As we come to the end of the year, everyone gets caught up with the wonderful idea of a “new year” in which we can wipe the slate clean, start fresh and get (even more) serious about achieving the goals that eluded us in the “old year” that just ended. And just a few weeks into 2014, how are you doing with that fresh start? Are you discouraged, ready to quit, and already longing for 2015? Well, join the club, you’re not alone!
In my last blog, “Change: Keep On Keeping On,” I pointed out that whether it comes to making change happen or accepting necessary change in life, we all have a pattern of getting started, showing signs of progress, and then inevitably finding ourselves right back where we started.
Why? Three reasons:
- We quickly and easily forget “why” the desired change is good and necessary in the first place, and we need to be continually reminded, over and over and on a daily basis, because as soon as we “get it,” we “forget it.”
- We quickly and easily forget that set backs are “normal” and the way things go in this world, not just for me but for everyone; we need to become learners, not quitters.
- We quickly and easily forget about the importance of our attitude. Are you a “blamer,” complaining and defending the old ways that aren’t working? Or are you a thankful, encouraging team player?
The idea that set backs are normal and part of life in this world is not a new revelation. Nearly 2,000 years ago, James wrote a letter to members of the early church, which opened with these “right on point” words:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3 NIV
Notice that James instructed that whenever (not if, but when) you face trials (because trials are inevitable in life), you should consider it pure joy. Why? Because the testing of your faith produces the perseverance needed to keep going, try again and get better.
Is James crazy or out of touch with reality? How can trials be considered pure joy? I believe what James is talking about is attitude and choice. James is asking whether in the trials of life, am I a drainer or a replenisher?
|Always has some new trial that’s bad – another problem||Always has some new lesson being learned – more progress|
|Complains and competes – “Oh yeah, if you think you have it bad, I’ve got it worse…”||Comments and empathizes – “I experienced what you’re going through and this is what I learned…”|
|Sense of entitlement – “I should not have to suffer like this…”||Stance of endurance – “I choose to use this experience to develop my ability and character…”|
All of us have some relationships that are enjoyable and others that are not. Do you ever wonder how you come across to others? What is it really like to be on the other side of a relationship with you? Do you “wear down” the road of life, or “resurface” it? Are you a drainer or a replenisher?
In truth, we are both. Sometimes, with some people, under certain circumstances, we are drainers and, in other times, with other people, under other circumstances, we are replenishers. The opportunity is to be a replenisher more often, with more people and in most circumstances.
As a replenisher, you characteristically (not 100% perfectly) chose to persevere through life’s inevitable trials. You chose to develop, to endure and to be content. And in doing so, you point others in that same direction and become an endearing team mate that others seek out for encouragement as they face their own trials.
I must give credit to my senior pastor, Bill Ronzheimer, for sharing these ideas and teachings with me, and thank him for being a replenisher in my life. I want to be a replenisher, too. What about you?
We will continue to help our clients to learn and grow and succeed at life by addressing the hard but rewarding work of change. If you have ideas on being a replenisher after a setback in the change process, please post them so others can benefit.
I may start to think (and grade) my clients like this...if they are all replenishers I figure I and they will do better.