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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Why hitting a wall may not always be a bad thing.

Have you ever "hit a wall" in your life? If you have, then you know what I mean by the term. If not, well, read on, because you probably will some day.

Hitting a wall: you know, when you are striving hard for something and suddenly, wham-o, progress toward your goal suddenly stops.

I recently hit a wall at work. I hit it hard, charging at full speed. I was so angry and disoriented that I took the rest of the week off work.

My wall leapt out at me from nowhere, but walls can also creep up on you. Progress slowly grinds to a halt, and it can take a while to realize what is happening.

Hitting a Wall in Your Marriage

We all have hopes, dreams, goals and aspirations for our marriages. Most of you are probably putting significant mental, physical and spiritual effort toward reaching them. More emotional closeness. A more passionate sex life. Being free of debt. Retiring early and traveling the globe together.

These are all good goals to pursue, but sometimes life and circumstances bring on those wall-crashing moments. Bang! And suddenly the goal seems unreachable.

What do you do when you hit a wall? Depending on your personality, your instinct might be to give up or to put your head down and fight even harder.

Let me give you three tips I recently learned from my own crash and burn.

1.  Rethink Your Instinct

My pastor shared some interesting insight with me in regard to my work situation. He said that sometimes the Lord will put wall in front of us to get us to go a direction other than where our natural path might be. In my job, I would normally have pushed back hard to see my agenda moved forward. But in this case, I felt an overwhelming sense that I was to ease off instead. There was an amazing sense of peace that came over me when I realized that my happiness didn't depend on my own plan being accepted and supported.

When you hit a wall, your emotions will tend to take over and drive to react instinctively. Let me encourage you to respond instead of react. When you react to hitting a wall, it is usually out of fear, insecurity or pain. Choosing to respond (and it is a choice) means you step back and challenge your instinctive reaction and give yourself time to size up the situation. You can then think it through based on your core values and prayerful consideration rather than raw emotion.

2.  Take Time to Reassess

When you pause to do an honest assessment of the situation, you might just find that your most natural course of action is not the best way forward. You may discover that the path you were charging so hard down before you hit the wall wasn't actually taking you where you want to go.

Brain science proves that our human brains are hardwired to look for the autopilot switch. Consider the wall an opportunity to do a fresh assessment. Maybe it is time to dream some new dreams or set some new goals. Maybe it is time to take a different path toward the goals that you want to continue to pursue.

(I shouldn't need to say this, but I will: obviously I am not suggesting that this reassessment include giving up on your marriage.)

Communication with your spouse in this season is critical. This is an opportunity to build intimacy by being vulnerable and transparent. Even if your spouse was the source of the wall, I still encourage you not to draw away, as your natural reaction might be. Instead, respond by reaching out, however meagerly to make some sort of connection.

I encourage you to pray a lot in the wall-recovery season. Search out the heart of God. Our Father is a good Father, and he has only good intentions toward us. Tap into and agree with what heaven says.

3.  Begin Anew

Read the amazing promises from the Lamentations 3 scripture graphic, and take them to heart. Take time to wait on the Lord and to prayerfully think everything through.

But also don't over-think it. Don't get stuck while you are trying to figure everything out. Every day is a new day and an opportunity for a fresh start. Regardless of how you feel, the Lord's compassion and love are unchanging, day in and day out.

Eventually it's time to take a deep breath and then press forward again. Step out in hope and in the confident expectation of God's goodness and love toward you.

When it comes to your marriage, don't just wait around for your spouse to change. Instead, work on yourself. Do the things you know to do. Delight yourself in doing good for the sake of your marriage and in blessing your spouse.

Be thankful. Nothing moves your heart forward after crashing into a wall like giving thanks. You don't have to be thankful for the wall (though you may find that you eventually are), but find the good in your marriage and spouse and begin to be thankful for them. And it really helps to say your thanks out loud, even to your spouse.

Hitting a wall can be brutal. But it also has the potential to bring with it life-changing, eye-opening fresh opportunities, dreams and direction.

Have you hit a wall and seen how God turned it into a blessing? Would you care to share your experience with my readers? Leave a comment.

Date Night!  - I'm running a new survey on my blog about date nights.  Please take a minute to confidentially share about your date night habits and wishes.

wall image credit: imagegunman / 
scripture image credit: (c) Scott Means


Debi Walter said...

I love the idea that walls often get us to go in a direction opposite of where we were headed. It's often in the pause that we re-evaluate and see it from God's perspective. I can't help but think of Balaam's donkey and how Balaam just didn't get it. That poor donkey getting beat up because of what Balaam discerned as foolish, was actually wisdom and protection. May we not view our spouse in this way. Sometimes God uses them to stop us in our tracks and it is good.
I'm sharing this one!

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