In my experience, most people don’t really understand the cause of the problems in their lives. When I say, “problems,” I’m speaking of internal issues like unforgiveness, anger, and a lack of peace. Most of the time, they ascribe their feelings to their current circumstances, such as financial problems, relationship issues, or traffic. In some cases, these may indeed be problems in need of a solution, but are any of them at the root of lost peace? I would say not.

Imagine your internal experience, that is, your mind and heart, as something like a house. Most people prefer to deal with problems as they arrive. There’s nearly always something negative waiting in the foyer, and as soon as they manage to usher one out the backdoor, a new one is waiting. Clearly, a better first step would be to shut the door. If a water pipe breaks, your first move is to turn the water off, not to fetch more towels. In the same way, if you want to govern the internal state of your house (which in this metaphor means your life), it only makes sense that opening and closing doors is your first job.

But maybe we can take this metaphor a little further. After all, if you were living in a neighborhood where people were constantly wandering into your house uninvited, before long you would probably think seriously about moving to another part of town. Most people are hesitant to pull the trigger on this because, well… it’s a pain, moving your whole life to a new foundation. It’s chaotic, things get broken, and you can’t know until you get there exactly what the new place will be like.

My family has moved around a LOT in the past ten years or so, though always within the greater Nashville area. It’s worked out very well for us financially, largely thanks to my wife’s expertise in that area. What’s interesting is that I’ve had friends say that what we’re doing makes sense on paper, they just can’t be bothered to go through the process.

Now, please don’t think I have any sense of superiority to those friends; it’s just a house. I only bring it up because it illustrates something useful to our extended metaphor: namely, that people tend to want to fix their lives without making a significant change. Just like you can’t pick up and move without losing some things, risking some more, and accepting a degree of uncertainty, you can’t change your life without leaving things behind.

Sometimes, people also hesitate here because of a notion that they don’t want to change “who they are.” In my experience, such comments are usually shortsighted. Consider this: if you are currently bitter, or lonely, or frustrated, or unable to make progress in some aspect of your life, then why wouldn’t you want to change yourself? In most cases, I find that the sanctity people attach to their vaguely defined “self” serves little purpose other than inertia. Simply put, if we want our lives to be better, then we cannot avoid our own need to become better.

Have a blessed, wonderful day!

Dr. Alex Loyd



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