If Life Gives You Lemons

There is an expression that says, “if life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” That is a wonderful statement but is inherently filled with some issues. The biggest issue is…what if you have run out of sugar?

There are times in my life where the lemons seem to overwhelm. I want to make lemonade, but just can’t seem to find the sugar, or, I don’t have any. The trouble is that this phrase places the whole burden on me and fails to take into account the power of God to work in the midst of my situation.

In the change and transition process, there is a period of restlessness, and sometimes it can feel like dozens of lemons are pouring into one’s life. These lemons are high in acid and can be flavorful, but, feel damaging. Sometimes one just sits with the lemons and cannot move.  Sometimes the flavor of life is such that the taste of lemon is so strong that one is paralyzed and cannot function. Sometimes, I don’t even have the strength to add sugar.

Sometimes running out of sugar can be a good thing. The change and transition process would even offer the thought that change WILL NOT happen until one has run out of sugar. Sometimes sugar can be a distraction that keeps us from dealing with the lemons. In other words, we can “sugar coat” an issue and fail to deal with what is before us. Sugar is not a nutrient and, in fact, burns up rather quickly. It tastes good, but is hardly essential. When one “sugar coats” the issues one just plain ignores them until a PIVOT POINT occurs, and, running out of sugar can provide just such a PIVOT POINT.

Running out of sugar, or the inability to add sugar, FORCES us to deal with the issue at hand and may serve as the PIVOT POINT that causes change to happen. When there is no more sugar, it is time to face the reality of the change before us. When there is no more sugar, it is time to realistically look at the situation to determine where the change can happen. Once the PIVOT POINT has occurred it is very difficult, if not impossible, to go back. The best one can do is certainly not to stall and live in limbo.

The realization about the lack of sugar is called by some authors “a point of hopelessness.” When nothing else is available to cover up the sour experiences of life, the individual faces the reality before her and recognizes that there are no more options, except some very difficult decisions if she is to live in integrity.  It becomes time to make some hard choices and to strive to bring day to day life into alignment with one’s mission and vision for life.

In the transitional process, the role of the coach or spiritual director is to help the individual listen to the call of God and to clarify the nature of the issues, followed by the exploration of realistic options.

So, in summary:

• life brings “lemons” causing restlessness and distress;

• one can “sugar coat” the situation and avoid making hard choices but eventually the hard choices must be confronted if one is to live authentically;

• when the “sugar” runs dry, the individual must look at the basic core of the issue set before and begin to come to strong awareness;

• when the issues are laid before the person, it is time to assess the implications and consequences based upon one’s personal mission and vision statement;

• when these things have been done, it is then time to sit with a spiritual director in order to listen to the word of the Lord in prayer and in the quiet.

May God bless you in the transitions of life.

Related Posts