These eight steps may be all too familiar, but I encourage you to read slow, breathe deep, and don't miss a beat.
THESE ARE LIFE CHANGERS:
1. Focus on everything you don't have.
The job, the spouse, the sleep, or the house—continually dwell on each aspect of your life you wish was different. Keep everything you lack at the forefront of your mind.
2. Compare your worst to someone else's best.
Take that friend who's an interior designer and peg your mismatched decor against her magazine-ready living room. Or evaluate your mediocre cooking skills against that gal who thrives in the kitchen. Forget about everything you're good at. Identify each thing you struggle with and measure it against someone who's strength is in your weakness.
3. Remind yourself over and over how tired you are.
Continual yawning, clock checking, and shoulder slouching will help. Harbor a little bitterness against the person or responsibility that requires your attention. Sigh heavily when anyone asks how you are and make "I'm so tired" your first response.
4. Keep track of another person's faults or grievances against you.
Don't let anything go. Dwell on what they did wrong and overemphasize how right you are. Have imaginary conversations in your mind about what they should have said. Never give the benefit of the doubt. Feed any ache for intimacy or reconciliation with avoidance, anger, and justified entitlement.
5. Think in absolutes.
Resolve that you will NEVER get to do that and your life will ALWAYS look like this. Convince yourself that your hardship will last for-ev-er and that difficult person will be everlastingly difficult. Allow EVERY possible "always" and "never" to suck ALL hope and joy from your life.
6. Get so overwhelmed by the big picture that you fail to take the first step.
If you marriage is in shambles or your kid is out of control, if you dream to write a book or go back to school, if you're in a pit of addiction or a dark ditch of debt, go ahead and ruminate on the vastness of your predicament or how out of reach your dream. It's the very best way to stay stuck.
7. Believe every negative thing anyone has ever said about you.
And why you're at it, take all the stuff you think someone might have possibly thought about you but never actually said as total truth. Set those tapes of hurtful words on repeat in your mind. Allow them to take deep root in your heart until every wound and insecurity cripples you. Defines you.
8. Go to bed way too late every night so you wake up really grumpy.
(This helps facilitate #3.) Add poor eating habits and zero exercise to this step for optimal success; depriving your body of it's basic needs will put you on the fast track to physical, mental, and emotional ill-being. Set yourself up to struggle and fail before you even start.
Clearly this is a "How To" list no one is going to post on their fridge as a best life plan to aspire to.
But how many days do we live this way? How many times do you get stuck in one of these traps? These perspective pitfalls that sound ludicrous when written out but somehow weasel their way into your approach to life.
I'm committed to Christ. I'm hard set on choosing joy, seeing all as grace from the Giver, living truth by the Word. I say I want to walk the walk not just talk the talk. I read and write and speak for the sake of Spirit-filled encouragement.
Yet, I struggle.
I get stuck in a funk more often than I should. My eyes drift away from God and get stuck on myself more than I want to admit. My heart gets tangled in the weeds of the world.
But there IS hope. For me. For you.
You may not be able to control your circumstances but you can choose your outlook.
A positive perspective is possible. Not by might or will or discipline, but by continually turning your heart to the One who holds your life in the palm of His hand.
You can renew your mind. You can re-fix your thoughts. You can be transformed.
You and me both.
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Which of these snares do you most easily fall into?
How do you steer clear of these "lousy life" traps?
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