The Invitation to Change…

A Change in Perspective

I recently was asked, “Where are you receiving an invitation to change?”

I immediately thought, “I've never been asked that question before, but that is a really interesting and unique perspective.” I’ll admit I’ve never thought of self-growth, healing, and improvement in this way.

I somehow, intuitively, knew the answer. “It’s where I am struggling,” I heard myself inwardly say. “It’s the things that are occupying my mind and ruling my thoughts. 

My inner struggle is the invitation and indication a change is needed and necessary. It’s highlighting the weakest parts of myself.”   

How we view or look at any situation can play a huge role in how we respond. Our quality of life is highly connected to how we view the life we are living. Perspective is everything…

I know firsthand, that perspective can work for or against us.  I along with my husband, survived a violent shooting in 2020 where two other people died. After experiencing this terrible incident, my perspective was deeply clouded with negativity, judgement, anger, and victim based. I viewed my inner struggle as something I did not deserve and spent a tremendous amount of time wishing it wasn't part of my story, rather than trying to do anything to work through it. This kind of perspective definitely worked against me and did nothing but make day-to-day life arduous and more painful. 

Having this type of perspective, one that is hyper focused on what is unwanted and uncomfortable, as I did, can lead to many unpleasant symptoms. Sleepless nights, anxiety, irritability, being overly emotional, defensiveness, and mood fluctuation are just a few examples.

The problem is that even though these symptoms cause great discomfort within us, we often resist the idea of truly dealing with them. It’s typically easier (at least we think) to suppress, sweep under the rug, and just act like all is fine. These things have a way of growing, though, and when left unattended, they often seep into other areas of our lives.    

I did not have to let the shooting define me for the rest of my life, but in all honesty, it took a good hot minute for me to come to this realization. I eventually came to a place where I was ready to heal, and this involved shifting my perspective a great deal. I could never change what had happened, but I could change how I viewed it. 

I began to understand that there was an opportunity for me to grow and become better, even threw a life experience that I truly hated and wished had not happened. There were lessons to learn from what I had been through. I now believe there always are lessons... we just often allow them to pass us by. 

What if we changed our perspective regarding how we view our struggle? What if, instead of resisting what is hard, we chose to view it as an invitation to change? What if we saw inner struggle through a lens of opportunity for growth? What if our struggle wasn't so scary? 

What if we stopped blaming? Stopped wishing things were different, and just accepted the invitation and said, "Okay God, what do you have for me in this situation? How do you want me to change and grow?" How could life improve and be different for us if we took on this posture? 

If you think about it, an invitation is the opposite- it's a warm welcome. By adopting this viewpoint, it’s almost as if we are saying to ourselves, “I welcome this struggle and the invitation to change and grow past it.”   

While this is not typically our nature, to view struggle in this way could be wildly beneficial to our health, wellness, peace, and overall enjoyment of life.   

This is precisely why I love the question… “Where are you receiving an invitation to change?” 

When I think back to my initial steps towards healing, even though I had not been asked this question yet, I can see that I started making an inner shift and accepting the inner invitation. By this I mean, I started accepting my areas of struggle and working to heal them, rather than avoiding them. I also shifted my focus from being external/others-focused (which I have no control over) to inwardly/me-focused (which I have 100% control over). This was when true healing began to unfold, and daily life began to gradually improve. 

I found myself wanting to go this place, rather than avoiding and resisting, because I was being invited to do so and because, ultimately, I knew it was for my best. On the other side of this soul and spirit invitation was freedom from the struggle and a deeper understanding of myself. I began to feel better... less anxiety, less overall negativity, and more peace, more trusting God and His infinite plan. 

I will admit, even four years post shooting, this type of change in perspective is still a work in progress for me. It's not necessarily the natural way to look at what is hard and painful. In addition, choosing to view my struggle in this way doesn't mean the inner disruption and emotional residue from my life experiences (worry, fear, anxiety, panic etc.) miraculously goes away. No, thinking this way takes practice; it is essentially thought conditioning. I am conditioning my thoughts each and every day to go a different direction than they naturally would. This takes consistency, intention, and mind discipline on my part. This is inner work that is not easy because it's against the grain, but the payoff is big. The more I practice this type of thinking, the more relief I feel from my areas of struggle. Gradually, they lose their grip on me, and I feel more peace, contentment, and overall happiness. 

I believe this process is never fully done... it's something we must work on for the rest of our lives, but it does become easier the more we do it. 

So, ask yourself, “Where do I continue to struggle?”   

Most likely, an area in your life will immediately come to mind, and this is where the change in perspective comes into play. It’s a new option that you can choose. I am gently nudging you to:   

  • Choose to accept the invitation to change as it relates to your struggle.   
  • Choose to change what you have control over.  
  • Choose to go into the struggle rather than continuing to avoid and resist it.   
  • Choose to change your perspective.
  • Choose to show up for yourself.   

Will this feel uncomfortable, awkward, and even painful? Perhaps, but see this as another invitation to keep going and an indicator that you are headed in the right direction. Remember, facing the difficulty and choosing to walk through it rather than away from it, will strip away the power and weight of whatever is hard and painful for you. The struggle will lose its influence over you as you practice this more and more. 

What can you do to support and maintain a perspective change? 

  • Journal- journaling can help reinforce a different perspective by writing thought statements down. I love to journal 3-4 times per week. 
  • Prayer- asking God to help you shift your perspective, to be open to changing where you need to, and to have the mental fortitude to be consistent is SO beneficial. I always feel more grounded in my thoughts when I am praying consistently. God is my anchor. 
  • Gratitude- express thanks for the struggle. As counterintuitive as that may sound, when we can be grateful for the hard things in our life, it supports us in shifting the way we view our struggles. There are many hard things in my life, that I can look back and say, "I probably would not have chosen that, but I am grateful for the change in me it produced." When we can genuinely say this, we can know healing has happened. 
  • Coaching or therapy- talking to a professional about your struggle areas is always a great thing to do in my opinion. Find someone who is a good fit (this is very important) and who can support you in your inner growth and ongoing journey. 

I have not always known this, but I see it now. My areas of struggle are not something I need to fear, the opposite is actually true. The struggle is a welcoming invitation to go into what is hard, and to grow past it. It's an invitation to become more free, more peaceful, and more joyful. It's an invitation to become a better human. When we choose to see our struggle this way, there is great strength that comes from within, and we can accept the invitation to become the best version of ourselves. 

Wayne Dyer once said, “If you change how you look at things, the things you look at will change.” I could not agree more. 

So, I ask, where are you receiving an invitation to change? Will you accept or decline? The choice is yours. 

Life Doesn’t Just Happen for Us…We Shape It