A simple but powerful tool we all have access to is the power of a change of scenery. Let me explain.
Sometimes emotions, thoughts, and experiences can feel really daunting.
You've been starring at a blank document for an hour and still can’t come up with anything for your paper due the next day.
Every toy has been pulled out and yet the soundtrack of your home is still complaining and crying children.
You‘ve been treated poorly at work by employers or customers all day.
You’ve been lying on the couch, and your mind is wandering to places of worry and doubt.
Sometimes, a helpful tool to reset and re-see things in a different light, is to physically move to a new location. That being a different room in your house, a new coffee shop down the street, or a walk in the park after work. A simple scenery change can do wonders.
Now hear me clearly. THIS IS NOT ABOUT ESCAPING. This is about posturing yourself for new perspective. This is about setting yourself up well so you can go back to that situation with fresh gusto and grace. Friends, we can do hard things. We can learn how to sit with unpleasant feelings and still have faith. We can learn how to push past bored feelings to finish an assignment. If you are a follower of Jesus, you can be confident that Holy Spirit has empowered you with courage and consistency to handle every situation with the character of Christ.
If you find yourself running to the mall, or coffee shop, or restaurant every time a negative emotion or encounter comes you may be escaping and this is a coping mechanism of avoidance that will never end well. Because at the end of the shopping spree, tv series, or bottom of the glass, you’re still there and so are the emotions you didn’t process and patterns you didn’t change. You can move cities, you can swap jobs, you can change majors in the name of feeling better… but at the end of the day you have to learn how to process and grow. You can’t run away from you. And the good news is you have a Kind Father that is about embracing not escaping. He wants to teach you and love you and help you through every “hard feeling” and “hard season”. He wants to show you Truth, teach you forgiveness, and show you the promise of His nearness. I don’t mean to rabbit trail, but I felt it nessesary to bring this up for awarness in this conversation.
So circling around to the title of this chat, when I’m talking about a change of scenery I’m talking about posturing yourself to see things differently. I’m talking about a tool to have in your emotional wellness toolbox. I’m talking about taking a mini brain break to empower you to continue in peace and joy.
I‘ll give two practical examples :
I’m a grateful stay-at-home mom. Every day is full of emotions but on a testing Thursday it seemed like everything that could go wrong went wrong. Naps were boycotted, toys were scattered, our normal “home rhythm” was a fleeting thought and when I thought surely it was 5:00 I looked at the clock and saw 1:27!!!! (Any other mom relate?) I knew we all needed a change of scenery to make it through the day in peace and joy. So I loaded us up, drove to the closest coffee shop 10 min away, strapped my darlings in a high chair, drank my coffee and we all split fruit and a cookie. We we’re back at home by 3 and it changed the trajectory of our day.
Another example is a bit more broad. My now 2.5 year old has always loved outdoors. I learned very early for him it’s an emotional regulator. If he is in meltdown city, I ask myself “has he had outdoor time today” and 9/10 times simply giving him 30 min of sunshine recalibrates him emotionally.
This is a great tool for Oliver to have as he grows up. A quick step outside for some fresh air may do the trick to keep him moving towards in creativity, production, and positivity.
I’ve made a very simple idea much longer than it needs to be but hopefully you’ve gotten some ideas. There is no formula here. You know your heart. If you’re in a pattern of escape you may need a change of scenery to journal through some thoughts. You may need to sit in your parked car with some prayers of “God give me courage to face these uncomfortable places of my heart I’ve been trying to avoid.“ Others of you may need permission to pack your kids up for a smoothie date, if that helps you get through the day.
Next time you feel bogged dow, try some changes scenery. Simply giving yourself a new space to think can remind you, things really aren’t as bad as they seemed in that moment. Or things really are that dire, and a new scene will give you a fresh wave of wisdom on what your next step should be. You are graced to finish the day in joy and peace.
We can do hard things. He‘s teaching us all how being whole is a holy process, and emotional wholeness is part of that package.
I’m proud of you,
* Don’t forget… The Cirkles are cheering you on.