Last week, I shared three realities that we must recognize are true in our lives, and I gave an example of why moving on is hard. This week I want to support you if you are looking to move on in any area of your life.
Most likely you’re in pain, you feel alone and/or misunderstood. You are worrying about the future and what it will look like for yourself and others you love. By definition: A hot mess. These feelings and realities I can identify with. Though in my life I haven’t had to move on from a romantic relationship, I have had other great disappointments that have left me wondering “What now?” and “How do I move on from this?” I would be lying to you if I didn’t say my heart has wounds that are still healing, or scars that will never leave but have reminded me that I made it through.
About five or six years ago, Trevin and I went through a difficult season after we moved and settled in the Portland-metro area. I remember reflecting on that season with one of the pastors at our church. I was sitting at a round table in his office and he was sitting on the other side listening to how things were going. I was telling him that things were finally looking up and I remember saying “I thought I would be on the kitchen floor in tears unable to ever get up. It was so bad.” He was older and wiser, and shook his head in disagreement then replied “You’re stronger than you think you are.”
I thought I was out of tears until I heard these words. The tone of this phrase rung in the air and has forever left an impression on my soul. I have reflected on this phrase since then on bad days and it has carried me through the winter seasons. I have shared this phrase with others one-on-one and I want to share this truth with you: You are stronger than you think you are. My friend, dear friend. YOU, are stronger than you think you are.
There are two ways we move on: The first, there is what we do in the moment of tension, and secondly, what we initiate as time goes on. Let’s break these down:
What We Do In The Moment Of Tension
When your body begins to signal that you have a craving, a need, or if you are intensely inspired to rebound, PAY ATTENTION to what is happening and what CAN happen for you. Let’s use last weeks example of having sex before marriage and want to stop having sex until you get married.
- At first you may feel like you made the right choice.
- Then time will pass and you’ll begin to feel lonely, agitated, and miss the intimacy, the closeness, and the hormonal and chemical results of sex.
- Your body will begin to signal to you that there is a need, like you’re “thirsty.” At first you might be able to ignore this.
- Eventually, chemically and hormonally speaking, your body will signal to you that there is a “craving” that hasn’t been met in a while. Your soul will begin to signal that you are missing the personal intimacy and closeness you experienced.
- You’ll begin to show signs of stress and tension in your mind, emotions and in your body.
- When you want to pick up the phone and call someone you know you can have sex with, just to make things “settle down,” HERE IS THE MOMENT YOU CAN WIN! Slow down here!
What is happening in the moment of tension and temptation?
Your brain is signaling to your mind that unless you do what you have always done, your body is going to start to change. Meaning, you’ll begin to see signs of stress, depression, etc.
It’s important to remember: You DO want your body to change, you want it to submit to the decision you made for relational health, and to follow Jesus and live by His standards in the Word. So plan on going through a “detox” of the chemical movements we talked about last week. This will effect your mental clarity and your emotions for a little bit. For a while you’ll feel “off.”
When you begin to stress by loosing sleep, sweating, having anxious thoughts, crying, etc… Here is where you must realize: You can think differently from what your body is saying.
The Bible says in 2 Timothy 2:22 to “Flee all youthful lusts but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.”
When I stress, my body will get exhausted, I won’t want to work out, eat right, or use self control. Once I notice these signs, that is my que to say “Stephanie, you are a woman of God, you will act like one, even if your body is stressed out and uncomfortable. You will continue to discipline yourself in this.”
In this moment of temptation you have to think with your mind something opposite to what your body and soul say they need. (Note: This is when you speak scripture and leave the situation.)
Does that make sense?
So when Paul in the Bible says in Romans 7:15 (NLT) “I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate.”
This tension of temptation is what Jesus is referring to when he says in Matthew 26:41 “Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!”
Ahead of time you must decide what you want to do so that you can win when you are weak. So that in the moments of tension you already have a plan. Sort of a “plug & play” kind of plan. It wont be easy, but if you follow the plan you will have a GPS for the neurons (cars) that are off-roading from point A to point C in your brain. Eventually the neurons in your brain will get good at off-roading and/or a new highway will be created.
This happens when we try to break all different kinds of habits and move on. When we want to stop giving in to that person, or stop gossiping, or stop worrying, or lying, over-eating, comparing, or just about anything, anything that keeps us from living like the man or woman of God we are.
You must have a plan to succeed!
Depending on the situation a new schedule might be all you need to move on, but many of us need more tools in our tool belts. That is normal. You may need a new eating plan, a new job, a new living space, new friends, or a counselor. Do whatever it takes (that is healthy) to be more of who God wants you to be as you grow through the tension of the pain from the past. Remember, you are stronger than you think you are.
What We Initiate As Time Goes On
As we are healing and moving on or working our buns off to break a bad habit, here are some ideas to consider taking initiative in. I’m hoping some of these ideas are new and I am hoping to share some thoughts that you have already heard somewhere else, to further emphasize that you really should take these steps for your benefit in this season.
- Instead of “moving on” recognize this season as a “transition season.” You are transitioning into the new you. More you then before, smarter, wiser, stronger, better.
- Take time to think about the “lesson” so you learn from it. You can take time to think while in the shower, waiting in line for your coffee, basically any time you scroll through your socials. Instead of scrolling, think. Reflect to learn, not to nit-pick, or justify.
- Find support and take initiative in those relationships with friends, family, co-workers, roommates, etc. When you’re invited to hang out— GO HANG OUT! It’s okay to cry on the way there and on the way home, and shoot! Even if you find yourself in the bathroom crying behind the scenes, reach out. Counselors, therapists, and of course the Holy Spirit the ultimate counselor is available as well.
- Increase appropriate physical touch: Hugs when you greet people, get a massage, or in a healthy respectful way receive the hugs that family and friends are offering when you are crying or are overwhelmed, hold hands when praying, give high-fives when complementing nieces and nephews for good grades, sports wins, etc.
- Avoid inappropriate physical touch: masturbation, physical or sexual abuse, anything that would trigger your body and cause anxiety or stress symptoms, avoid it.
- Avoid situations, substances, places, and people that can push you back to the “old you.” Jesus didn’t die so you could struggle, He died so you could be free. He is your true friend. Let His actions be more influential in your life than others who are negatively affecting you. Stay away from what makes you angry, stressed, gossipy, etc.
- Evaluate and plan to rest and exercise, you need both; even if stretching at home is all you can do at this time.
- Read the Bible and pray (talk to God about your life).
- Don’t skip church, attend services weekly. God will see our sacrifice as we get out of bed and drive to church. He will bless you for your discipline as your make your body and and soul submit to your spirit. ***Don’t be ashamed, come as you are and rest. ***Breathe if you can’t sing the songs, close your eyes and listen when you can’t pray the prayers. ***It’s okay, for a while, to just “be” at church when you are hurt.
In any situation it’s important that we remember who we are and what we stand for, then to use that as our filter when making decisions in your new season. After all, that is what moving on is! Next week read the final post of this series: The Missing Link to Moving On. (No, the answer is not Jesus. Haha!) In fact, you might be surprised what my answer is but I’m confident you’ll agree once you find out what it is.
This week can you consider these two ways to move on? Make a plan. Be intentional about it. Write it down, set alarms, ask your roommate to remind you. If moving on in a healthy way is important to you, you’ll find a way. I believe you can do this. Remember, You are stronger than you think you are.
“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them,
because He is who in you is greater than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
If you are looking for more encouragement click on the link and consider watching a message from my church. Our pastor preaches on pain and suffering, maybe the content he covers will give you strength to keep going.