I'm living in the crack. That noticeable fissure between where I am now and where I'm going. It's a tangible shift in life and lifestyle. Most cracks in life aren't as noticeable to the naked eye as the crevasse known as the Grand Canyon in Arizona. They are more delicate, like the hairline veins of time found in your great-grandmother's china.
We don't typically notice the day-to-day shifts of transition. We just wake up one day with new resolve. Or, we let daily disappointment lull us into disinterest - or even worse - depression.
Yet, our lives are in constant transition. The human body has a built in system to literally die and be reborn moment by moment. In fact, it programs the death of red blood cells at a rate of 5 x 1011 every single day! Programmed Cell Death. Think of it.
Amazingly, we are created to grow and flourish even while parts of us die. In fact, the only way we can stay healthy and whole is for that programmed cell death to occur.
However, this article isn't about cell death - programmed or otherwise. It's about learning to survive and thrive when everything around you is in MASSIVE transition; when the changes aren't molecular-level, naturally-occurring phenomena.
All of us have been there. Maybe you can relate to my story. I bet I can relate to yours.
Bags and Boxes and Trucks - Oh My!
Tip #1 - There Comes a Time to Simplify
Followers of our story know that since 2012 our life has been one big transition after another. You can read the in-depth story here. Let's just say we've entered another phase of the transition.
Next month, we're making a long-anticipated move to Waco, Texas, because we want to live near our children and family. Our wonderful sons moved from across the state and across the country to be nearer to us during all of the medical hoopla. Now, we are finally able to live in the same city as they.
Can I just say that even though Waco is a nice city (home of Fixer Upper stars Chip and Joanna Gaines), it isn't a place I thought I would live. And my hope is that I'll learn to revel in the lakes and rivers that wrap their arms around the city. Undoubtedly, I'll make my way to Magnolia Market, and who knows maybe I'll see the local celebrities. [Funny side note: my Richard's oncologist says he's going to have his team submit us to the Gaines' as potential candidates for a home, since we've had such an interesting life story.]
The opportunity to make this move, coupled with the Holy Spirit's call to me to have this year as a focus of Simplicity, is leading me into a mixed bag of tossing household items in the bulk dump lane, and the privilege to give other items to the LLS for their charity sales. Day by day we downsize, pack and contemplate what we hope will be one of the last, in a long series of moves. [Except of course to that awesome new Fixer Upper home, right!]
Often, transition and transformation in the crack requires us to get back to the things that mean the most to us. Richard and I could live anywhere. Our children are more important than our address. To live near to them is the most basic of our needs and wants.
How can you simplify and get back to the basics?
What Do You Do with the Baggage When You're in the Crack?
Tip #2 - Expect to Lose Some Skin
If you've ever had to give or toss things away, you know that almost everything you touch has an emotion attached to it. Floods of memories pour in. It's tough to let things go. But, to have room for the "more" the Lord wants to give, you just have to open up your heart, mind, spirit and closet to make room.
I've experienced a lot of this going through my Mom's belongings. Many of you know she left this earth last year. She is home in heaven, and her children have the honor of dispersing her earthly goods. [That task will definitely make you think about the items you keep around you!]
Transition demands we get rid of some things and store up the rest for some future time. We never understand the full scope of transition until time has passed. In the moment, it can be painful and surrounded by the dark. Only time reveals the beauty.
The butterfly story is obvious - but this video brought me to tears.
The video shows that for the caterpillar to make the transformation, it must close itself in and cast off what doesn't serve it any more. You can't become a butterfly if you refuse to leave the ground.
We could keep everything we currently own and move it into our sweet little apartment - and a storage building. But leaving things behind for others can make their lives better. Why carry along the extra baggage when the things that don't serve us could benefit and bless others?
When you're In the Crack, there will be loss. Sometime it seems like it might just kill you. But the truth is, loss is nature's way of opening up more space. It's God's way of revealing new life. It's programmed in. Get comfortable with it.
But it's okay to hang on to things for awhile. I'm keeping my Christmas Tree and that's all there is to it! [Even if I haven't put it up in 4 years!]
What baggage do you need to kick to the curb or give away? What will you keep?
Crack Kills and It Heals
Tip #3 - You Get to Choose
"After all, tomorrow is another day." The famous last words of Scarlet O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind."
Now, there's a gal who faced the end of everything she knew and expected. And what she discovered is that she was one tough cookie!
Today you'll hear Kelly Clarkson sing, "What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger."
Birth - Death - Marriage - Divorce - Sickness - Recovery - Success - Bankruptcy
Each of these life changes have the power to heal or kill us. If the birth is unexpected - you can look at it as a blessing or a curse. Is the marriage wonderful? Are you glad or sad it's over? Did the sickness made you better or bitter? Did the healing cause you to appreciate life or take it for granted. Does success make you a kinder person or greedy? Will the failure cripple you or propel you to higher ground?
You can either be a victim of the circumstances, or live as more than a conqueror.
"No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:37-39 NET Bible
How YOU see the transition - the transformation - the CRACK you find yourself in...decides everything.
How will you let The Crack heal you? What is your Victory Song?
The Crack Isn't The End
Tip #4 - Some Things Remain the Same
Yes. I'm surrounded by boxes. Yes. I have a truck coming to carry me and mine away from this little oasis we've created.
But, I am still sitting here at my computer writing this to you. I'm still creating courses and products to serve you. I will write another book, even though the desk that birthed the first two is now sitting by the curb waiting for the bulk pickup of broken, past-their-prime items.
My aged, dusty, carried-across-the-state fake ficus is out on the curb. I now live in a place where LIVE trees surround me on all sides. And, I own a collection of live houseplants which were my mother's.
The sun-faded electric mower is hanging out there, too; inexpensive and bought to cover the cost of yard maintenance. It has served its purpose...and then some. I have pictures of my Richard mowing. Something I thought would ever happen again after the Big C hit our life.
A tree or flower - or even a weed - which grows up through the cracks of a rock or the cracks of hard, drought-decimated soil, is stronger than the flourishing blossom which grows in the carefully cultivated and pampered, nutrient-rich garden plot.
Every crack you've survived has written it's story in the soil of your life. The testimony you are writing today is tinted by the colors you choose as a result of your perspective of the crack.
Trudging through life burdened by regret, guilt and disappointment is no way to experience your pilgrimage on this earth.
Cast off the restraints of too much baggage. My mother will tell you that it carries no value in heaven.
Choose instead the companions of gratitude, thankfulness and adventure.
Let the skin of your past peel off like the residual reminder of the glorious day you spent in the park playing with the people you love. You'll carry the memory of the beauty of the experience long after the sunburn is gone. You and they are changed by the loving, laughter and sandwiches.
Will it still be hard? Sometimes.
Will it still be painful? Often.
Is transition and transformation worth the price? Ask me while I'm holding my grandchildren. Ask me when my next book is completed. Ask me when I have more wisdom to share with my clients who are experiencing The Crack. Ask me today. I say YES - a RESOUNDING YES!
What are you holding to that is past its usefulness in your life?
Live at Your Best! Live Inspired!