Last month I shared some observations as we move into a new year by taking a minute and reflecting on the past year, like looking in a mirror. I would encourage you to go back and read last months newsletter or blog if you have not already done so. This month I am going to share some advice as we look into the window of new possibilities for the year 2017.
The fun thing about a new year is that no matter what 2016 brought you, it’s a new year, thus it’s new!! You can make new changes, you can keep what you liked, you can forget what you didn’t, you can keep things going in the same direction or you can even throw away the entire past year and start over if you’d like. It’s a new beginning for a new YOU! How exciting is that!!
The problem with experiencing something new is that we don’t always know what to expect. We can have the best intentions, make all the appropriate plans, but it is still unknown until the new becomes the norm. There is some anticipation in that but it also holds some hesitation. I want to challenge you to look through the window of 2017 and start out on a path of new beginnings. One thing we know for sure is that if we don’t make a plan, there will be no plan. So what do you see as you look through your window of possibilities for 2017? Let me help by keeping these things in mind:
- Pay attention to the stories you’re telling yourself. If you find yourself angry all the time or obsessed with how rotten your life is or your ex is – even if it may all be true – you’re wasting a lot of emotional energy on something that’s not going to help you rebuild your life. If you’re feeding yourself with negative thoughts, you will remain negative and it makes it very hard to see life in a positive way. If you allow yourself to focus on some positive aspects of your new situation, you will find yourself making much more progress and be a happier person as well.
- Reconnect with your kids. If you and your kids can embark on some new projects or traditions you can create some positive energy and make some positive memories at the same time. Celebrate the small things. One suggestion would be to introduce a “Special Day Plate”. It is just a simple “special” plate that I would bring out on birthdays, concerts, big game days, report card day etc. I know I did this and to this day my adult kids come home and ask if they can use the “Special Day Plate”. Consider making a family movie night with pizza and popcorn in the living room a new weekly tradition. Our children need reassurance that they still have a caring. loving family even after a divorce. And you will enjoy it even more!
- Find support. If, as you looked back in your mirror (last months blog) you noticed a lot of pain and tears, I would encourage you to seek support to help you through these painful days. If you have not attended a DivorceCare group I encourage you to go to divorcecare.org and search under your zip code to find a group near you. And if you have already attended this group but are looking for continued guidance and support, please find a Christian counselor near you. The money spent is pennies compared to the healing it can bring to yourself and your children. Remember, your children’s ability to cope is reflective in your ability to bring them through this transition in a healthy way.
- Don’t rush the process. Divorce is very difficult to recover from. Be sure you are patient with yourself as you go through this grieving process. Allow yourself time to heal, time to grieve, time to learn and time to discover the new you. Be careful not to jump into a new relationship before your healing is done, A new relationship is nothing but Novocain to the heart. You will think you are doing better but sooner than later you will find yourself even further in pain than you were prior to the relationship. Give yourself time to heal before you seek another relationship. If you end up in one too soon it will cause you a set back and could cause extreme repercussions on your children. It’s worth the wait.
- Consider making new boundaries. If you have found yourself circling the same playing field over and over again this past year, consider making some new boundaries to put an end to the crazy cycle. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut of past routines or comfort zones that are just not as comfortable or just plain unhealthy for this new season in your life. You are the only one who can change those patterns. Consider putting up new boundaries to help alleviate the same heartache or same unhealthy results. By setting and being consistent in making new boundaries you will find the freedom from some of those old unhealthy patterns that tend to drag you down or even halt your healing process all together.
- Educate yourself. For women especially, divorce can be a financial and mental drain. There are so many things that need to be done. So many questions that need to be answered. If you’re floundering, seek out advice. Many times you can find classes to help give you the tools to get back on track. Be open to learning new things, new skills, new advice.
- Look for new possibilities. As painful as divorce can be, it can also bring opportunities for new beginnings and a chance to reinvent your life. Whether you wanted the divorce or not, divorce has a way of opening up new possibilities. Do not be close-minded about what God may bring your way. Maybe it’s a new job, new home, new friends, new church. Whatever it may be, try to look at it as a possibility of good change, not bad.
- And don’t forget who is holding you along the way. Just like we saw when looking through the mirror, remember to see Jesus holding you throughout this new year as well. There will be tough days to come. I am sorry you are having to feel them. Keep in mind there is a day to come when God will wipe away every tear when we join Him in Heaven. But until then, rest in His arms. He will not drop you or leave you stranded. Go back to last months blog and reread the poem, Footprint in the Sand. Find your comfort AND strength in His arms. He will never let you down.