Pain of Staying the Same

I stared at the skull-n-crossbones keychain hanging off the edge of my business bag. Right next to it hung pink flipflops.

I was truly hating my job and the unappreciative coworkers. Most didn’t know that I’d been working over a year without salary. While the hubs and my life savings were being dumped into the business so that paychecks could be issued. Times were tough, there were signs that we’d all tightened our belts. Yet petty office-griping continued, rubbing me raw.

As I stewed and despised—feeling a rage of going postal—I stopped in a silent shock. Those keychains.

OMGosh those two keychains! Had I been telling myself something all along? The cute skull held my office and desk keys. The beachy flip-flops held a mini usb flashdrive with my writings, logos, and creativity — art — coaching curriculum—the life I dreamed of having.

Death and Freedom. The imagery was so obvious, and yet for years of using these keychains I was oblivious. I had to make a change. I had to LET GO of my corporate life. A wave of fear came over, then my stomach filled with violent butterflies. I was breathing and swallowing hard to keep my nausea from winning.

That was the first day I started to LET GO of what was slowly killing me. And then plotted a path and way to embrace what could be. The life I wanted that fills my heart with a passion, purpose, and freedom.

Okay, so maybe you don’t have something as obvious as my keychains—your subconscious desperately trying to give you a message. But my guess is there is something that when you think about it you get the twisty feeling in your stomach. And you poke around at the idea of letting go and ponder change.

Well, those gut feelings can be of help. But maybe there are some signs—guideposts—some questions you can answer that affirm if it’s time for a change.

Dreading is one of the first signs that something needs to change. Whatever your circumstance or task, if time after time you truly abhor and dread, then maybe it’s time to listen to your heart. What does it say? Is there a hint of spark of what “could be” — but it’s overshadowed by the thing you dread?

Then yeah, keep reading and answering these next few questions.

Often the first realization I have about letting go surrounds my personal feelings of being unappreciated. It has become a guidepost in all areas of my life. People I choose to put my personal time into, places I volunteer, all the stuff where I put love, and effort, and heart into—I’m checking on reciprocal feelings of appreciation for my what I do—my worth.

Now don’t get me wrong. I count my ultimate worth on something much higher than what other people give to me. I get my true worth in being an image-bearer of my Creator. And often I do things in which I do not expect (nor want) praise and appreciation. Why? Because I’m doing something for the greater good. I’m being light and salt. I’m getting appreciation from a higher place. But there are times when it DOES matter what’s going on below the heavenly realms.

True story: it’s a crummy feeling when being a responsible, reliable, and accountable volunteer for five+ years—yet I didn’t get a year-end appreciation gift because I couldn’t come to the volunteer-party. I didn’t expect a gift. And certainly wasn’t about to “ask” for the gift. But knowing there was something there for me–but withheld–stirred me. And it’s true, there’s been other guideposts along the way. But in this moment—this small pang of a circumstance—I felt unimportant and under-appreciated. My heart was saying, “This is one in a long string of circumstances…perhaps, now, it’s time to go.”

In your life, is there a circumstance where you continually feel unappreciated? Where your worth is overlooked? Then maybe it’s time release that friendship, person, group, place, task, or item.

And yes, it’s hard. I too can take a laboriously long time to let go. But once it’s done I think “wow, I feel so much better—what took me so long?”

Fool me once, shame on you—fool me twice, shame on me.

Truth be told, I give more than just two chances when someone breaks my trust. But sometimes, now-and-then, when trust is broken and a betrayal is overwhelming—it becomes a guidepost in possible time for change.

If you sit in a chair and the legs come out from under you, you clearly won’t trust to sit in that chair again. Either you get rid of it—or love and need it so much that you put effort into fixing it. And if by chance you fixed it—yet it continues to break and break again—then your trust is gone. Broken. For all your efforts, the chair continues to betray you.

It’s a sad realization and crushes the heart when the person or thing you loved has proven it can’t be trusted. Find the lesson in the circumstance and then follow that guidepost pointing towards letting go.

I hate this one the most. It’s when I’m looping the conversations and how I’ll respond to people that push my buttons over and over and over. It’s when I’m living in either the lyrics of the past or future—and not living in the present. It’s a guidepost right in front of my face screaming, “STOP!”

Those hideous negative thoughts that become an obsession and take over the brain are NOT good for anyone. Sure there are processes you can put yourself through to change your thoughts (one of my favorite tools I share with clients). But when that doesn’t work—and when the circumstance keeps re-rearing its ugly head—then perhaps it’s time to let it go and seek change.

There’s a great quote that serves as a guidepost in my life. It’s a sign that appears in the deepest hours of desperation. It goes like this:

“You’ll never make the change until the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of the change.”

How true. In every way, shape, and form.

Don’t change, and the pain increases till it seeps into all the parts of your life.

But if you notice the guideposts along the way and choose to change, let go, release—then you could dive into a new thing. And what if it was amazing?

You’ll never know until you try.
Seriously, what do you REALLY have to lose?
Sherry Meneley Soiled Wings
©2009-2012 Sherry Meneley All Rights Reserved soiled wings create•heART create heart creativity life coach coaching art journal jounraling

14 thoughts on “Pain of Staying the Same

  1. I’m so with you Sherry. Change has been beckoning me for awhile. Dread, stress, sick stomach, longing for for freedom and time to commit to my creative gifts-while I have time.These are my signs. The Holy Spirit is faithful to pull and tug.Thanks for the challenge and message of truth.

  2. Sherry, this is so important, so good & so timely. I can tell right now that this is something I will need to return to from time to time.

  3. “Most didn’t know” the truth and the ones that did weren’t telling it. Isn’t it amazing how people treat you, both the ones who didn’t know the truth and the one’s who did? But God used it to enlarge our hearts, to challenge us to love and forgive no matter what.

    I could relate to every one of your checkpoints. We wanted to “let go” immediately, reacting from the pain and hurt, but we knew we couldn’t, we knew He wanted us to stay at least for now. Then came the dream that my husband had. We stood before God and our leaders, God revealed the truth at least in their hearts. You knew that they knew and God said to my husband, “You are released.” My husband said, that I was jumping up and down with joy in his dream. Then we were extended the invitation that would create picture perfect reconciliation. I know I hoped for that so why did we decline the invitation, why didn’t we jump at the chance? Because God made it clear, David could throw Saul’s garment out there every time. David could have tried a myriad of ways to convince Saul that he meant no harm, but Saul’s heart never changed even unto death. From my own experience, I know David truly desired reconciliation and restoration and probably desperately strived for it, but David needed the wisdom to trust God even when it wasn’t going to happen. Next was the actual words, “Letting go, Let it go” even before T.D. Jakes announced His new book. I love how Holy Spirit gives the early reveal. Let go of what once was, Let go of the hurt, disappointment…Let go of the how could you do that? Let go of the picture perfect and genuine desire for reconciliation and restoration. Next was the word “Release” and then this morning your blog. God’s timing is perfect! My trust has long departed. The lyrics do not loop with the same intensity but they are still present at times. But perhaps, you said it best with this line, “But if you notice the guideposts along the way and choose to change, let go, release—then you could dive into a new thing. And what if it was amazing?” Let go, release, and new thing as in the new adventure He has been leading us to. I know we remain surrendered to His will, whether it means staying or going, but I can’t help but wonder if your blog post this morning is a strong indicator of the freedom that He’s leading us to.

    Forgive me, I don’t mean in any way to trump your blog with the length of my post. You hit somewhere deeper, deeper than I realized was possible, and it continues to stir within me. Thank you Sherry!

    • Christine you could write however long you want… as long as it helped, I am blessed. As long as you got “stirred” for a good and better thing, or way of thinking, or being – then yeah, write away my friend 😀

  4. I finally listened when I fell and broke both my legs while 8 months pregnant. Could there have been a more obvious sign that it was time for a change? 18 months later I started my first business, and haven’t looked back since. Hard? Yes! Scary? Yes! Fulfilling? Absolutely!

    When presented with the sign…Move!

    Great Post Sherry!

    • Thanks Mary – yes, your story has a HUGE sign! …I wish we all could (rather) see the little signs along the way. But, sometimes a proverbial break in both legs is what it takes. {sigh}

  5. I’m am LONGING for change–on so many levels. So, here’s a question for you I’ve been pondering today. What if the change we (or me) want to jump into is really just RUNNING from life (reality)?

    • Well Laura (and thank you soooo much for asking) my question to you is this:
      IS THAT TRUE? Is it true that you are wanting to run-away from something in your life that you SHOULD be facing. (should is the word to pay close attention to).
      If you answer “Yes” then answer the question again in an other way eg: “Why SHOULD I face this THING that I want to run away from?”
      In theory, you should have a long list of responses. Each of those responses begs to ask the question: IS THAT TRUE? It is not true if your yes response comes from shame or fear of what others will think (eg: Laura failed), etc…
      The “YES” answer is true when it supports your values.
      I hope that helps 😀 Peace for the journey friend… peace.

  6. Wow…this was powerful and yet another message that I do need to make some changes in my own life before the stress takes my health to places I don’t want to go. Thanks for sharing your story. ❤

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