People nowadays feel adrift and lost. For many, the world is changing too fast and life feels dangerous and hopeless.
There used to be what I am calling “anchors” in our lives. Relatives and friends in a small town could be counted on when times were tough. Churches knit communities together. Perhaps there was even a community center where old friends would congregate and plan projects to help others. A long-term marriage/relationship was a solid anchor for many people. The family dinner table was another anchor as was the evening prayer. These things allowed a person to find balance or become “centered” in the things that are truly important in life, things of our hearts.
So many people have lost these kinds of supports. There is a vague sense of loss and discontent. It hurts so they push it away or “numb out.” People try to create new anchors. Social media is a fast and easy “go-to” to combat sadness and loneliness. “Facetime” allows a sort of connection with our families across the country. Alcohol, marijuana (now legal in many places) and other substances help people avoid feeling the losses in our modern, urban society.
Sadly, these “helpers” often become painful addictions creating a host of new problems. And they fail to fill the aching hole in our hearts.
I remember well the feelings of loss in my twenties and thirties. I had moved far from my hometown and saw my extended family rarely. We weren’t having a “family dinner” in our rushed home. The kinds of anchors that can center a person, spiritually and emotionally, were absent. Heavy work and drinking schedules did not make me happy.
Since then, I have managed to keep ahold of a few anchors that I believe produce true happiness. There is an almost endless list of things people can do! I have a program of spiritual study, family conferences and prayer, regular talks with family members I love and Starbuck dates with my wife. Certainly, I am a work in progress. I am not always consistent in doing these things. When I do not follow through, I start to notice the return of that vague discontent surfacing in my gut. This reminds me to get busy doing something good for me and others.
Do your anchors make you feel happy and clean on the inside? Perhaps you feel as though you need to chart a course for better living or to organize your life. Does the thought of doing so leave you feeling fearful? Are you doubting your ability to change? If so, there is good news ahead. Everyone shares these feelings and thoughts. The only difference between people who make changes and those who stay stuck is willingness to take action.
You do not have to re-invent your whole life. All it takes is a beginning action step. Use the “Five Percent Rule” to help you remember not to be discouraged by the big picture.
Do you have a story about finding anchors in your life or a comment? I would love to hear from you.