Change can be freaky.
For me, it’s right up there with the fear of something crawling up my leg in the middle of the night. Or going to a stadium, thinking I’m watching a basketball game, only to be tricked into seeing two hours of Stars on Ice. (Yes, both of these are real fears, because both have actually happened to me).
However, change can also be something we become addicted to.
We never stick anything out because we’re always on the elusive search for “perfect”—perfect job, perfect relationship, perfect neighborhood, perfect church, you name it. Then we realize that these places are filled with people, including us, so perfect is far from possible.
So how do we know it’s time to make a big change? How do we know when it’s time to stick in the cubicle or when it’s time to light that thing on fire (metaphorically speaking, of course).
When You’re Swimming in a Toxic Cesspool of Swirling Crazy
Have you ever been in a job, relationship or life situation that has felt like you’re trying to swim upstream through sludge? Well, instead of paddling furiously and putting your head back in the water, maybe it’s time to swim for shore and get the heck out of there.
Sometimes we become so used to the swirling sickness that we can’t even smell it anymore, especially in relationships. Dating relationships can be the trickiest areas to spot the crazy.
I was once in a relationship that I was becoming increasingly sure it was something special, and she assured me she felt the same. Then months later I would find out she was assuring her ex-boyfriend the same thing, as she proceeded to date us both.
Sometimes the feelings of love can blind us to the real nuts and bolts of it. But often, other people can see the truth more clearly than we can. Ask your trusted friends and family if they think it’s time to make a change. (Or, instead of asking yourself “is this The One?” ask yourself these 15 crucial questions when dating instead.)
If you’re paddling around in a swirling cesspool of crazy, it’s time to swim for your life.
When the Path Is Leading You the Direct Opposite Direction of Your Intended Destination
Are you on a well-laid path where you’re making great momentum, yet you’re going the exact opposite direction of where you want to go?
This can be the toughest, scariest and most courageous change anyone can make—when everything on the outside is telling you that you’re doing amazing, yet the real stuff on the inside is trying desperately to get your attention.
We all go down unexpected paths that are full of twists and turns. We don’t see exactly how it will all end up, but we know it’s headed in the general life direction we want to go down. That’s not the path I’m talking about here.
I’m talking about the path where you may know exactly where it’s headed, and it’s not where you want to go. Yet, to leave it would be a sacrifice of finances, comfort and the collection of cool stuff you take pictures of for Instagram.
Making a change to un-wedge yourself is far from comfortable. Yet, God doesn’t call us to live our lives based off stuff and safety. He wants us to live intentionally, pursuing what’s truly important.
As Robert Quinn wrote,“Change is hell. Yet not to change, to stay on the path of slow death, is also hell. The difference is that the hell of deep change is the hero’s journey.”
The most dangerous job you can have is a comfortable one that is slowly floating you away from the things that are truly important to you. The longer you stay in, the harder it is to escape. And the closer you get to the waterfall up ahead.
Honestly, I’ve never wanted to base my life on and definition of adulthood on what’s comfortable. I want to live my life where I’m serving the world my Signature Sauce—the unique mix of ingredients inside of me that gives the world a flavor no one else can. What about you?
You’re Ready to Start With Yourself
Before making a big external shift, what internal changes do you need to make so you don’t make a change that puts you right back into the same situation as before, just dressed up in different clothes?
One of the biggest lies we can tell ourselves is“If Only…” If only I could change jobs. If only I could get married, then I’d be able to really pursue my dreams. Then I’d be happy.
But then you change jobs. You get married. You move to a different city. Then you find yourself just as miserable as before.
Maybe you’re always fantasizing about some big change that’s going to fix everything, when the real, hard, needed change starts with you and the monsters you’re trying to pretend don’t exist in the back of your closet.
Change can be hell. But if you are willing to make the deep changes in yourself before you change your circumstance, those are the changes of the hero’s journey.
Of course, if you’re drowning in a cesspool of crazy, get out of that first. Change the atmosphere. Lay on the shore for a while. Then work on what changes you need to make—mentally, emotionally, spiritually—so you don’t jump into another cesspool of crazy just a little further downstream.
Sometimes, all you can do is surrender to change.
This article was originally published at allgroanup.com. Used with permission.