To desire change requires a certain amount of personal awareness but to actually change requires action.
This is why so many people remain in the state of complacency for many years before they’re ready to do something about their situation. Often their Mindset has to shift before any process of change can take place. After you reach the point of your situation where you are actively ready to make a change AND you are ready to make steps to do so, you are ready to begin the process of restoration.
Webster-Merriam defines Restoration as a restoring to an unimpaired or previous condition. Can I be a little honest with you? I wasn’t ready for REAL change until a few years ago. Sure, I made plenty of strides forward but somehow, ended up back in a familiar cycle.
What do I mean?
Well, self-doubt and low self-esteem where my buddies for years due to a by-product of sexual abuse and trauma. What I didn’t realize is that self-doubt and low self-esteem still managed to rear their ugly heads in my career, when I failed to ask for salaries I was qualified to receive. They also showed up in friendships, when I would put more work in maintaining the friendship than the other person. They would also show up in my marriage, when I decided to put my career on hold while my husband pursued his dreams and my children finished school.
However, I was extremely blessed that I was present for my children during that time period and was the stable parent at home (my husband worked out of town for a month at time), I was not as productive as I should have been when it comes to my career. They dynamics in my marriage suffered A LOT!
From the awareness of that time, I learned five steps that I used to begin the process of restoration in my life and relationships and want to encourage you if you’re in a similar position.
Step 1: Self Evaluation
Self evaluation means to look inward and evaluate where you are spiritually, emotionally and physically. Each area makes up the “whole” person so if one are is suffering, all areas are impacted. That is the beauty of how the Creator created us. For instance, if you are struggling emotionally, your physical health will also be impacted. In fact, some studies show that when a person treats their mental health some of their physical ailments/illnesses go away.
Step 2: Spiritual Forgiveness
I believe that we fall short in some area of our lives and at some point. We are not perfect people. But do you want to know who is perfect? God is and His desire is for us to always maintain our relationship with Him when we mess up. This is what we call, spiritual reconciliation. Friend, there is NOTHING you can do or have done that will make God not love you. He loves us just as we are! He loves us even when we try to ignore Him. He loved us in the beginning and will be there at the end. HE LOVES US! There is nothing we can do or have done to earn it. Isn’t that amazing love?!
Step 3: Self Forgiveness
Whew! If you have made it this far, you are in the right place and at the right time so keep reading. Forgiveness is hard. It’s even harder when you have to forgive yourself. There is something comfortable about punishing ourselves over and over. Somehow it makes us feel like we deserve to be punished for mistakes we made for the rest of our lives. This is far from the truth. The truth is, it’s done and is over (hopefully).
If it happened in the past, there’s no need to keep punishing yourself for it. God has forgiven you so now you have to forgive yourself so that you can begin healing and restoring. Tell yourself, “It’s in the past and it’s who I use to be, not who I currently am”.
Step 4: Forgive Others
No let’s go a little deeper. There’s a story in the Bible in Matthew 18 (go read it, you’ll love it I promise), that talks about the importance of forgiveness. It’s starts out with a story ( I was hooked from the beginning because I love a good story) about a man who owed a debt to his master and could not pay it.
He was faced with his family being sold into slavery to repay the debt, but was given grace. His debt was forgiven and he was able to keep his family. He then went and found someone that owed him and demanded to be paid.
Y’all, he was so mean that he had the man thrown in jail. How fair was that?
His master found out and ordered for him to be tortured until his debt was paid, all because he wouldn’t forgive the person that owed him.
Why is this important?
Because when we do not forgive others, we end up being the one emotionally tortured.
Step 5: Move Forward
Now that you have moved through the process of forgiveness, it’s time to begin planning on how you are going to move forward. This is can be hard because our emotions will tell us that we need to hold on EVEN though we may know that it is time to let go. The key here is to make a plan of how you are going to move forward and/or let go. This may require moving away from unhealthy people or relationships. This may require a change of jobs or deleting phone numbers. You’ll need to decide that YOU and your emotional health is worth it.
Friend, I assure you that this can be easier said than done but with intention and support, you can get through it. Some people may not have the support and could benefit from joining an online support group such as the Find Your Relationship Voice group on Facebook that I designed to help support women who are ready to change their current situations.