Ever notice how easy it is to point out what’s wrong in a friend’s life and then map out a course of correction to help them get unstuck? Like it’s no big deal at all?!?! “Oh, yeah, Susie … Susie just needs to break up with him, spend some time with The Lord and wait for all that God has for her instead of trying to take control of everything herself. That’s exactly what Susie needs to do!”
Have you been Susie before? How easy is it to just break up with dude and wait on God? It’s lovely in theory but it’s not how real life works. I find it interesting how easy it is to call out the blind spots in the lives of others but as soon as someone calls out OUR OWN blind spots … WHOA!
I love The Message version of Matthew 7:1-5 “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.”
Check it out. We all have blind spots. We all have things in our lives that are holding us back. It’s not necessarily a bad thing it’s just part of living life. It’s part of the process. Instead of taking offense I like to view it as a fun game of ‘discover the blind spots’ scavenger hunt.
It seems as though God doesn’t reveal all the chaos to us at once. Praise Him! But He does allow us to see the blind spots eventually so that we can begin to surrender those areas to Him and replace bad habits with good habits.
Some of my greatest behavioral changes happened because people loved me enough to tell me the truth about myself. Truth hurts but truth heals. Truth can be offensive! Do you remember Jesus being highly popular for large periods of time? Um. No. Jesus brought the truth. Jesus spoke with authority and he delivered a message that sandpapered the heck out of folks. It wasn’t fluffy. It wasn’t always pretty. It was truth! It hurt but it healed. It’s knowing the truth that sets us free. So how can you be free if you don’t know the truth? How can you be free if you are offensive every time someone tries to tell you about yourself (in love).
Are you stuck? Do you keep finding yourself in the same place over and over again? Are there obvious patterns in your life and you seem to be the common denominator? Ask your friends about your blind spots. It takes incredible courage to change. Here are a few tips to help you get positioned to discover your blind spots and take action against them:
Ask Good People
Don’t ask the gossip what your blind spots are. Don’t do it. (Hopefully you’re not close to this type of person anyway because if they gossip about others they will gossip about you.) Don’t go to your mama and ‘nem either. UNLESS your mama and ‘nem are people you admire and look up to. Close family have a tendency to view you as a child or as your past. They can also be offended if they feel like one of their ‘own’ is trying to break away and better themselves.
Think of people you trust the most. Think of people who care about others, who have good character and good judgement. This is who you want to involve in this challenge. This challenge is for you and everyone is not invited to it. I’d suggest two – three trusted folks and speak with each one of them separately. Make sure you choose good people to help you out.
Don’t Get Offended
Be prepared. The good people that you ask to help point out blind spots are going to be very apprehensive. We are conditioned to sugar coat our words and you’re asking this person to tell you things that they observe about you that are not very pleasant. It’s an awkward position. You cannot be offended. Go into this challenge knowing that you’re not going to be offended and assure the good person/people that are helping you out that you’re not going to be mad at them.
This part is going to be extremely hard but you’ve got to listen to them. Don’t make excuses, don’t explain yourself, don’t defend yourself … none of that. Just listen. Take note of what they’re saying and document how you feel as they’re telling you.
It’s also important to ask those trusted folks to finish their ‘blind spot’ talk with affirmations. What do they love most about you? What are your strengths? What makes them stick around? This is not just a beat up session. It’s a hard step in the right direction.
Pray & Sift
Although you trust the person who has shared your blind spots with you, remember these are their opinions. You don’t have to receive everything they say. Don’t hold it against them – but you simply need to pray and sift. What are the most common things that each person said about you? Is there a pattern? If all three trusted sources said you are very negative then chances are – you’re probably pretty negative. If one trusted source says you have low self esteem but the other two talk about your confidence then you want to sift that info and let some of the particles fall out.
You’ll know when something strikes a chord. I have a tendency to be selfish, especially when it comes to my husband. He gives so much and it’s really easy for me to take. One day he called me out because he was carrying the load of our home (chores, kids, etc) and was completely worn out. I knew he was tired but didn’t step in to help. He said, “I feel like you’re very unaware and I need help.” It made me so mad! I already knew I was being selfish but I didn’t want to be called out on it. He struck a chord because he was right. You’ll know when your trusted friends strike a chord.
One Bite At A Time
You don’t have to tackle all the negatives at once. How do you eat an elephant? That’s correct. Write down the top 5 things that you know you need to work on and how those negative habits are effecting your life. Then order them from most impact to least impact. Which habits are causing the most negative impact in your life and what’s the plan to counteract that habit?
For example, if the trusted friends shared that you are very negative and you know that negativity is causing major impact in your life, your #1 on the list may look like this:
Negativity – Because I am constantly in a negative mind set my life is negative. Even when people are trying to be good and positive, I view them as negative. I pick out the negative things in people’s lives before I notice the good. I am not a negative person. I will not be a negative person and I thank God that he has delivered me from this bad habit.
Goal – I will read 20 minutes of a positive book each day. I will guard my mind from negativity by eliminating negative things on TV and negative music. I will replace the negative TV with youtube videos of Joyce Meyer (or other positive speakers). I will unfollow anyone on my FB page that posts negative things. Over the next 90 days I will check in with ‘trusted friends’ who helped with this project for accountability and to gauge my progress.
You may have some deep roots in your life that allow you to only work on one negative habit at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed. It’s the small consistent changes that lead to the big life altering changes.
Celebrate The Victory
Celebrate! Just by reading this and considering this challenge you have changed the chemicals in your brain. I’ve mapped out step by step how to get you over this hump in life. Just because you’ve always been this way doesn’t mean you have to stay this way. Just because people have always known you to be this way doesn’t mean this is who you are!
You can change! Change isn’t going to just happen to you. You have got to put in some effort. What do you have to lose? Celebrate the victory before you see it. There is hope for your situation and bad habits. There is hope that sings in the deepest valleys. There is always hope.
I speak from experience, friends. I sat around for many years waiting for opportunity to just fall out of the sky. I sat around hoping that one day I would just magically change. It doesn’t work that way. One day I got tired of waiting. I got tired of feeling sorry for myself and being mad at people for not wanting to help me. I would talk with trusted friends and they would suggest books I should read. Ugh. Ain’t nobody got time to read a book! This cracks me up. I ALWAYS suggest books to folks now. It’s actually a huge indicator of whether or not a client is ready for change. If I suggest the book and they read it – they’re most likely ready. If I suggest the book and they don’t read it – they’re not ready. They’re not willing to do the work.
I’m so proud of you for taking this challenge. Be sure to check back and let me know how this turns out for you or how you modified the steps! Or have you already experienced this kind of challenge? What advice can you share so that others can be encouraged?
You are dearly loved!
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