Monday, August 26, 2013

Crisis of Belief

I've never liked conflict.  I've spent most of my life avoiding it at all costs.  I wanted to get along with others at all times, I didn't want anyone upset with me, I didn't want to feel awkward and uncomfortable around someone... I just wanted peace and happiness.  Truthfully, I'd still prefer life to be this way!

But life brings differences of opinion, different backgrounds and experiences, communication methods, personalities, natural reactions, and beliefs.  We try to make sense of it all, so sometimes we create stories in our minds to rationalize why someone did this or someone said that.  We internalize our feelings, replay the things they said and did over and over in our minds, we think of all the things we should have said, and we make ourselves sick and stressed.  We complain about it to others, affecting their day.  It consumes us.  It steals our joy.  It takes our focus off our dream.  It can lead us down a path we never wanted to be on if we aren't careful.

I traveled that path for many years, but have since found a better road!  I do stray off this new road from time to time and find myself in a "crisis of belief".  The word "crisis" is derived from a word meaning "decision".  A "crisis of belief" is a turning point where you must make a decision.  How you respond will determine whether you move forward on the path to your God-sized dreams, or whether you will continue to go your own way and miss out on what God has purposed for your life.  

I reflect on past turning points in my life - times when I avoided conflict - and I wonder how it might have turned out had I handled my portion differently.  Rather than running away and not dealing with it, what if I had initiated a crucial conversation?  What if I listened to gain a better understanding rather than speaking to be heard?  What if I focused on the facts rather than the emotion?  What if I created a safe environment by showing respect, courage, and polite honesty?  What if I sought mutual purpose?  What if I tried to focus on what was really important?  I can think of many scenarios that would have turned out drastically different had I not avoided conflict.  

This applies to my weight loss dreams as well as my relationship with others.  I feel internal conflict when my emotions drive me to want to eat to fill a void.  I reach a crisis of belief and a decision must be made.  "I can eat this Nutty Bar that I don't need - this Nutty Bar that will delay my weight loss dream rather than expedite it - or I can resist the temptation and drink some water, then decide in another 15 minutes if I'm truly hungry and, if so, eat something healthy."  

One choice strengthens good habits and leads me closer to my dream of losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  I feel proud of the choice I made and it fuels me to continue down the right path! 

The other choice delays that dream, strengthening bad habits, keeping me held a captive in this toxic relationship with food.  (Food is not necessarily bad, overeating is.  Obviously some foods are better than others.)  I begin feeling guilty I made that choice, I beat myself up over it, I stress out over it, I feel like giving up.

In our relationship with others, in the journey to our dreams, we have decisions to make. WE choose how we'll respond to others and to our crisis' of belief.  It's up to us, no one can decide for us.  How do you want your life to look?

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