I counseled with a young woman one day who was mentally and emotionally frazzled about a decision she needed to make. She was an intelligent woman, highly accomplished, who was perfectly capable of coming to a decision. So it struck me as odd that, despite having all the information she needed to commit to a direction, she stalled.
After questioning her further regarding her inability to commit to a path, I discovered a very different issue at play. She uttered three phrases that clearly spelled out not only the root of her problem, but the root problem of so many who find themselves stuck in "the valley of decision".
"My mom feels like I should..."
"My dad wants me to..."
"My boyfriend can't seem to understand why I just don't..."
The reason this woman couldn't make a decision, had little to do with her not knowing clearly what she wanted to do;
but everything to do with the fact that her mind was so cluttered with what others wanted for her, that she couldn't (or wouldn't) decide on what she wanted for herself.
She was not able to make a decision that catered to her own needs, because she was still trying to appease the desires of those around her. This left her stuck in the valley of decision--
Are you in this valley now?
Are the opinions of those around you so loud, that you can't hear your own mind clearly to make a decision? Have the desires and expectations of family, friends or society, suffocated you from "tuning in" to what this present YOU needs?
You must create a mental SPACE in order to make important decisions that honor your values. You must have the courage to throw out the expectations, desires, and beliefs of those around you, in order to find out what is truly important for you.
How do we create space to think?
If you're stuck, make the courageous choice in this moment, to release yourself from the grip of the opinions of others, and watch a space of mental freedom and discovey open up for you.
Have you ever felt that inward battle between the drive to do a thing & the resistance to doing that thing? Or a motivating desire to do something & simultaneously a fear to do that very same thing?
What's up with this?
The (Seemingly) Two Dichotomies
If you've every wanted to push yourself past your comfort zone, you have undoubtedly felt the pull of the two opposing dichotomies at work within you.
There's the one dichotomy that says:
"Go for it! This is your time. This is your season. You were born for this! Break out of your comfort zone! Do that thing you've been wanting to do. That thing you were created to do. That thing that is begging to be released to the world!"
But simultaneously, there's the second dichotomy, which says:
"Well, just hold on a minute. Let's just wait one more day. Are you sure you're ready for this? No, no, you're not quite ready. Don't stress yourself about this. You can do it tomorrow. Plus, its really not even perfect yet, you still need 'a', 'b' & 'c'. Plus, what is _____ going to say if you move forward with this?"
This is a battle that exists within each of us. For some, it is the launching pad to move forward, while for others, it is the source of what holds them back.
The Gift of Resistance
If you've ever done any type muscle-building exercies, you'll understand the importance of resistance. Resistance is the weight that is seemingly trying to stop you from lifting the bar and from completing the exercise. However, this is far from its purpose. The resistance is the exact tool that is helping the athlete to build muscle, endurance, or whatever his goal for the exercise.
Imagine, rather than lifting a 20lb weight, lifting a pencil. Imagine rather than riding a bicycle with a resistance chain, a bicycle with no chain. It's quite easy to see that little resistance = little progress or growth.
The False Dichotomy
The dichotomy between the two forces within each of us, is really not a dichotomy at all. They are actually two forces working side-by-side, for the growth of the recipient. Just as the weight and chain is the resistance the athlete needs to challenge his muscles to grow; in the same way, the resistance of life--fear, disapproval from others, financial/emotional/& mental struggles--is the resistance we need to challenge ourselves to push past our comfort zones, doubt our doubts, and achieve what deep down we already know we are capable of.
Will you allow your internal & external resistance to stop you or use it as a motivation to push through?
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This blog is intended to provide supportive counsel, to hurting women, women in ministry, and pastor's wives.
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