by Kris (Cavanaugh) Castro /Greater Atlanta
Do you ever find yourself making the distinction between “before” and “after” a particular time-frame, circumstance, or event? For example:
“Before / After I moved to….”
“Before / After I got married….”
“Before / After I had kids….”
“Before / After I had to care for….”
“Before / After ???….”
Reflecting on the past can be a wonderful way to revisit great memories or learn from painful mistakes. But when you get stuck in the middle – fondly looking at the past, being frustrated in your present, and not seeing much joy in your future – life becomes emotionally draining.
Even though I am an optimist by nature, when I went through a really hard season that lasted several years there were weeks when I would think “before….” and sigh fondly – wishing I could go back in time – followed by “after….” and a deep sad sigh – wishing I could skip over the challenges I was facing. On particularly difficult days during that season my sighing turned into crying, wondering if things would ever get better. Can you relate?
I had many opportunities during those difficult years to give up and stop believing things would improve. I could have ignored the longing for joy over and over until it was snuffed out. But I didn’t.
I refused to allow my past or my present hold my future hostage. I held onto the hope that my “After” would be better, and gathered all my inner strength along with my support network to help me do what I needed to do in order to create the future I desired.
It took a while, and cost me time and money, but as I look back I am smiling because my “After” is now better than my “Before.” Every second of energy and every dollar I spent to make it better was worth it.
I am a better spouse, friend, daughter, sister and business owner when I avoid getting stuck in the pit of resignation. Even if I can’t change my circumstances, I still have the power to change my attitude about them or find ways to be joyful despite them.
How about you?
Are you stuck between your “Before” and “After” – wanting more, but settling for less?
How many times have you said “I wish…” during the last 5 years and yet nothing changes?
Don’t let one more day go by being stuck between your “before” and your “after.”
Do one thing today – just one – to take a step forward. Then each week do one more. Before you know it your “after” will become more joyful, allowing your entire life to feel more fulfilled and satisfied.
Close your eyes, imagine it happening, and give thanks in advance for all the people who will help you along the way as well as all the unexpected and wonderful things you will experience during your transformation journey.
Here’s a great quote to close with: “The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.” – Vance Havner
May you experience many joyful SHIFTs as you progress forward in creating the “after” you desire!