Have you ever planted a garden? If so, you know how much time, effort, patience, and consistency is required. Can you imagine working that hard, only to let your product rot at the end? It would be silly to let the fruits of your labor go to such waste. And yet that’s what some of us do in the garden of our lives – we work hard toward a worthy goal, only to cheat ourselves of the fulfillment and enjoyment of our valiant efforts.
A few examples of what this might look like:
- Complete a demanding school project, then miss the deadline of turning it in
- Plan over many years toward retirement, then wonder what to do with yourself and feel guilty about your new-found free time
- Finally become an empty-nester, only to feel that your house is big, sad and empty instead of enjoying your new space
- Earn a college degree, then suddenly find you’re no longer interested in the subject of your major
- Finally got that raise, but the extra money goes unaccounted for and disappears, or isn’t enough
- What was once satisfying (usually material things) is now not enough
If you recognize and resonate with any of the above, you are familiar with the guilt and frustration that can come when you realize you’re missing out on the happiness your life’s experiences should bring. You might also notice that other areas of your life are influenced – not being able to lose weight, feeling stuck in your life, being dissatisfied with life in general.
A good friend recently helped me construct meaningful solutions to help clients navigate through these situations and seasons of life. These suggestions prompt a healthy mode of receiving the bounties and blessings of our efforts:
1. Claim. Claim (or re-claim) your space, your blessing, your desire. Tell yourself, “this is mine, I deserve this.” If, for example, you’ve finished a huge assignment for which you are graded, claim the final result you want – in this case an A+. Tell yourself you deserve the best grade possible for your efforts.
2. Define. Define (or re-define) your new boundaries. Boundaries set aside your space or your energy as your own, and separate them from those of others. If you are designing a house, give a purpose to each room. Give each room a name – a family room, for example, might be called “Gathering”. This room now has the purpose and intention of gathering friends and loved ones together, bringing unity and harmony to important relationships.
3. Arrange. Arrange (or rearrange) things in their proper place, and put your new boundaries into action. If you’ve just become an empty-nester, rearrange your new rooms (with their named purpose) so they serve you going forward.
4. Receive. A simple yet complicated word. You receive your good with open arms and without inhibition or hesitation. If you finally got the raise you’ve been working so hard for, receive it fully: “see” the bounty of the extra, and give this blessing a purpose. Make this bonus money work for you and bless your life.
Isn’t life magnificent? It gives us so many opportunities to grow, learn, and become refined. And one factor always remains constant – Change. Each season of life presents new challenges, as well as wonderful conditions in which to develop our character. Enjoy the beautiful season of reaping the good harvest. Create space to receive your next harvest. Claim and receive life’s glorious bounties. Happy Fall!