If you haven’t realized it yet… shift happens.
Now, I know your mind may be pre-programmed and you read the title too fast and thought you saw a four-letter word; but you are mistaken. The word is shift…not sh^t. Oh stop! You’ve heard it before and probably said it too. But I’m not talking about the latter; I’m talking about SHIFT.
You see, the two words are spelled different with vastly district definitions from each other. Though, some may take their meanings to be somewhat of the same.
Because, we’re usually never prepared for or expecting shift. And we would like to think we’re never expecting sh^t either, but we usually are. In fact, we’ve usually set ourselves up for sh^t. Maybe not candidly speaking, but unconsciously… we for sure have.
What the Shift?
When we are consumed with drama, confusion, and over stimulation of things, thoughts, relationships and conversations that cause us stress and drama…we can expect sh^t will be inevitable. Plain and simple.
But with shift, it normally catches us off guard because we’re normally comfortable and at a place of peace. Typically, things are going well in our lives. We are settled and content. We may even be quite happy with where we are in our lives, with hopes that things will remain pretty consistent.
When shift happens it’s usually beyond our control and with no pre-warnings. One day we just wake up and we’re in the middle of SHIFT. And because we could never quite have expected it, in those early moments, SHIFT feels like sh^t. But do not categorize them in the same way. Sh^t is meant to hurt and draw attention to the despair of where you are. Shift comes to help you evolve to the next level of yourself and get you closer to where you were purposed to be.
This shift is out of control
We’ve all dreamt and made plans for our lives; but in those instances, toward our own aspirations, any change would be on our terms. Prepackaged. Preplanned with confirmed reservations. But shift is not so pretty or organized. It hadn’t been thought out to the depth in which it arrives. Shift not only has not been spoken to anyone else, we haven’t even processed its particulars in the recesses of our minds.
Seriously. People think of getting married, but you don’t think this person you fell in love with…said you wanted to spend the rest of your life with….and would give your own life for… would get sick… or lose their life before you.
You may think about being a parent. But would the fantasy ever be of you as a single parent or co-parenting with difficulty (if you’re lucky). Or do you consider that your child might have a disability (physical or emotional) that limits the “normal” experience you envisioned? But this is all in assuming that becoming a parent is even an option; as some parenting dreams will be shattered due to infertility.
Let’s even look at it from a child’s perspective who just wants a mom and a dad like other kids they see; but for whatever reason one or both parents are unable to provide the emotional and/or financial support needed. Maybe a parent isn’t there at all.
The Shift of Life
Shift. The stuff we don’t consider but it happens. It’s not necessarily the good, bad, and the ugly…because remember, we usually can sense when those things are about to occur. Shift is the unexpected.
If I can be honest, SHIFT is what I think life is about. It’s the shift that builds character. SHIFT fosters our growth. It’s the railroad to the next level of our purpose.
And understand, shift looks different for everyone, and may come in many forms.
When I think of shift though, I don’t just think of turning. I think of shifting…like in a car.
As a young girl growing up in the country and I had the advantage of driving early. Most kids growing up in rural parts have a similar experience. However, when it came to embarking on the lesson of driving, I was faced with only one option… my dad’s Toyota Supra – a stick shift. What this meant was I had to shift the car’s gears myself.
My dad said, if I could learn to drive a standard, I could drive anything. This sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? NOT!
You see, there’s this thing called a clutch, as well as hand, eye, foot, and hearing coordination that sometimes cause a struggle. Oh yeah! And there’s also this aggressive jerk thing that happens if those other parts don’t go right. (SMH)
Yep, this process is what best helps me relate to life’s shifts. I’ll try to explain them in six steps, since my last standard shift vehicle was a six-speed. Here goes.
1. The take-off – Feeling the Shift
When we find ourselves in the beginning of life’s shift, the first thing we have to do is familiarize ourselves with our surroundings. Not only the vehicle that we’re driving (our personal selves) but also the vehicles around us (other people and circumstances). What are the traffic signs and signals?
For our take-off, will we be starting level, downhill, or uphill? This is important just for the approach in our mindset for the initial shift. If we’re going downhill, the shift will be pretty smooth, as we’ll just coast into place. Sometimes life’s shift is like that. We just fall into it.
If we’re going straight, a little more effort will have to be placed on feeling and hearing the elements related to the shift. We might experience a slight or very aggressive jerk, because we’re not familiar with the process. But once we’re out in first gear, the others are fairly simple.
Then there’s going uphill. This shift is usually the most difficult. Not only do you have to be concerned about going forward smoothly, but if you don’t go forward smoothly, the car could either choke (completely cut off) or worse…roll backwards and hit the car behind you.
This is similar to what happens when we are not receptive to life’s shift. Our resistance can cause us to choke; completely shut down with no progress forward. We also risk rolling backwards on others. Meaning we’re stuck in a place where someone else should actually be now. Have you ever been so afraid of your own shift that you hindered others from going forward in their journey?
2. Decisive Shift
With hope, if we can successfully get out of first gear, shifting to second is short and easy; but it still requires being keenly aware that another shift is quickly required. In life’s shift, this would mean you’ve accepted the shift but still haven’t quite learned how to navigate it; but effort is being made.
3. Shift into Momentum
Third gear is a little longer; but don’t get comfortable. You can’t drive all the way to your destination in third gear. But this is where your momentum and confidence will begin to build up. You’re beginning to see the progress and understand why the process is necessary. Coming to this state helps your mindset to level off. No longer are you looking around wondering whether people are looking at you and judging how you’re handling your shift. At this point, you know and they know you’re going to be just fine.
4. Comfort Zone Shift
Finally, you’re in fourth gear. This is a good gear. For short distances, it’s safe to stay here. You’re gaining traction and can make short pitstops. However, just know if a stop is required, you have to start over in first gear. Sometimes this is necessary. However, if you stop and stay there too long, getting started again might be difficult.
Have you had something you were pursuing well for a while and then stopped for what you thought was a quick pitstop; but instead, months or YEARS later you’re still in that same place?
Listen. It’s time to shift. You’re never going to get to where you know you’re supposed to be staying in this same place. Remember, comfort can sometimes be a hinderance to progression.
5. Freedom Shift
Fifth gear is my favorite. Making it to fifth means you are on the open highway. No longer is there the congestion of other traffic (people, opinions, distractions). You’ve done all the preliminary shifting. The anxiety is gone, and now the speed is up to you. You have that freedom. You can also slow down as needed; but as long as you don’t drop back down to a snail’s pace, you’re free to keep going. On this stretch of life’s highway, rest stops are along the way, and should be utilized when needed. Take rest and get back on the journey, so you don’t lose too much time or run into avoidable traffic delays.
6. Cruise Control – Automatic Shift
Sixth gear. Not all standard shift vehicles have six gears. This is usually only found in a very specific brand of car. High performance or luxury sport. These are usually considered top of the line. Do you remember when I told you my last standard shift vehicle was a 6-speed? Listen, I’m not at all sharing this to brag. That car was a gift to my son. At the time he was gifted this vehicle he didn’t even have his license. Plus, to insure a teenager on this type of vehicle would have been astronomical.
During the time we had the vehicle, I drove it most of the time, and my son drove my vehicle which was an automatic. No shifting required. Get in and drive.
Understand, in an automatic shift experience is where we will sometimes find ourselves. No shifting required. This is necessary for some seasons of life. But know, we won’t always stay here. One day it will no longer be automatic or beneficial to be in this place, and our personal time to shift WILL COME.
When I was in the 6-speed, I rarely got to sixth gear. If I did, I probably was speeding or on the country roads with the top down. Oh yeah! It was a convertible.
It’s so refreshing when you’re in this shift-space of life. You’ve come to the point of cruising, with no worries in the world. You’ve done the hard shifting and now you’re just experiencing the beauty of it all. If this is where you are, I’m excited for you. But know… another shift is somewhere down the road. Don’t be scared for the shift; but be prepared to remember the necessary steps for shifting again.
Shift happens. It’s inevitable on the highway we call life. Yes, shift can be very intimidating when it comes; especially if the shift is up or downhill. If our shift does not include consistency of a positive attitude and motivation, we’ll choke…just like vehicles do. We won’t make it down the road.
Please note that staying in NEUTRAL is definitely not an option.
My dad told me if I could learn to shift, driving an automatic would be easy. The same is true with the shifts of life. If we can learn to be aware of the shift, listen for the shift, make the shift without experiencing too many jerks, adjust to the shift and not roll back on anybody…the easier we will find the ride when we’re in the automatic shifts.
Listen, we have to make it to our destinations and fulfill our callings. To do that, know that life is going to be full of shift. Get in your car and drive, and let shift happen. The road you’re on was paved just for you. ~Dawn ☀
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts. I hope this message has brought some value to you. If it has, COMMENT and tell me about your RECENT SHIFT. How are you handling it? If you struggle with your shift, what do you find most difficult?
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