“What you’re doing isn’t working. At least, that’s what you told me lately. The fire in your soul is fading, and you are refusing to call yourself burned out. Not just that, but you can’t figure it out. Where you’re going. What you’re going to do. If you’re life was a sandwich sold at McAlister’s, it’d be Stress between two slices of sourdough, and let’s be real…nobody really wants to order stress with sourdough. So you’re going crazy with these questions of the future, and the guilt of the past…truth is you have no idea where you’re going to go or what you’re going to do even at this moment except continue in this cycle you’ve been in for awhile.”
This is what I might say to 20-somethings (18-26 year olds) who I talk to. This seems to be the plight of my generation. So, let’s take a second, and let’s do something I like to call SHIFT. I think the idea was inspired by something like this.
a SHIFT is what you need. First thing, SHIFT gears. You have to SHIFT gears mentally and emotionally. The pendulum cannot continue to be swung to both ends of the spectrum by your emotional and mental highs and lows…trust me, it doesn’t work. Even out. Level out. SHIFT gears from your “I’m going to let every little thing, and every person who acts little get under my skin” “or, I’m going to overthink every situation about how it go wrong, and worry myself to death in the process.” SHIFT forward into a mind that is self-controlled and alert. SHIFT gears from fear to faith. Don’t know how? Very simple. Not easy, but simple. Put your foot on the clutch, reach down and SHIFT. How? Get a mentor who will level you out, and challenge your mind. Create times in your schedule for reading your Bible, praying, and financial planning. Think ahead. We can’t be spoon fed forever. SHIFT gears. You can do it.
Second thing is SHIFT questions. A lot of worry and anxiety is driven by the questions, “What will bring me the most success, pleasure, and excitement in life? How will life benefit me most?” It is time for a SHIFT as you instead ask, “What decision can I make to glorify God most with my life?” Because you don’t want to live your life for anything than what matters most. Now, this question too can cause Christians to overthink and worry, and be terrified of what could go wrong if you didn’t do what God wanted. That’s not the way Christians are called to live. Pray. Ask. Believe. And then sometimes you just gotta make a decision. Seriously. God sometimes opens 3 doors, and says pick 1. Not always. Sometimes, you wish 1 door would open. But sometimes you’ll have 3 doors open and have no idea where to go. Seek the LORD. Wait. Pick 1. Go! Some good questions to ask as you look at what God has given you and you want to live a life for God are the following. “Where am I?” “Where do I want to be?” “What am I doing right now?” “What do I want to be doing?” “What am I going to do to get there?” Sit down and write those questions out, then work the answers out. May take a little while, but do it. It’ll be worth it. and…
Don’t let the fear of the future paralyze your present.
Third SHIFT is this, you’ve got to SHIFT perspectives. I’m back to worry again. If you live all situations strictly from your vantage point, then you will live scared and God’s will most likely will not work in your life. Look at your situation from your view. Then look at it from God’s view. In the words of my friend Amanda, “God’s already been to the end of your situation.” So make the SHIFT and go check out things from God’s vantage point. Ready? Here it is. It’s taken care of. Don’t worry. Relax. Just give and love and pray. God’s at the end of it. If you’re in a relationship that straight up sucks right now, let me tell ya some advice from people wiser than me. “Don’t try to fix the other person. Let God do that. Pray and love. Keep on keeping on.” You can’t fix it. Sorry. You can’t. Maybe in another universe, but your existence and other people are not computers or engines that just need a bit of programming, fine tuning or new parts. Now, you might be with someone who needs a new heart, but we can’t buy those at Wal-Mart, so just pray that God will give them a new heart, and pray that they’ll want God to give them a new heart. In the meantime, ask God to give you a new heart so that you won’t be trying to fix it. That’ll be a big SHIFT.
Finally, SHIFT paradigms. Here’s the old paradigm: I trust me most in situations I understand, and in situations I don’t understand. And now, the new paradigm: I trust God most in situations I think I understand, and in situations I for sure don’t understand. Yep. Trust God. It allows you to live free. It’s a big SHIFT because God might take you through some difficult experiences, but even as you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you don’t need to fear evil, because the LORD, the Good Shepherd is with you, and his rod and his staff will be a great comfort to you. Continue to seek God, and ask God this question.
“God, what do you have for me today? What do you want me to do right now? What about that person? How do I handle that?”
Step out of the future. You can’t live there. So make yourself welcome here at home in the present.
It won’t be easy, but the SHIFT will be worth it.