Game Changers

There’s something I used to do almost every single day that would take a good 30-40 minutes to complete. It was a meaningless, yet necessary, task that had to be done and someone had to do it. It involved water and soap and, you guessed it – lots and lots of dishes.

Image courtesy of koratmember/freedigitalphotos.net

Yep, I’m talking about the chore of dishwashing.

Oh, how I dreaded seeing the dirty plates, bowls and utensils pile up each day! I moaned whenever I passed by a full sink and rejoiced (for a few minutes) when it was empty. I used paper products when guests came over to limit the amount of dishes to wash (I know, it’s so not green!). I went to great lengths to cut out steps in recipes (ie. using one bowl to mix both the wet and dry ingredients instead of two separate ones), so I wouldn’t have to wash an extra item. I even tried making the process more fun by watching videos or listening to music, but I discovered it’s hard to hear anything clearly above the sound of running water.

One of my dear friends kept asking me (after hearing me complain and grumble) why I didn’t just use our dishwasher – she said it saves water and TIME! I said I tried, but the dishes just weren’t coming out clean. I assumed all dishwashers didn’t work well and hand washing was the only way to go. What I didn’t know was that our dishwasher had seen better days and was no longer working the way it should have. It took a while (11 years to be exact which is how long it’s been since we moved into our home) for me to tell hubby, “We need to buy a new dishwasher!” So, off we went to Lowe’s and found a great deal, and to my pleasure and surprise – IT ACTUALLY WORKS. Now when I “do the dishes”, I rinse off any excess food from the dishes, pop them into the handy dandy machine, add detergent and push a button – all of which takes me FIVE minutes to do. And the dishes come out clean. Amazing!

This dishwasher has changed my life. (I’m only half joking when I say this.) ┬á­čÖé

It has added more time to my day to spend with the kids, to write, to do a million other things that I couldn’t do before. I only wish I had made the change sooner!

Now if a little thing like an appliance could be a game changer for me, imagine what other things could be major game changers!

I’m talking about the big things like…
~ breaking unhealthy patterns/cycles
~ setting healthy boundaries in relationships
~ choosing to do things differently for better outcomes
~ letting go of things from the past

Okay, let’s take a moment to breathe and let that all sink in.

Making changes is not easy. It can even be an uphill battle to get to the point where you realize you need to make changes. But no pain, no gain.

When I studied counseling, I learned an important truth: People only change when it hurts badly enough (not to change).

Take my analogy for example. After years of slaving away at the sink, I decided enough was enough. I was tired of washing dishes and having it take up my time and dictate my mood each day. I decided it was worth the money to buy a new dishwasher. And the outcome has been glorious!

Of course my story is a simple and lighthearted example of what making a change looks like. I know there are much deeper struggles that we face –┬ásuch as depression, anxiety, unhealthy relationships, resentment and hurt┬á– that are way more complex and challenging. Living with these conditions is like running with fifty pound weights strapped to your shoulders. It’s a struggle just to lift your foot to take a step. You have a hard time seeing through the sweat running down your face. Your heart is void of hope. There is no joy, no pleasure. You just do what you have to do to get by.

But what if you saw a sign that read, “Turn right at the next street to trade in your weights for a bike”? You’d be more than willing to put in a bit of work so you could be free from those weights. You’d be moving your legs and pumping your arms to get up the road as fast as you could!┬áJust the thought of coasting on a bike with the wind blowing through your hair would lift your spirits and get you moving!

I know however that it’s easy to get stuck in what we’re used to and miss the “road signs” that point us to something better. We’re so used to carrying around our weights that we don’t believe we have a choice not to. Dysfunctional patterns become the norm, especially when we don’t know what healthy looks like. But don’t be fooled into thinking “this is it”. We can make the choice to drop those weights and be free. We can be free from the things that weigh us down emotionally, mentally and physically.

Don’t wait until it hurts too much not to change. Start today and take a few minutes to think about what is weighing you down. Confide in a good friend about your struggles. For deeper issues, make an appointment with a counselor to gain insight on how to move forward.

Life is too short and precious to keep dragging your feet.

Listen to Mandisa’s song, “Overcomer” to remind you that there’s so much more in store for you.

What choices have you made that have been major game changers in your life?