I love Mondays. There’s something you don’t hear every day. The reason why I love Mondays is because I get to start my week fresh. I can forget the procrastination I did last week and aim to focus more this week. The possibilities seem endless in the beginning of the week as I plan my weekly schedule in my Monk Manual.
This same feeling arises every time I start a new chapter in my life. I am one to happily turn the page and brace myself for what comes next. However, it can be difficult to embrace this change and we can tend to carry our struggles over into a new chapter of our life, even when they don’t need to be there.
Here are some of my experiences and advice on how to kick off a new chapter of life with a free heart!
Open Your Heart
If you’ve ever been on retreat, you would hear some of the leaders tell you to approach that time with an open heart. They just want you to be able to receive what Jesus is trying to tell you by keeping your heart open to Him.
Being open is vulnerable and uncomfortable, and we often don’t want to do it. Understandable. Why would I want to open my heart to a feeling or idea that is unknown? How can I trust that I won’t get hurt?
These are all valid questions that require a leap of faith. I can tell you only from experience that I receive many more graces when I open my heart than when I don’t. When I experience unknown feelings, I address them and try to work through them. When I get hurt, I take it as a learning experience.
While opening your heart is step one, changing your perspective is step two.
Change Your Perspective
If I agree to open my heart, but I have the perspective that I will gain nothing from doing so, then I will gain nothing. How we view a new chapter in life affects if we are going to experience it with a free heart.
I tend to have a perspective of viewing my failures as learning experiences, and I end up being grateful for them. If someone has a perspective of failure that it’s “the end of the world,” then that is what that person can expect to happen.
You can’t have a free heart unless you change your perspective on how you view the outcome.
Every chapter in my life can be seen as ending badly, friendless, jobless, emotionless. But I have chosen to take a different perspective, that these chapters ended well, without the people not meant to be in my life, full of opportunities, and able to learn about my feelings.
If you are stuck in a chapter of your life, consider a change in perspective and maybe you will learn, grow, and flourish.
Learn from Hurt
Most of us have been in a situation where we’ve put our whole heart out there and become hurt. From this we can choose to never open up again or learn from the hurt and become better. The choice seems easy but is hard for a lot of us who have been hurt repeatedly.
We often become comfortable with our closed heart, and though it may not bring us happiness, we’d rather be in this place of discomfort over getting hurt again. What’s worse about this is that our walls become so high that there seems to be no hope in ever opening up again.
Being open puts us in a vulnerable position that can lead to hurt but can also lead to great joy and happiness.
People are not perfect, and I have been hurt by many, some who promised to never hurt me, others who thought selfishly, and a few who didn’t even realize they hurt me. From these experiences I learned a lot about others and myself. I learned how to approach a situation where someone is acting selfishly and address someone who is unaware of my hurt.
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from hurt is that people are all different, and I should approach each situation with positivity. Just because a teacher hurt me in my past doesn’t mean all teachers are going to hurt me because they are all different people. All I need to do is trust.
I’ve often heard the saying “trust is earned,” but I’ve realized I am someone who trusts easily. This is often seen as a negative thing and it’s scary as I think about it, only realizing now that this is one of the main reasons why I kick off new chapters in my life with a free heart.
How can she just trust people so easily? Well, imaginary person in my head–because I learned that all people are different, I have no reason to not trust people (until they give me a reason to not trust them). Of course, I am not blindly trusting people, like trusting a stranger offering me something or trusting the text messages to click a link and win $100,000 dollars. I trust openly, and once I get to know people, then I start to trust deeply.
Because of my anxiety, trusting in myself has always been a little challenging. But I realized that when I fail to trust in myself and others, I can put my trust in the Lord. We should put our trust in the Lord first, and then the rest will be easier. When we fully trust the Lord, we know that when others fail, He won’t.
It is said best in Jeremiah 17:7-8:
But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”Jeremiah 17:7-8
New chapters in life occur often, and in order to have a free heart we must embrace change. Denying or preventing change blocks your heart from receiving new graces, finding happiness, and feeling joy.
Approaching change with an open heart, a change in perspective, learning from hurt, and having trust, you will have a free heart ready to receive all of the Lord’s graces.
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”