New beginnings are part and parcel of all transitions. Those of us who have grieved endings and weathered heavy storms over the last year know that starting again is never easy.
If you’re struggling to find your way, let the following 4 tips guide you out of the dark into a newer and more spacious place.
- Never start with your fears
Many of us are paralysed by the fear of starting again. It’s easy to give in to fear because fear translates into resistance. Resistance comes from our negative self-talk: it says ‘you can’t start again’; ‘the unknown is dangerous’; and ‘don’t take another look.’ Resistance causes us to be less than we were created to be.
No less than twenty five times in the Bible, the phrase ‘be strong and courageous’ is repeated – most famously as God’s specific encouragement to Joshua, who was setting out on a new start as the leader of the Israelites.
God, it seems, will not let us start with our fears. He relentlessly shifts our mindsets to faith, hope and love, and reminds us that looking back is never a wise move. As you begin again, however daunting it may seem, make sure you talk yourself into believing and trusting that you have what it takes, and that God has your back.
- Be mindful of overwhelm
‘’When overwhelm hits, you need to realise you are in a non-sustainable environment’’, says Kate Seselja, founder of The Hope Project. Having had to start again after years in the throes of a gambling addiction, Kate is now a passionate advocate for purposeful self-care. She knows first-hand that we can’t give what we don’t have. ‘’I am busier than ever these days,’’ Kate says, ‘’ but my capacity has grown because I now put my own wellbeing needs first.’’ A daily practice of noticing and assessing your stress levels, and making regular deposits into your wellbeing bank, can make all the difference.
- Practice vulnerability in a safe community
Vulnerability is an integral part of any authentic, new beginning. It is trust in action. A new start brings with it the opportunity to be more raw and honest about ourselves, our feelings, thoughts and experiences with people we trust. Seasons of darkness and storms can drive us to isolate from others, but emerging on the other side offers the chance to form sacred bonds with those who will accompany us on the journey.
We were created fundamentally as connected beings, mirroring a communal God who, as the writer of Genesis 1:26 shows, wants to create humankind to be ‘’in our likeness’’. What safe community of people can you reach out to help encourage you forward?
- Seek storytellers who tell stories of goodness and beauty (p55)
We are all storytellers. We yearn to tell and hear stories. And according to psychiatrist Curt Thompson, author of The Soul of Shame, the echo of God’s intention is that we tell and hear stories of goodness, beauty and joy.
Shame wants very much to infect every element of our minds in order to distort God’s story and offer another alternative. To counteract this, be intentional about seeking out people and places that model God’s story and redemptive purpose. ‘’God is in this moment in a non-blaming way,’’ Richard Rohr reminds us. Seek the spirit behind this message wherever you go, and your new start is sure to flourish.