We all have dreams and hopes – things we want to accomplish, places we want to go, goals we want to achieve. And some of us work very hard to achieve those dreams. And some of us only allow them to only be ‘dreams’ in our heads and hearts. But we don’t have to let them stay as pipe dreams. We can all work toward making those dreams come true. . . if we just don’t let anything hold us back.
Over the next few weeks I will be addressing how we can
- • feel better about ourselves,
• be more successful in what we want to do, and
• be happier in the ‘here and now’,
no matter where we are in our life’s journey.
Today we are going to talk about what keeps holding us back from doing what we want to do and being what we were meant to be.
We all know that nobody can go back and start over; there are no ‘do-overs’.
- what is in the past is done. . .
gone. . .
We can never get it back
but we can all begin today and start a new beginning.
But before we can begin to really change our lives and begin a changed and dreamed of life, we have to stop doing some things that have been holding us back. There are lots of things that hold us back from coming from where we are to going where we want to be. Some of these are hardships (deaths of special people in our lives, illness) that are, for the most part, out of our control. We can’t do anything about them, but we can make the most of it, deal with it and move one.
And we all have set-backs in our lives (loss of job, homelessness, addiction). We have to remember that these can often be temporary – we can get past those and start of new beginning. There are a couple of things that we often do that really cause us not to be able to move forward.
The first thing we need to do is stop spending time with the wrong people.
- We all have experiences in our lives where we ran around with a crowd that makes us less of a person. And it is very easy, as we try to build a new life, to return to those who are we comfortable with. If we suffer from domestic abuse or addiction, the lure back to the ‘old life’ is extremely strong. And we often come back to the destructive behavior and lifestyle because it is familiar, comfortable. We think these are ‘our people’ – that they understand us, love us, and will support our growth. But returning to the ‘old life’ makes it almost impossible to start that new beginning.
It’s kind of like the old saying: “why do you expect different results by doing the wrong thing even harder”?
Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of us, drag us down, or don’t want us to have a new beginning. If someone wants us in their life, they’ll support our growth. We need to stay away from anyone who continuously makes us feel small, insignificant, unworthy. Remember, a true friend is one who stands beside you when you’re at your worst, not just when you are on the top.
We need to find a group of people who support us, want to grow with us, want to share the new experiences and achievements with us. I hope that each of you, in some way, find that within the community of In The Garden. We are here to support you, walk with you on the journey and show you that not only do we love you, but you are all children of God, beloved children of God.
Secondly, we need to stop running from our problems.
- None of us want to admit that we have problems. Most of us would rather not deal with them, some of us just ignore them all together. Some of us have the ‘head in sand’ philosophy – if we ignore them, they will go away. But we all know, they do not go away. We must face them head on. No, it won’t be easy.
No one in the world can dodge every punch thrown at them. We may be able to deflect some, but there is always an uppercut that is going to get us on the chin. We aren’t supposed to be able to instantly solve problems. That’s not how we’re made. In fact, we were created to get upset, sad, hurt, stumble and fall.
Look at little babies, if they don’t stumble and fall and get back up, they never learn to walk or learn all the wonderful things in the world. That’s the whole purpose of living – to face problems, learn, solve them and change our lives over time. This is what shapes and transforms us into the person we become. That’s what allows us to enjoy our life and the wonders of this world.
Each and every problem or setback has a lesson for us to learn if we just listen, pay attention, and think about it. How many of us have heard as a child that we need to stand up and face a problem?
Can’t you remember your mother or aunt or someone saying that to you? Someone who jerked you up by the back of the collar (or by your ear) and made you face the problem.
We know that there is always a solution to any problem if we just look it in the face . . .
call it what it is . . .
and patiently and thoughtfully think about what we really need to do.
And there are lots of people (in the new community) who are willing to help us solve the problem. The solution may not come quickly or be exactly what we would like, but there are solutions to any problem. Some solutions to problems may take time and others may never be totally resolved. But we cannot move on to a new beginning if we don’t stop running from our problems.
So if we want to move forward to a new beginning, we have to stop
- • Spending time with the wrong people
• Stop running from our problems.
Remember this: we can do wonderful things if we just
- • Don’t dwell on the ‘didn’t happens’;
• Don’t hang around with those people who drag us down
• Believe we can – thinking we can is halfway to doing and being.
I would like for you to think in the coming week about times you have either faced your problems and found a solution or times that you were not so successful in overcoming obstacles. And for those who are willing, we would like for you to share them. Who knows, someone may be dealing with the same problem and your experience could help them.
Delivered to In The Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, Columbus, OH 17 May 2015
NOTE: Ascension Sunday is something that has little or no reference for most of the people who frequent In The Garden. Their real needs are hearing of God’s love and how to take their lives, where they are, and make them better. ‘Better’ is a relative term to most of us; because of circumstances or decisions made in their lives, what is better for them may not seem significant to most of us, but to them just leaving feeling that they are loved and people care about them is more important to them than how we would feel if we won the lottery. These are God’s ‘least of these’ and it is our responsibility and biblical imperative and baptismal commitment to care for them.
Not surprising to me, there were lots of ‘amens’ throughout the homily; these people are far more aware of their shortcoming and hopes and dreams than most who sit in the conventional pews on Sunday. But what surprised me was the response at the end – applause and gratitude for talking about how to make their lives better in ways that were not theoretical, but things that they could and some would do. The community of In The Garden gives to me much more than I ever feel I share with them. – deniray