Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Transform Your Life

We have all been on a journey this year, no different from the past. When we started the journey, the grass was green and the trees had leaves and now in some regions there is snow on the roadways and our whole community is transforming as it gets ready for Christmas - for the coming of the new year and for winter. As we look back today the question is “what have we learned this year?” And, “did we accomplish our plan?” Each year I sit down and plan out the next year, particularly the summer, and work to figure out what the family is going to do on holidays, and where are we going to go. Once a decision is made we then have to make reservations and we have to make plans because otherwise it just remains a conversation and we never get there until we take that next step to make it happen. It's kind of like the old Walter Gretzky quote that says “you miss 100% of the shots you don't take”. You actually have to decide to step out, to move forward and that happens in all aspects of your life. You may have heard people say that they got a lot out of counseling when they went - and though you might give it a try yourself someday, every time you consider it you think, “you know… I should, I should take that step”, but then you hold back for one reason or another, you go around the mountain another year and that change you hoped to accomplish in your life remains… unchanged. We fail to accept the invitation when it presents itself and it's kind of like we're left sitting in the station when the train pulls away or we're still in the stands, when we could be on the field.

The Choice To Transform
The choice to take a step and work to experience a better life is Here, and we say to you today, before next year begins, “Let this be a reminder to you of our invitation to help you move forward.” You still need to know where you're going, the destination, the path to take and the plan but it always starts with a first step and with a connection to someone else.

Our Mission
Our mission statement here is simply to ‘Help Others’. To serve where we can to make life more fulfilling for someone else. We all recognize that as we walk through life’s journey it can often be challenging and often when we counsel others, we find ourselves impatiently asking if this applies to our mission, and when will we see results – and so today we are talking about the end of that journey when our mission statement is finally fulfilled. The final destination that makes all journeys go somewhere. So, whether you are out on a hike, doing a road trip, walking the dog or overcoming a mental health issue you are going somewhere. Every trip starts somewhere and ends somewhere and the journey we find ourselves continually engaging in, is one of transformation. It's about the difference between the beginning and the end and about actually becoming something else - the dictionary defines transformation as a dramatic change in appearance or character so that a person is improved.

Improve Radically
The transformation we often seek is radical where the old is gone and the new is now here. And in our families and our community this is something we want to experience together. We want to see transformation when we look at the brokenness in people's lives and in family life. As we look across our community, we have become convinced that we don't just need a face lift, we don't just need some slight modification, the answer isn’t a few tweaks here or there - these will not bring about the healing that is required. What is needed is significant transformation. Imagine that you live in home that has a lot of needs and requires a rebuild, so you hire an expert to ‘transform it’ – at first you understand what he's doing, he's getting the drains right, stopping the leaks in the roof and you knew those jobs needed to be done so you're not surprised but then he starts knocking about the house in a way that hurts abdominally and seems not to make any sense at all, what on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quite a different house than the one you thought. Throwing up a new wing here, putting another floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were getting a decent little cottage but he's building a palace. And pretty soon you start to realize that the darkness of the old house has been eradicated by the light streaming in through the new windows. The broken home and hate that used to persist have been melted away by love and healing, time and care.

Self-Discipline Does Not Work
When we're at funerals we cry because we think this is not the way it should be and you're right. What you're feeling is grief and you want it to change and go away but there's so many obstacles that stand in the way -- but rest assured that this isn't the end of the story because transformation is possible. You might say to yourself, “I want to change, I want to be different, I want to do this different in my life and I'm just going to get enough self-discipline and suck-it-up and do it myself”. Unfortunately, the reality is that, self-discipline won't even get you down to breakfast tomorrow. No doubt you'll try hard and if you're really self-disciplined you'll make it a day, maybe you'll make it a week but eventually self-discipline will fail because we can't do it on our own. It’s something that needs to be done through connection with others because there's so many obstacles like our own stubbornness and apathy and comfort and fear and a lack of power and resources - they all war against us! And we never see the transformation possible in our life, and in our community that we need. Authentic transformation is only possible through connection and creating new and starting new.

And that's why the counselors, coaches and therapists at TeleCounsel Group do what they do. To heal relationships, to overcome grief, to prioritize ADHD thoughts, to recover from depression and anxious thought patterns, to simply Talk with Someone. Sometimes it's  such a small thing but it's about something so much bigger, its about something so much greater that we want people to experience - we want to see our communities transformed and that's why we get up in the morning. Authentic transformation is a process, you don't just get there overnight, we wish that weren’t true but often it's a process that takes time. The best example in nature is the caterpillar who goes through a process of metamorphosis, hidden away in a cocoon over winter and you assume that nothing is happening, that nothing is changing, meanwhile transformation is taking place and a butterfly is about to emerge.

Often, we kind of expect our problems to just go away and when we’ve accomplished the allotted average-time of working through it, things will be all better - but it’s never that easy. Yes, there may be setbacks, there may be disappointments, and discouragement but over time as we surrender ourselves to the journey we see the transformation happen and suddenly you look at where you are now and you think I have so much more patience than I had a year ago or that issue no longer trips me up the way it used to or I'm filled with joy or I've stepped out in serving and it used to terrify me but now it delights me. We need to grow together and to step out and experience things together. We have been at this for a while now and plan to continue to assist in the transformation of people like you and others even when there are struggles and difficulties and things that are not the way we wish them to be. We will remain patient until the metamorphosis and the transformation is complete. Broken people, broken families and broken communities - even when it looks like not much is happening, there is transformation and we faithfully serve to see the caterpillar one day emerge as a beautiful butterfly.

Progress Is Impossible Without Change
Also realize - We will never experience frantic transformation by hanging on to what got us here. It comes only by grabbing a hold of what will get us there, because often we are tempted to hold back and resist change; George Bernard Shaw once said famously, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Our temptation is often to turn back to what we know when there is uncertainty ahead because when we turn back it produces a feeling of security. But unfortunately turning back never brings about real change. Authentic transformation happens when we let go of our security and we make a connection and we grab hold of a hand and say “I don't know where this story leads, I don't know how it all turns out, but I'm holding on and I'm going to follow.” People that are willing to let go and embrace transformation are courageous. All people improve but only brave people truly transform. Over the last year our counselors have spent a whole bunch of time listening - listening to people, to each other, in meetings, on Saturday’s talking, walking, listening, looking for the next step, to better understand what we can take hold of and how we can help more people transform. This is the season for all of us to get started if we haven’t and there are many opportunities to step up and impact the future in your own community. Right now, here in our community, there's some awesome privileges where we can be involved. Even though it might be rainy and cold and I think I don't want to go to be part of that, I plan to show up anyway and be part of it.  And more often than not when you get home after and you have had the chance to warm up and sit and think for little bit you’ll think, “Oh man there's nothing else I would have rather done with my night” – and that's the reward of serving and helping in transformation. It doesn't always have to be outdoors, it could be serving anyone, anywhere or volunteering or being part of something empowering. We want to help transform our community and every community and so are asking, this holiday season, for you to step up and apply the work of transformation in someone else’s life. Be a transforming agent in your family and in our community and in-turn transform yourself.
A TeleCounsel Group counselor can effectively partner and guide you in this journey. We all need help getting there, and the short time spent transforming your life will not only impact you for the better but also the people around you as well. We look forward to working with you to achieve this end. Please call us at 1-855-257-9444 to Get Started.

References: Andrew Gordon (Speaker). (2017, November). Messages [Audio]. Retrieved from https://www.thisiscompass.com/

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