Many years ago, our family journeyed into the great outdoors in a part of the country called The Boundary Waters. Pristine lakes and virtually untouched landscapes refuel the souls of those who venture in.
As our family was hauling our gear, my youngest daughter – 5 at the time – lagged behind the rest of us which didn’t sit well with her. Finally, she stopped, dropped the little bag she was carrying and yelled out, “Stop! I want to be the leader!”
The feelings from my little girl illustrates the frustrations that many people experience in their lives. They are in a job or life-situation that has robbed them of two critical elements needed for fulfillment. These two basic needs that scripture, studies in Psychology and long-lived personal development books talk about are the keys to people’s sense purpose in life:
- The feeling of progress.
- The feeling of control.
The feeling of progress is simply that sense that a person’s life is moving forward in some area. In World War II, interrogation camp officials would incessantly send a message to the prisoners that this was all there was, that there was no more and that their lives meant nothing. No progress. No meaning. No movement. As a result, many of prisoners would readily give information about the U.S. operations thinking that they had no hope anyway. For survival, some of the prisoners would find something that they could work on to show progress. Many make origami out of the cigarette wrappers on the cell floors. Others would scratch out pictures on their floors but would only add one piece per day as to prolong the finished product, giving them something toward which to look forward.
The feeling of control is the sense that I am the master of something in my life. The problem becomes when we try to control parts of life that are out of control. Realistically, you can only control 3 things:
- Your thoughts,
- What you hold as images in your mind,
- Your reactions to events in and around you.
Notice that ‘emotions’ are not on that list. You cannot control your emotions, but you can control how you handle the emotions that pop up.
Hope this helps!
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