We are undoubtedly in uncertain and changing times. And I know there are many of you reading this that have been forced into a season you didn’t ask for. Maybe you’ve recently lost your job, saw your savings accounts dwindle to nothing, or maybe you’re going through the breakup of a relationship you hoped would last forever.

When we are faced with crisis or suffering, it’s very easy to become discouraged, overwhelmed with anxiety and fear, or worse to feel hopeless or depressed. In these times, locking yourself up in your house and binge watching your favorite TV show can be tempting – and maybe even therapeutic. It’s a natural response and truth is, if you camp out there for a day or two, I think that’s being honest and real. But to stay here in this place can become destructive and actually keep you from new opportunities and possibilities that are just beyond this disappointment.

At some point you have a decision to make. Do you want to choose to move forward and keep going or stay on the couch with the remote? The hard part is making the right decision before your heart is ready to; when you are still feeling rejected, insecure or afraid. It takes courage.

At times, the bravest thing we can do is to override our emotions by acting contrary to what we feel like doing.

How do you do that? You become intentional. When working with my clients who are in this same place, I start with one question:   

Who do you want to be in this season?

This question is deeper than the typical “what do you want to be when you grow up” type of question. I am not just asking you about outer goals (i.e. to become a writer, actress or journalist), I am asking about who you want to be, which goes far beyond just what you want to be. During this season of crisis and suffering, do you want to show strength? To show courage? To be compassionate and loving to the ones who hurt you?

“Who do you want to be in this season,” challenges you to think beyond your goals or desired skills, and asks you to think about your emotional well-being. The reason this question is so effective with my clients is because sometimes you can’t control the circumstances you’re in…but you can always control who you are in the middle of your circumstances.

Now, with that all said, what do you think? Are you ready to be brave? If so, here’s my Coaches Challenge for you:

Step 1: Create the vision.

Wrestle with, pray through, and then answer the question: “Who do you want to be in this season?” Here’s the important part – answer the question honestly.

Be as detailed as you can be. In coaching language, this is called creating a vision. Scripture teaches us in Proverbs 29:18, that “where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained – think of people wandering around without purpose or direction. Zig Ziglar (an 80s motivation scripture) said it this way: you cannot hit a target you do not have.

Dream big here and be creative.

Step 2: Refine and shape your vision.

Remember that this exercise focuses on not just what you’re doing, but who you are as a person. Who we are is actually more important than what we do – so this twist to the question is important to think through honestly. Think through both the benefits and the sacrifices that will come with your vision. Here are a few questions to get you started:

  • What are you doing?
  • How is what you are doing “then” different from your current situation?
  • What emotions do feel as you step into your vision?
  • What’s different about how you feel as the “then” you as opposed to now?
  • What environmental changes are needed (do you need to move, go to school, etc.)?
  • Are there changes to who you interact with or hang out with?

Step 3: Give life to your vision.

This last step is rooted in the faith to believe that your vision can be achieved. The apostle James said that, “faith without works is dead.” In this last step, you begin to breathe life through your actions by “acting as if” your vision is fulfilled. Begin to take small but forward moving steps where possible. Often times, I tell my clients to begin with the emotional changes, which are always within your control. Build a list of actionable steps that can be taken and don’t worry about whether you can do them now or not. For now – you just do what you can.

This process takes time and a lot of grace. You will have days where you will absolutely nail it and days where you’ll return to your couch in discouragement…but victory and success come in small baby steps that move you forward. Don’t worry about the speed of change, that is in the Lord’s hands.

Stay prayerful. Stay hopeful. No matter the circumstances today, you have a vision and a purpose. Invite the Lord into this process and see the impossible become possible.

Going Deeper …

For those of you interested in going deeper in your faith, this technique works with scripture promises as well. To show you how, let’s apply the steps above to 1 Peter 5:7 and see what the Lord does!

Step 1: Create the vision.

Your “vision” in this example is to do what 1 Peter 5:7 encourages you to do:

“Pour out all your worries and stress upon him and leave them there for he always tenderly cares for you.” (TPT)

Step 2: Refine and shape your vision.

Visualize yourself actually pouring your worries and stress upon Jesus.

  • How do you feel as you pour it all out at his feet?
  • What worries and stress are you giving Him?
  • What emotions go along with those worries and stress (frustration, anxiety, sadness)?
  • What will you think about with these worries and stresses now in the hands of Jesus?
  • What new emotions (joy, relief, courage) do you feel now that He has them all?

Step 3: Give life to your vision.

Write down every one of your current stresses and worries. I am going to ask you to literally give these stresses and worries to Jesus, so be creative:

  • Right them on balloons that you can release into the sky (choose biodegradable please! J)
  • Right them on rocks and toss them into a nearby creek or pond
  • Write them on wood and have a bonfire with friends

After you do this – step out in faith knowing the Lord “always tenderly cares for you,” as the scripture says. Act as the beloved, cared for child of God you really are.

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