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Ignoring Elephants …
You’re only as sick as your secrets

Denial. Living in a state of mind where you ignore everything going on around you.  “I refuse to look at the problems, therefore they do not exist.” No problems. Seems like a pleasant place to be. Seems like it should be quiet and peaceful. Seems like a dream.

Reality? It’s more like a nightmare. The problems do exist and when ignored they tend to start consuming everything around them and grow into mammoth-sized elephants. You see, by ignoring them you actually feed them. Then they start trampling things, breaking things, smelling up the place, moving things around, taking up all available space and zapping you of energy. You might find yourself having to rearrange things to accommodate them or you start making excuses to hide them from others. Makes me tired just thinking about how I can continue to ignore them …elephantThis is where I’ve been living and I have unwittingly raised a whole herd of elephants.

Herding elephants …
Notice and Name

Precision Nutrition’s Lean Eating program isn’t just a diet and exercise system. It has been a journey of identifying and overcoming obstacles in my journey to become healthy and fit. We get plenty of nutrition and exercise (or movement) guidance, but there is just so much more to becoming a healthy person … and to ignore the emotional, relational, and spiritual part of ourselves is to create an unbalanced approach to wellness. We are all of these. And more.

My PN coach challenged me to take a long hard look around and start identifying the elephants in my life. Sometimes I just need a little shove in the right direction …

What’s one Elephant (problem, challenge, or limiting factor) that you’ve been avoiding?

“What? I have to look at it? Name it?”

Yes. Seek out the biggest one … what is holding you back from making progress? What are you avoiding? Stop running. Stop. Turn around. Look at it.

“But there’s a whole herd. And they’re loud and scary. I’m overwhelmed!”

Look at the biggest one.  What does it look like? What is its name?

“Ahhhh! The horror. It’s green! It’s ginormous. Its name is Debt.  It has taken up the whole living room just standing there swinging the destructive trunk of “behind on mortgage.” There are dents in the walls and a few broken collectibles on the floor … but it is coming close to knocking the whole wall down. A near miss. It’s time to take action. It’s time to quit feeding this elephant. It’s time to … wait, there are more.”

“Coming toward me are twins vying for my attention. They are coming at me. What do I do? I have to get away!”

No! Don’t run. Stand your ground. What do they look like? What are there names?

“The first one is black. Dark and heavy and depressed, slow moving but with a heavy momentum that is picking up speed. It is saying something. ‘You’re not enough. You’re alone. You’re forgotten. You are a burden. You are unacceptable. There is something wrong with you.’
Oh! I know who this is … this one is the Liar.”

“The second one is red. Dark red – almost black. It looks like it’s about to explode and it is charging at me. Looking at it brings up feelings.  Anger, resentment, shame, guilt. I feel like I’m exposed as it looks back at me. I know this one, too…. this one’s name is Unforgiveness.”

I’ve battled these elephants before. Though they are presenting some new challenges, I know what I need to do.

Starving elephants …
What you feed grows.

I’ve dealt with these elephants before. I’ll have to admit that I’m a little frustrated with myself for allowing them back in. But I am reminded that it’s taken many, many years for them to grow and it will take some time to get rid of them. And I’ve gotten lazy. Distracted. Worn down. Life happens, priorities change, seasons change – my focus shifted and I neglected these things, so here they are again. Demanding my attention. Ignoring them hasn’t worked. So what now?

Well, it’s time to take some action.

Debt won’t go away until I change how I spend money. I will have to become creative and figure out how to do more with less. I may have to make some sacrifices … but the alternative is losing my home. And that’s not what I want. It’s time to starve the Debt elephant, shove it out the door and release it to the wild.

The Liar goes away when I start blasting it with Truth. And there is only one definitive source of truth that I know. It makes sense to me to check in with my Creator – since He put me here, He must have a purpose for me and He must know something about me … so, what does God say about me?

• I am a child of God.
But to all who have received him–those who believe in his name–he has given the right to become God’s children … (John 1:12).
• I am chosen, holy, and blameless before God.
For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love (Ephesians 1:4).
• I am redeemed and forgiven by the grace of Christ.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace (Ephesians 1:7).

These are just a few of the many truths that I will be meditating on to combat the lies.

Unforgiveness will be deflated when I:
1. Receive God’s forgiveness and
2. Forgive the one who hurt me.
So, it’s time to sit down with my CR inventory sheets and Life Coach Sheila Viers’ forgiveness exercise and start working through this mess. I have the tools, but they do no good sitting in the tool bag. Time to dig them out.

Releasing the elephants …
Send them back to the wild.

It takes the right tools, time, work and strength from God to work through the process of letting go of the elephants in your life. Right now, I’m doing the work of starving them and repairing the damage that they’ve done … but I know I’ll get to the point of letting them go. I’ve had this victory before, God will see me to it again.

You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Psalm 139:5

Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up;You understand my thoughts from far away. You observe my travels and my rest;You are aware of all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue,You know all about it, Lord. You have encircled me;You have placed Your hand on me. This extraordinary knowledge is beyond me. It is lofty; I am unable to reach it.
(Psalm 139: 1-6 HCSB)

~Digging Deeper and Riding Strong again.