Jump the Tracks And Put An End to Your Circular Patterns
A few years back, I had the opportunity to help with the two and three-year-old children at church on a Sunday morning. The bulk of my time was spent with an adorable young man with a special affection for trains. We built a circular train track and proceeded to have tons of fun guiding a train round and round and round. Occasionally his enthusiasm would cause the train to jump the tracks. When that happened, he didn’t waste any time getting the train situated in its grooves again. And the fun continued round and round and round again – he had not idea he was acting out what it’s like to be stuck!
Later, when reflecting on the train adventure I enjoyed with my new buddy, it struck me how often life is like a train going round and round but never getting anywhere. At any point my buddy could have jumped the tracks and taken the train anywhere he wanted, but he didn’t.
Traveling circular tracks, with well-worn grooves, is a comfortable and familiar place to be. At the same time, those well-worn grooves prevent you from ever reaching your desired goals. It might seem safe, but it is essentially a dead end with no outlet.
God longs for you to “jump the tracks” and blaze a new path with Him. To venture into all that God intended you to BE you must leave your old patterns behind and step outside your comfort zone and depend on Him.
Creating a new path requires two things: awareness of what needs to change and the willingness to take responsibility for making those changes. That sounds easy. It’s not. That’s just one reason why people take another trip around the tracks; one more trip around the mountain!
Stuck In Circular Patterns?
I have a few of those circular patterns in my own life. I bet you do too! Patterns of taking on too much, having unrealistic expectations, allowing work to eke out activities that bring me joy, or procrastinating at tasks that aren’t my favorite. I’m getting quicker to jump off the tracks and exit my familiar circular patterns more quickly. Each time I do I wonder why I allowed myself to go in circles at all!
No matter what’s happening in your life, it’s possible to jump the tracks – even in the midst of chaos, disorganization, uncertainty, or whatever it is that you’re experiencing right now.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to stop going in circles and actually get where you want to be; where God intended you to be? Ask yourself…
1. What’ Is God Up To?
Distressing situations are frequently fantastic opportunities to take a fresh trail. God doesn’t disappear in the midst of difficulties He’s still there just like He always is! What’s God is up to in the hard aspects of your life – the places you are stuck? What’s He trying to show you in the positive parts of your life? Have you observed your circumstances from His perspective?
It’s pretty tough to zero in on what He’s revealing to you if you don’t spend time with Him. He wants to hear what’s really on your mind and He’s eager to express His thoughts and deep love for you.
When we let Him into our well-worn grooves, hope swells, and change is possible.
For many the pandemic has created multiple challenges. Are you responding to those challenges in the same old way, or have you allowed yourself to “jump the tracks” and find new ways to approach them? Has the uncertainty caused you to make connecting with God a priority; perhaps ditch old ways of skipping time in His presence? When Covid-19 fades, will you resume familiar, but not so helpful ways of doing things?
2. What Beliefs Need A Sprinkle Of Truth?
Without even realizing it we often allow untruths to dictate life. Those lies keep us circling in unhealthy ways. In order to break free from circular patterns you must pinpoint those lies and embrace the truth. What’s tough is that those faulty beliefs are so much a part of us that we don’t even see them anymore.
- There’s never enough time (leads to not being present and/or squandering your time)
- I have to prove my worth or significance (perfectionism/procrastination & striving are likely)
- I’m not enough (susceptible to striving, overworking, etc.)
- I’m unlovable (causing you prone to people please or avoiding relationships)
- I can’t do X because of Y (keeps you stuck – never pursuing your goals or potential)
- Everyone is judging me (makes being authentic nearly impossible)
- Failure is catastrophic (prevents you from trying)
- Money, success, opportunities, potential, time, etc. are scarce (will cause you to hoard yet never have enough!)
- No one appreciates me (fuels resentment and causes additional relationships issues)
To be sure, this is just the tip of the iceberg! There are dozens more! And Your Fear Monster – He might be at work too! He loves it when you go in circles and remain stuck.
I mentioned a few of my own circular patterns, one of them being taking on too much. My default way of thinking and also my Fear Monster is “I don’t matter”. Taking on too much is really an attempt to be more significant, but mostly it wears me out!
The Truth: I am treasured and significant in God’s eyes and that’s the source of my identity no matter what anyone else thinks. When I am walking in truth, I don’t need to say “yes” when I should say “no.”
3. What New Habits Are A Prerequisite For A New Path?
Developing new habits is hard and hinges on my level of trust in God and the health of mindset. Here are just a few examples of habits that might be worth working on:
- Exercise your gratitude muscle
- Regularly organizing
- Expressing yourself more positively
- Spending time with God
- Being present
- Leaning into who God created you to BE
- Creating rhythms, routines, processes to help you
Your habits are what will enable you to THRIVE personally and professionally!
4. What Help Do You Need?
It’s possible to “jump the tracks” on your own with God’s help. It takes time! Enlisting the help of a trained coach enables you to speed up the process, zero in on beliefs that are in your blind spot, and enjoy support every step of the way! And a coach can point you towards additional resources to help!
My buddy was content to go round and round on the track and never get anywhere. And even when he accidentally jumped the tracks, he didn’t hesitate to return and go around some more.
How about you? Where do you find yourself going round and round and being stuck? How weary are you of your circular patterns?
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / prill
Originally posted on 9/16/14 – it’s been updated and revised just for you!
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