I’m going to let you in on a little secret. You can change your life at any moment. And you know how you do it? You just choose to. Reaching a goal, seeing your dream come to fruition, really just starts with a simple choice.
“Show me a day when the world wasn’t new.” —Sister Barbara Hance
Seems too simple to be true?
Well, I’m here to tell you it’s not. And you know how I know? Because in 2014, my life cracked open.
“For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone. The shell cracks, its insides come out and everything changes. To someone who doesn’t understand growth, it would look like complete destruction.” ―Cynthia Occelli
I had been sick for a year and a half. At first I thought I had the flu. It felt like I had the flu. I was stuck in bed like I had the flu. But I never recovered like you do with the flu. And as time passed, my list of symptoms grew.
I lost my body fat, my hair, the ability to sit or stand for more than a few minutes, and my mind. Some days I couldn’t complete a sentence because I couldn’t think of the next word. As a writer, this was kind of a catastrophe. I developed crazy food allergies, asthma, and a heart arrhythmia.
But my life hadn’t cracked open yet. That happened on an early spring day, just as northern Utah was waking from a bitter cold winter. It started with devastating news about one of my children. News that involved police and witness statements and something precious stolen from her that could never be restored. News that broke all our hearts.
That same week, things escalated with my husband and I filed a Protective Order, and then a week later, a petition for divorce. Seventeen years of trying to make a very unhealthy relationship work and I finally came to this realization:
I could change my life at any moment.
You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down. —Ray Bradbury
It was the scariest and best decision I’ve ever made. I knew there would be no going back. Once I filed those papers in the courthouse I could no longer keep the secrets I’d been keeping before. My insides would come out. Everything would change.
I went to a quiet place to pray. I humbled myself and opened my heart to hear answers. And I got them. Loud and clear. I felt I would be protected. I felt things would work out. I had no idea how, but I put absolute faith in those answers. I recognized the source by the overwhelming peaceful feeling. It was my higher power, God, the universe—there are many names for the same things—but I recognized the source because I had felt it time and time again in my life and it was never wrong.
I was done pretending like everything was okay. Things were not okay at all. Things were as bad as they could get. At the time I had no job. No money. And my health was so poor I had no idea how I would support myself and four children, but I trusted those answers. I knew I couldn’t bear to live my old life for a second longer. I knew I needed to provide a safe place for my kids and a model of what a good relationship looked like. I was ready to nurture the seed of our dreams—to be seen, heard, valued, and safe. I was ready to jump off the cliff.
So I jumped.
It was awful, gut wrenching, soul ripping, and it looked and felt just like destruction. But you know what? I believed. I had faith that good things were coming. And just like a seed sprouts and completely changes, so did my life.
I received a diagnosis, finally, and started recovering. My kids have been miraculously resilient as they navigate the aftermath of divorce. And my life resembles nothing of my former—in the best way possible. I have a career that is richly satisfying, but more importantly I only allow relationships in my life that are nurturing and reciprocally fulfilling.
This is what I know, what I can promise you: you can change your life at any moment. It starts with a decision. Sometimes we forget that everything is optional in our life. Everything. If something is not helping you achieve your highest good, be it a career, a habit, or a relationship, you can choose at any time to let it go.
Follow that decision up with action—you’ve got to take that leap off the cliff. This requires a lot of faith.
And then you build your wings. For me this meant going back to school while working and being a single mother. Hard? Yes. Scary? Yes. Worth it? Yes, yes, yes! It meant learning new skills, putting myself out there in the business world in ways that were excruciating for an introvert. It meant reading self-help books and going to therapy and processing what had lead me to my former life so I wouldn’t repeat mistakes of the past. And mostly it meant reminding myself over and over not to quit, that things would get better, that life was meant to be enjoyed, that joy comes in the morning.
“Don’t give up…. Don’t you quit. You keep walking. You keep trying. There is help and happiness ahead…. You keep your chin up. It will be all right in the end. Trust God and believe in good things to come.” —Jeffery R. Holland
Build those wings and fly high. A brand new beautiful life is waiting for you.
Rachel Coleman is a writer, designer, and believer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org