“Doing things differently” sounds so much better than change, doesn’t it? Most of us are not fans of change and we often resist it to the bitter end. But, if we take a few steps back and commit to “doing things differently”, it may not seem as painful.

We often know that certain things in our life need to be done differently. We hear God’s little nudge or urge to make a change. Sometimes we give in and make drastic changes and sometimes we answer with small changes. But I firmly believe that when God nudges us to do things differently, there is a reason for it. We can only ignore him for so long. I know that the spiritual formation tools I’ve been studying are to be shared with others. But, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with where to start, whom to start with and when to start. Sometimes, it isn’t as hard as we make it. Here is what I have learned so far: I need to step back, look around me, then simply start with myself by following God’s urge to do things differently.

I had the privilege of meeting with some amazing young women in our community who had the itch to “do things differently”. They volunteered last summer to learn and serve at “Project Collide”. These girls worshiped under a bridge with some of Nashville’s homeless community. They were definitely open to “doing things differently”.

What impressed me most about those young women was they didn’t roll their eyes or mutter under their breath when I asked them to take a deep breath and get comfortable for a time of silence. They listened as I shared a guided prayer with them. They were intrigued by the sand labyrinth I brought to share and wanted to know all about my hand crosses and stones and 10,000 Villages (a very cool store making global change). They were open to doing things differently. I might even dare to say that most of them were hungry for it. The next day I received an email asking where some of the girls could go to visit a labyrinth. That isn’t an expected afternoon activity for teenage girls, but it is doing things differently.

Yes, being different is hard and it often isn’t popular. Take a moment and think about expanding that box you’ve put around yourself. What could you do differently this week or this coming year? I’m not talking about just the serious stuff. When I went to Zumba for the first time, that was a good laugh for the spectators outside the workout room, but it was also fun. It was a good way for me to do something different!

Why is it that when we are looking to make a difference or find something more fulfilling in life we seek to change everything around us instead of changing ourselves?

Give yourself a spiritual, physical, or mental workout this week and make it a priority in the coming year. Yes, we are all busy. But make the time to do something different: go to church under a bridge or in a thrift store, try a new workout, give yourself a good laugh, memorize a scripture, walk a labyrinth, try a healthy new food, read a good book, create some art, go on retreat, worship with your eyes closed, pray out loud, sit in silence, volunteer your time, talents or resources. You may just find that there is great joy in doing things differently!

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