At 10 pm last night, my son was rapping.
“Yo, in two hours’ time, everyone should wish me a happy birthday yo. Don’t wish happy new year yo. It’s my birthday, yo. So say happy birthday yo!”
I was too amused. Because a year ago, he would never have said that.
You see, my boy was always embarrassed of his birthday for the longest time. Now, don’t get me wrong. He loves celebrating his birthday with cake, presents and all. But the idea that the world is also celebrating his birthday—something we used to tell him—just wasn’t cool for him.
But how much that has changed in a year. How much his perspectives have shifted in 365 days. I’m so glad he’s not thinking the same way he did, now that he’s a year older. I’m thankful that he is embracing a new idea altogether, and he’s actually laughing about something he used to be embarrassed about.
Maybe there’s something in your life you have been uncomfortable with. Something you have been embarrassed or even ashamed of. Something you can’t even tell anyone about. It could even be a person who has been bothering you.
It might be an age-old issue that can’t be changed—at least not in the foreseeable future. Or a new challenge that has just surfaced and it’s weighing you down. A thorny problem you’ve tried doing something about but simply have no power to overcome.
You’re feeling disheartened. Depressed. Resigned. You’re telling yourself: “I can never win this.”
If that is you, here’s a tip as you move forward in 2016: change the way you think about the issue.
Where you used to see it as shame, can you think of something good that came out of it? Perhaps you have become more resilient as a person over these years because of having persevered despite the issue?
Where you used to see it as something you’re afraid to speak about, can you think of it as something that has produced discretion and made you a little kinder?
If it’s a person you’re bothered with, how about changing the way you see this person instead of hoping the person will change?
If it’s a habit that you want changed, how about thinking it’s not a habit but something you have the ability to put behind you?
What I’m saying is to switch the mode in your brain about the issue or the person. Since you can’t change the problem or the person, changing your thoughts might help you manage your issue a whole lot better.
Laugh about it if you can. Understand that what you’ve experienced actually helped to shape your character and growth.
Of course I recognize that some issues are not so simple. You’ve tried but just can’t change the way you think. If that is you, perhaps you need help.
Speak to someone you can trust. Speak to a professional if you must. Or seek spiritual guidance like I did.
I know some of you are thinking, “Uh-uh, she’s going to preach.” Well, no. I’ll just share my experience and I promise to keep it brief.
For many years, I was frustrated with a long-standing issue in my life. I tried to deal with it as best as I could but it was not always easy. The problem persisted and grew worse even after I became a believer. I was exasperated to the max.
Finally last year, the Lord showed me that I need to give up completely on the problem–recognize I can’t do anything about it. He caused me to realize that I need to change the way I view the issue. That was when I changed my prayer.
Instead of praying for the issue to go away, I prayed for transformation in the way I see it. I prayed for wisdom in the way I handle it. And you know what?
I am now at peace. I don’t fight the issue. Neither am I bothered by it any more. Suddenly, everything looks a lot clearer and I realized I don’t have to see the issue as something I have no power over. Instead of being preoccupied with how bad the issue is, I am now preoccupied with how good the Lord is.
All I am saying is: Regardless of what you believe or want to believe, know that you don’t have to allow the issue to have dominion over you. You don’t have to allow it to become larger than your life.
Tackle it by changing the way you see it. Laughing, even when the issue is a no laughing matter, helps. Because brooding over it, feeling depressed about it or even trying your best to do something isn’t going to improve anything at all. I mean, you’ve tried all that and how far did you get?
But when you start to see your problem differently, you’ll deal with it differently too. You will find the picture looks a lot clearer on the outside when you are clearer on your inside.
So in this new year, start your new beginning with a new thinking. You can make positive changes even in very small matters. Like I used to think I was hopeless in exercise and keeping fit but I’m now changing my thinking. Now I telling myself, “I am not hopeless at exercising.”
Friend, instead of focusing your thoughts on what you can’t do, choose to focus on what you can.
Happy New Year, everyone! May 2016 bring you a brand new way of thinking that will make this year your best ever!