A number of years ago, when hubby and I were dating and I was still a poor college student, he valiantly volunteered to make repairs to my car, which had a dead heater core. (If you’ve ever replaced a heater core, you may be chuckling at this point.) It’s a good thing he was smitten with me, because by the time he reached the heater core, his conclusion was that when the car was manufactured, the heater core was mounted into the empty frame, and the rest of the vehicle built around it.
I’ve thought back to that experience a number of times in recent months. In my blog post a couple of weeks ago, Blessed – No Matter What, I mentioned that life has been pretty challenging at our house for the past few years. As the dust finally settled from a serious of crises, and we started digging our way out, I found that the more I learned about healing and moving forward, the more aware I became of how deeply buried I was beneath a lot of frustration, anger, fear, resentment, cowardly habits, and even weariness. So, like trying to reach the heater core in the car, I had a lot of “disassembling” to do in order to start replacing worn parts.
And, like the car, the diagnosis was relatively simple, but the repair strategy was clearly going to require some courage, a lot of tenacity, and in my case, some brutal honesty.
Brutal honesty was Step One. I had to admit that I was carrying around a lot of frustration and resentment – toward individuals, groups, institutions, and even myself. Not only did I have to admit it, I had to get very specific about exactly what I resented, and why. I had to admit that I’ve spent a lot of years doing things merely out of habit, tradition, or to satisfy the expectations of others. One of my “worn parts” was my faith, and when I finally got brutally honest, I had to admit that what I believed for years was real faith was merely lip service – I had been a real “poser.” When the rubber finally met the road, I failed the test. I needed to be willing to go back and start over.
Here’s where the courage kicks in. I had to adopt some new habits, and make some decisions that would disrupt the normal order of things in our house. I had to start saying “no” to things to which in the past I would readily say “sure.” I had to learn a lot about what I could and could not control – and learn to be at peace with it. I had to stop doing some things I’d always done, because there simply wasn’t enough time or emotional energy to worry about those things AND tackle the necessary repairs on myself.
Now, after diagnosing some major issues, then mustering up the courage to dive in, I’m having to remain laser-focused and tenacious to get back up and running, and back on the road, going forward. And it’s paying off. My head is clearer, my heart is clearer, and I feel I’m pointed in the right direction.
If you’re trying to move ahead but keep stalling, perhaps it’s time for a tune-up (pun intended). Stop for a bit, invest the time and effort to get to the core of what’s slowing you down. Maybe you need to stop trying to meet up to someone else’s expectations; maybe you need to stop doing things the way you’ve always done them and adopt a new strategy; maybe you need to perfect the art of saying “no.” It takes courage to be brutally honest, and to venture into new territory. But if you’ll do it, I believe you’ll be glad you did.