I used to be loyal to a fault. But that was before I got sick of my life being full of people who drained me, places that didn’t cultivate me, and things that didn’t challenge me. Cutting the umbilical cords that kept me bound to spaces I’d be better off without was no easy feat though. People called me selfish and uncaring, assembled hate groups, and I heard the “but you call yourself a Christian” phrase so much it became more of a punchline to me than an insult. Nonetheless, I kept grasping at every knife, scissor, and razor blade in sight, determined to severe ties to any person, organization, or habit that honored me only when I ignored my needs.
During this time – with the world whispering in my ear and the devil taunting me in my head – my narrative was one of the most powerful tools I possessed. Now I work with clients who also find themselves pulled in multiple directions as they struggle to reconcile the expectations of their family and friends, the responsibilities assigned to them by home, work, and school, and the binge eating, self-mutilation, excessive spending, substance abuse, etc. they’ve developed as methods of coping with disappointing everyone around them all the while having no idea what their own inner voice sounds like.
Today’s devotional offers direction to people in transition – men and women still seeking other people’s permission to move forward, visionaries struggling to value (often invisible) promotion from God more than (tangible and societally pressuring) advancement from peers and supervisors, and overcomers slowly and secretly killing their futures in order to numb themselves from feeling the confusion, guilt, fear, and ironic zeal caused by adjustment.
Should you find yourself in this position (needing a little encouragement to trade your Cavs in for your Lakers), read on for three tips on how to navigate transition:
1) Refuse to play victim or bad guy. Try looking at your need to get “out of and away from” from the standpoint that you’ve outgrown the people, places, and things around you. This will make you feel less offended or guilty and change your narrative from being a story of defeatism to one of empowerment. “I was made to” and “I decided to” are a lot less liberating than “I had to.”
2) Redefine loyalty. When your loyalty is a liability, it’s no longer loyalty, it’s stupidity. Accept that you aren’t obligated to people just because they were once good to you, places because you once weren’t accepted anywhere else, or things just because they’ve become crutches you no longer know how to walk without. When you opt to remain loyal to unfruitfulness with hopes that it will one day reap harvest, you also commit to a life of infertility.
3) Demystify your decision making process. Stop justifying prolonging your stay with statements like “I prayed and will leave once God confirms that that’s what He wants” or I’ll go once the universe sends me a sign.” Waiting for direct revelation when you already know what to do is just passive disobedience.
Although this simplifies transitioning, it doesn’t make it any easier! For more help letting go and moving on, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.