And Now We Fight

     Rent went up $250.  Yep.  I knew it would go up when it came time to renew, but I figured it wouldn't be that much. I love my place, but paying more than $1600 for 800 square feet is isn't in my budget and is ridiculous.  
     I got the news about 48 hours ago.  Fortunately Mom was already on her way to town.  As my life has navigated the roller coaster of these last 12 months, she's become my sounding board. This rent increase was going to require a lot of sounding and boarding. 
    In the midst of my shock, I loaded the boys up in the car and drove to other nearby places to imagine if I could live there. After trolling a few parking lots with junked out cars and seeing unkempt buildings, I decided that no, I couldn't live there.
    When life hands you lemons, there are a few things you should do.  Here's my list for surviving a lemon season:
     1.  Do not jump to any conclusions:  Just because they offered to increase my rent doesn't really mean they mean it, know what I mean?  I refuse to believe that this is the final offer.  Through work, I've been given a bunch of training on how to negotiate and have difficult conversations.  This is the time to put that to the test.  
     2.  Confess your concerns:  As soon as I read the letter, I called my mom and texted with my sister-in-law. Getting it off my chest and out to the world made me feel better immediately.
     3.  Things change:  The only consistency in life is change, so become a master of change.  Taking a moment to look at all the other changes you've endured and mastered will show you that you are capable of getting through this.  But first, you need a plan.
     4.  Make a plan with options:  After the shock wore off, I took a look at what I want my life to really look like.  First, I'd like to have enough money to go on vacations and play tennis.  Putting another $250 into rent each month would absolutely prevent that life.  Imagine the life you want and go for it.  Do not let anything stand in your way from achieving your dreams.  You deserve your dreams being realized.
     5.  Mediate, talk to God, and listen:  Time and time again, God has shown Himself to me - whether I'm running to catch a crosswalk signal or needing to get out of a bad relationship.  He'll get me through this - but I must be patient and listen for His wisdom. This is my greatest challenge in life. I make decisions hastily because I don't have faith. I've decided to change this about myself, so I'm going to just listen and act when it's time.
     7.  Choose courage:  Going to your mother, landlord, family and friends when you're at your wit's end is very hard.  Do it.  They love you so much (well, not your landlord).  Choose courage and share your battles with them.  Choosing courage is very hard - but going through life alone is paralyzing.
     The world is flowing with love and goodness.  Some times it just takes a moment to work its way to you.  I believe it is coming to me - and to you!  Don't wait for your life to fill with love and goodness.  Go fight for it!  I promise that you'll win.

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