My whiteboard quote for today was:
Undertake something that is difficult: it will do you good. Unless you try to do something beyond what you have already mastered, you will never grow.
~Ronald E. Osborn
It makes me groan with annoyance at the knowledge of it, but is so true! Why would we ever grow if the place we were sitting in was comfortable? I'm a true-to-the-marrow Taurus, and when I'm comfy I dig my heels in and don't want to move. So, the only way for me to get the message that it's time for a change is when I'm feeling discomfort about it. Which leads me to my baseball bat theory (otherwise entitled frying pan theory)...
Here's how it goes. It's my belief that we are always directed. If we ask consciously for direction, we're directed even more clearly, but on an everyday basis, we get outward (external signs or coincidences) or inward (gut feelings, "random" thoughts and ideas) nudges to tell us what the next, best step to take on our path is.
If you're not familiar with this, first think back on times in your life when a big change surprised you, especially if it was painful. This isn't something happening to someone else (illness of a family member for example), but something happening to YOU. Now, think back to earlier. In retrospect, were there signs? Were there things that told you, albeit quietly, that perhaps you should make the changes you were forced to make, in the end? I'd wager that, now that it's all said and done, you had signals about what was going to happen.
So, I think that we get "nudges" first. We all have various paths that we can walk in our lives, some subjectively better to us, andwe choose where to go by the decisions we make. I think that God wants us to walk on our best and happiest path, and so we get nudges, like little coincidences, messages and suggestions from other people, and gut feelings that, if we pay attention to, can help us to stay on our path. Even if our path is about to take a turn that we did not forsee.
Now, sometimes we can ignore them and be fine, and walk on the slightly-less-awesome path. However, sometimes there is a turn that we MUST make. And so we get the nudges. If it's non-negotiable, the nudges will turn to pushes and our discomfort with our current situation will grow. If we still ignore it, it'll keep growing and growing and getting worse and worse until we HAVE to make the change.
Examples of this are the ending of a relationship that could've ended amicably, but if it didn't end early when the nudges or pushes were there, it ends in fire and ruin, metaphorically (I've been through both), or, if you're life is too busy, you're then getting stressed, but you keep busy, then getting so sick that your life HAS to slow down, and on and on.
Now, the fire and ruin or the sickness is the frying pan, or baseball bat, upside the head.
So, in closing, pay attention to those gut feelings! And, if you need direction, ask for it, then LISTEN. It may be a whisper, but you'll recognize that pure-as-a-bell resonance within yourself that you'll feel to whatever the whispered idea is.
You'll know you're right when the discomfort eases. But a mistake can be made if that easing makes you cancel your decision to change whatever you were being directed to change. The pain stopped because you're headed on the right path - if you go back to the first (wrong) one, then it'll come back with a vengeance. So be careful.
That's my soapbox of the day. What are your gut feelings telling you?