By Brigit Atkin
Have you ever planted a garden? If so, you know how much time, effort, patience, and consistency it requires. Can you imagine working that hard only to let your product rot? It would be silly to let the fruits of your labor go to such waste. Yet that’s what some of us do in the garden of our lives: we work hard toward a worthy goal only to cheat ourselves of the fulfillment and enjoyment of our valiant efforts.
Here are a few examples of what this might look like:
- Completing a demanding school project, then missing the due date.
- Planning and saving for retirement, then wondering what to do with yourself and feeling guilty about your new-found free time.
- Becoming an empty-nester, then instead of enjoying your new space, feeling that your house is big, sad, and empty.
- Earning a college degree, then suddenly finding you’re no longer interested in the subject of your major.
- Receiving a much-deserved raise, then failing to keep track of extra spending until the money disappears.
- Realizing that what was once satisfying (usually material things) is now not enough.
If you recognize yourself in these examples, you are familiar with the guilt and frustration that can come when you realize you’re missing out on the happiness your life’s experiences should bring. You might also notice the ways other areas of your life are affected: being unable to lose weight, feeling stuck in your life, and being dissatisfied with life in general.
A good friend recently helped me construct meaningful solutions that help clients navigate through these situations and seasons of life. The following suggestions prompt a healthy mode of receiving the bounties and blessings of our efforts:
- Claim. Claim (or reclaim) your space, your blessing, your desire. Tell yourself, “This is mine; I deserve this.” If, for example, you’ve finished a huge assignment for which you are graded, claim the final result you want—in this case an A+. Tell yourself you deserve the best grade possible for your efforts.
- Define. Define (or redefine) your new boundaries. Boundaries set aside your space and your energy as your own and separate them from those of others. If you are designing a house, give a purpose to each room. Give each room a name. A family room, for example, might be called “gathering.” This room now has the purpose and intention of gathering friends and loved ones together, bringing unity and harmony to important relationships.
- Arrange. Arrange (or rearrange) things in their proper place and put your new boundaries into action. If you’ve just become an empty-nester, rearrange your new rooms (with their named purpose) so they serve you going forward.
- Receive. A simple yet complicated word. You receive your good with open arms and without inhibition or hesitation. If you finally got the raise for which you’ve been working so hard, receive it fully. “See” the bounty of the extra and give this blessing a purpose. Make this bonus money work for you and bless your life.
Isn’t life magnificent? It gives us so many opportunities to grow, learn, and become refined. One factor always remains constant: change. Each season of life not only presents new challenges but also presents wonderful conditions in which to develop our character. Enjoy the beautiful season of reaping the good harvest. Create space to receive your next harvest. Claim and receive life’s glorious bounties. Happy Fall!