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“There’s something wrong with your character if opportunity controls your loyalty” is a quote most of us have either heard or read at some point in our life. But what about when circumstances control your consistency? Is that also a character flaw? In today’s devotional, I’m addressing people who – like me – struggle with steadfastness: people who have difficulty rising above current chaos to look at the brightest side and who more often than not allow the discomfort of the situations they find themselves in throw them off from being consistent in their attitude and progressive action. More specifically, I’ll use work – a place most of us spend the majority of our time either at, preparing for, or driving to – as a foundation for guiding readers through the process of recognizing and treating their issues with consistency…

If you label your work as “work,” more than likely, you don’t enjoy it. This seems to be the case with most people who juggle their job and their passion – emotionally, mentally, and spiritually wrestling with the characteristics of traditional employment (imbecilic superiors, contradictory policies, annoying co-workers, low pay, etc.), all the while on the hunt for the energy and free time to cultivate their dream. Unsurprisingly – having never truly found satisfaction from non-entrepreneurial pursuits – I’m all too familiar with this balancing act and have found myself in the throws of a depressive reaction all too many times as a result of it. As a reader I’m sure you can relate to how easy it is for a demanding job to overshadow a vision that doesn’t necessarily have to be attended to, but I’m also sure you’re familiar with the nagging feeling of dissatisfaction that comes along with abandoning your ambition. Chances are work has been the reason you’ve deserted your life’s objective (and copped an attitude with loved ones) more times than you can count. It’s also likely cost you more in distress than the long-deserved raise you’ll probably never get is worth. Last year, I too found myself in a very dark place because of work. I couldn’t afford to be as whimsical as I like to be, because well, adulting, but I also felt suffocated as a result of being pigeonholed and knew my health was at stake. I spent months living the “complain about having to go to work, complain about being at work” cycle and my progress suffered. Weekly devotionals became once every two months devotionals. Cooking healthy meals after work became eating fast food and taking naps that lasted until bedtime. I spent all of my waking hours debriefing my occupational woes only to fall asleep and have dreams about work. I even emotionally and physically neglected my husband. Things had to change.

Whether circumstances at work, school, or within family or social circles are the reason your mood and behavior fluctuates, recognizing there’s an issue is the first step. Using the reactions of those closest to you to gauge your need for change may be the easiest way to do so. If you notice your partner, children, or close friends complaining about how irritable you are or how little time you spend doing the things you enjoy, investigating the root of your depressive reaction is necessary. Ask yourself what in your life is getting progressively worse, but is seemingly out of your control? Once you determine the irritant(s), creating a list of its impacts on your life is next. How does focusing on it affect your energy, creativity, and ability to be compassionate? How is it causing you to treat your family, regard your finances, and spend your free time? Realizing all you have to lose by remaining absorbed may be the wake-up call you need. Next, develop a plan to decrease your stressor’s impact on your livelihood. What can you start doing or do more of in an effort to limit how much damage the next blow your aggravation throws your way is able to cause? (Being more spontaneous, adding morning meditation and prayer to my schedule, and starting private practice were some of my methods of fighting back). As you strive to make your life bigger than work, school, family drama, social problems, etc., you’ll notice those areas begin to feel less stressful. Don’t be fooled – what you ignore always improves. Continue on your journey to a more consistent you, taking no notice of your stressor(s)!

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