What’s it like for you to bring things to an end? A relationship, work you love, raising your children, habits, volunteer commitments, fun vacations, special moments…they all come to an end. I’ve found endings to be painfully hard, awkward and uncomfortable at times. A recent transition in commitments brought new light to the necessity of endings. Without ending, real change cannot occur. So much like a seed, it’s not until the seed dies that new life can begin.
It was 2am. I awoke alert in my spirit. A prevailing thought began echoing in my mind over and over. It generally sounded like this, “If you find things this way today, it’s time for change.” “This season is over.” I reasoned with the thought, why it would be better to wait. The thought grew stronger. As 5:00am approached I finally reached the point of resolve. My mind lacked understanding about the change, but my heart was willing to obey the instructions. Before I ever left the house in the morning, I learned through text — things were the way indicated for change. While resolved, I began asking God for help. Ending this commitment made absolutely no sense. Yet to obey was far more compelling than the sacrifice of making something work. By 9:51am I looked in the rear view mirror of being the Veritas Garden Director. I’d never made such a swift decision, yet had tremendous peace. Pleasing the Father was the heart of my action. At 10:18am, approaching the driveway of my home, the phone rings. It was an offer from Trinity Church to join the Marketing Team. While uncertain about what the future holds, I’m certainly invigorated, knowing my Father ordered these steps. Henry Cloud writes in his book, Necessary Endings, “Without the ability to end things, people stay stuck, never becoming who they are meant to be, never accomplishing all that their talents and abilities should afford them.” So once again I’m stretching, growing and grasping the hands of God’s grace. Accepting these life cycles is the heart of fruitfulness. Fully surrendered to the Master Gardener, I’m certain He’ll continue pruning. While hard and painful, life remains in His hands.
All that said, I’d like to ask you this important life question. What end do you see on the horizon? Here are some thoughts from Henry Cloud’s book, Necessary Endings, to help you answer:
- Determine whether a “season” has passed.
Everything has a season. Remember CDs, cassettes, and phone books? They had their place and time, but their season has passed. And the truth is, no matter how wisely we invest in a product, strategy, person or even some relationships, eventually, the season for our investments come to an end. Endings are a natural part of the cycle of growth.
- Determine whether “pruning” is necessary for growth.
In order for a rose bush to achieve its full growth potential, every good gardener knows that it must be carefully pruned. There are three circumstances in which a gardener prunes a rose bush: 1) when the bush produces more buds than it can sustain, 2) in order to remove parts of the bush that are diseased, and 3) to remove dead branches in order to make way for new growth.
Our lives are just like the rose bush. We may have a lot of really good strategies, products, activities, relationships, or ideas that we’ve poured our resources into. But if we pruned some of the good stuff back, we would enable the best parts to get all that they need to thrive, making our businesses and relationships even more productive and happier.
To recap, make decisions about what to prune by asking the following questions:
a) What is “good but not best?”
b) What is “sick and can’t get well?” and
c) What is “long since dead?”
- Figure out the difference between “hoping” and “wishing.”
Hope is one of the greatest virtues in life. However, it can also serve as an impediment to success if we don’t have a real, objective reason for our hope. Hope without reason is only a desire or wish; not a hope you can expect to materialize.
It’s important to ask yourself why you have hope for something to happen. If you’re hoping for growth in your business next year, are you expecting new markets to open for your product? Hiring talented new sales people? Planning exciting new product launches? If you answered “yes” to questions like these, then you have good reason to hope for a turnaround . But, if your answer is “no,” then your hope may be just a desire or wish. And putting off a “necessary ending” because you are wishing for something to change only delays the onset of reality.
- Establish a clear vision of what you want your life or business to look like.
A gardener can only prune a rose bush if he knows what a beautiful rose looks like. In other words, he prunes towards his vision of the future. In order to know what endings should occur, you must first decide what you are trying to achieve. Once you clarify your vision, you will be able to determine what “necessary endings” are required to bring about the change you desire.
My life coach asked these powerful clarifying questions. What is true for you? What do you really, really, really want? My friends, living congruently gives us tremendous peace. I want you all to share in the joy!!!