So I stopped. I turned my office chair toward the window, approached the food with all my senses, how my body welcomed the nourishment, savored each bite and did my happy dance, and enjoyed a moment of thanksgiving.
In short, I made the process enjoyable! Exactly what God wants for us. Is it hard to ‘just’ eat? You better believe it is! Nagging thoughts kept popping up, I should be reading something, I need to finish this post, I should at least listen to a podcast, research a topic, find a picture for the post, look at my calendar for tomorrow, start my social media posts, and on and on and on…..
I just kept bringing my thoughts back to the food I was eating–without judgment or beating myself up. The bright green beans & beets (how it looked like Christmas!) The home-made ground turkey and pork bone broth, the hours My Favorite Handyman put into making it food. How my body was welcoming the food, easily breaking it down, absorbing what it needs and quickly letting go of the rest. All while enjoying the view from my upstairs home office window. It will take some practice and accountability from my own health coach and you, but it will also be easier than forcing myself to do it and dreading the process.
How about you? What are you thinking about letting go of? So much time on social media? Other internet sites? TV? Community and organizational commitments that don’t leave enough time to take care of yourself? Negative chatter? Hitting the snooze button? Excuses not to move your body? Physical clutter in your home? (Yep-working on that one too!) Whatever it is, using these steps, letting yourself be led by God and the joy you feel when you think about it be your compass will help you enjoy the journey!