“Life Can Turn On a Dime”

woman in white and blue top sitting in front table
Photo by mentatdgt on Pexels.com

For something to “turn on a dime” actually refers to a vehicle or something turning quickly without expectation and with precision. When we apply this to life, it has come to refer to a sudden shift in direction without notice or warning.

I think it was at least a decade ago, or more, I received a late call from a woman I had never spoken to before. She must have seen my advertising for my counseling/coaching office and desperately needed to talk. I sat on the floor on the phone next to my bed just listening as she sobbed and explained how her husband had come to her all of a sudden and told her he had been seeing someone else. He not only wanted a divorce but he gave her papers that explained he had wanted her to move out of the house they had lived together in for almost 25 years. She was in her late 50’s and could not imagine what she would do with her life now.

The next morning, we met for breakfast. Through sobs she said, “I never saw this coming.” My heart went out to her. She had so much life still ahead and yet so much of it had been lived with the same man for so long. She could not imagine what life was going to be like. Her life had turned on a dime.

Another woman I had met had given birth to a baby girl several years prior. During her pregnancy she had learned her child would be born with a rare birth defect and was given the opportunity to decide to end the pregnancy (which she chose not to). I listened to her story as her eyes filled with tears, recalling the day she received the news. Life would never be the same again. This child would need continual care the rest of her life which would require the woman to give up her medical career she studied and worked hard for. Her life turned on a dime.

Yet, another couple struggled as they watched their young daughter fight for her life after being hit by a car. She was in a coma and had a very slim chance of living. Up until then, their lives had a pretty set routine. As one of the most precious joys of their lives slipped away in front of their eyes, with tears, they shook their head in disbelief. Yes, their life turned on a dime.

Not all sudden changes are good news. Many of them are very trying. As I look back, I can recall many times when life changed very quickly and without notice. I wonder, “Is this God’s way of shaking us up a bit, or maybe waking us up?” Of course, there are those who have amazing turns, like getting an unexpected promotion or the surprise of a marriage proposal. Even still, life is going to change. Dramatically it will change a person’s history and future. There can also be the sudden fulfillment of all we ever dreamed of. I suppose in the scheme of things, we all would rather have those shifts but life is not always like that. For some reason many of our life’s turns are those that follow difficult news to choke down.

We are learning here. Our playground changes scenes and sometimes the players change as well. It often feels like a cruel force of nature but we face the challenge of needing to be flexible and pliable. Think of the palm tree. These tall massive trees with thin trunks tend to bend and bow like a Q-tip when faced with gale force winds or hurricanes. Rarely do they snap. At any moment the trees might be subjected to something that will cause them to rely on their firmly planted roots and pliable trunks. By comparison, many other less grounded trees can be uprooted, broken into pieces, and torn apart.

You know where I am going with this already, right? What kind of tree do you want to be? There is a choice. You can choose to be stiff and rigid like many of the trees we have on earth, or like the palm, deeply planted and rooted and pliable against sudden changes. The message here, is those who are the survivors are strong yet flexible. If you are not now, guaranteed you will learn to be, because life can turn on a dime and you will find yourself with a new direction staring you in the face. You will need to make new decisions, and change the old ones. Life will make a U-turn and the scenery will change.

Will you be strong and flexible?

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry

Jenine Marie Coaching and Ministries LLC 

To Thy Own Self Be True (Re selfing Yourself!)

woman-huggingAs I pondered what I would like to give up for Lent, a very important issue came into my focus and mind. I really believe God drew this to me and I feel “we” have decided upon this one. I’m going to give up caring what other people think of my decisions and I’m going to work on “re selfing” myself. I’m no longer leaving my decisions to others but I am going to take care of them all myself, regardless to what others think. Re selfing  is a term I picked up from Author Harriet Lerner in her book “The Dance of Anger: A Woman’s Guide to Changing the Patterns of Intimate Relationships.”    I highly recommend this book as a good read for you. I am sure you will find a scenario in there that reflects part of your “self”.

This means taking responsibility toward self care upon myself. It’s basically where it belongs, right? No one else can provide this for me or for you who are reading. We have to provide this on our own no matter what it takes. Surprisingly it might take more than you think. Once I took a hard look at it all, I never realized just how much of my own decisions I have made according to what others might think about it, care about it, object to it, or not like it. Even with the knowledge that I deserve my own life while living it with others. Even with the knowledge that I deserve the best in this life, even if others don’t think so. Even with the knowledge that my best blessed life depends upon it, I still did not completely do it.

So, I am on a mission! I am putting my own desires, decisions, and destinations back into my own hands with God. Part of that means doing this even when others disagree, feel discomfort, or have to deal with their own “re selfing” because of it. Let’s not confuse re selfing with being selfish. Being our authentic self is the best gift we can also give to others as well. It causes them to look more deeply at their own self and make new decisions according to what they see or feel. It leaves others with their own feelings and whatever those might be, they will have to deal with them. You see, re selfing means also keeping out of others decisions as much as it means stepping completely into our own.

This has to be done without the fear of other’s reactions. Remember this always; you can not please everyone. There will always be someone who does not agree with you! Also, this does not have to be a harsh decision in which you have to fight tooth and nail to get what you want. You simply do it and leave others reactions to themselves. It does not mean we don’t care and it does not mean we don’t love. It means we love ourselves enough to gift ourselves with God’s best. This also means obeying God for ourselves when others around us don’t want to obey Him. Our responsibility is not to fix anyone else’s sin. We can comment on it in the form of guidance but we can not make someone want to change. They have to do that on their own.

So, what does this mean in the context of relationships? 

It means to express our authentic self and ideas without the fear of retaliating opposing comments. Someone else’s ideas and opinions do not make ours wrong for us. We are entitled to our own even if someone else disagrees with us harshly. Their disagreeing emotions belong to themselves. We care about them, but we can not change nor guide them. Re selfing means claiming our own lives and allowing others around us to adjust accordingly. Maybe some will do more than disagree. Maybe they will distance themselves. So be it! They were not meant to be in our lives then anyway. Anyone who does not want the best for you does not belong with you! I can’t even stress this enough.

On the flip side, being our authentic self means allowing others to be theirs as well. We can not guide or dictate someone else’s decisions no matter how upset they make us. We can respond to them as long as we don’t react. We can make our own decision according to how we feel about it. If they violate our boundaries then we also can decide to disconnect from them. It sounds easier than it really is. The concept is simple, but it takes some practice and faith. In the long run; I have to tell you the truth. Re selfing is the greatest thing you could ever do for your life. You are too important to pass yourself by! So, please pray about this for yourself! I’m sure that God will empower you because He wants the best for you too!

Loving myself and YOU from here!

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

800-421-1765 for prayer