Started thinking about this post sometime in the month of August…and Yes – it is now almost the end of September! gasp
Time is really flying, and in these parts…we are now in our version of ‘Spring.’ The season of New life and New beginnings 🙂
The thing I like about spring is that it comes right after Winter. A season of bitter cold, barrenness and death. Where trees shed their leaves and virtually all growth comes to a standstill.
The past few months have felt like that for me. Barren and somewhat Wintry. Bringing with them all manner of pains, disappointments and frustrations; in my career, in some of my relationships and at times even spiritually. The kind that make you ask all sorts of questions and search your soul…till there’s noting left to search in. Questions about myself, about life, about people and even about God and what exactly He’s upto in my life.
But just like the seasons of nature, this too passes and we find ourselves in a new season. Sometimes it is the lessons that we learn (even about ourselves), the character that gets refined, relationships that get strengthened while in the darkest and bleakest of seasons, that stand to be our greatest gain. Nothing is wasted, and we never just walk away empty handed even when it seems like we have suffered massive losses. When we look at things from God’s perspective through the eyes of faith, then we will see things as they really are, and not merely what we perceive them to be with our senses.
And I can honestly say that this is always my favourite place to be. When I can look back on a season with new eyes and a fresh perspective. See God’s fingerprints everywhere as opposed to who said what and who didn’t do this. See God’s protection in what looked like a lost opportunity. And even offer thanks for some of the desperate prayers we made in our moments of disillusionment that He never answered. In ALL things, He remains good and does ALL things well.
If you’re in a winter season in your life right now, or it has gone on for an extended period of time, know this – While the waiting may be hard, and the season cold and uncomfortable….Spring will surely come. For everything under the sun, there is a season. And that’s why I just love seeing the vibrant purple flowers on the Jacaranda trees everywhere at this time of the year, and how they announce that Spring is here! Bringing with it new life and change; new opportunities and frontiers yet to be explored, and reminding us that While breath remains, hope remains still.
If your heart is still filled with pain, disappointment, anger, bitterness, resentment or any other thing that is stopping you from moving on and experiencing the promise of Spring, then it may be time to clear out the house and do some cleaning. Take out the trash and make room for new life.
This preamble isn’t to say that the process is easy, but when you realise that there remains more life to be lived than what you’ve experienced so far, it puts everything in perspective and makes every effort worth it. Every moment spent in misery is a minute robbed from your happiness. So if you’re done sitting in a cluttered space, emotionally, mentally and otherwise and are ready for some ‘Spring Cleaning’, here’s what I’ve found to be helpful:
Feel and express the Feelings
Pretending it didn’t happen, pretending you’re ok with the outcome, pretending you’re strong, pretending you don’t care, pretending you don’t feel anything or any other kind of pretending will just set you back years and years, the longer you do it. Acknowledge that X happened and express the emotions you feel as a result. Vent to a friend, write down your feelings, talk to whoever is involved if you can, scream in an open field, cry in your room or do whatever it takes to just get it out of your system so you don’t become toxic to yourself and others. Grief and mourning are a normal part of life, and it is only when our grief is expressed do we open the door to receive the grace that can heal us. When its out there in the open, then you can begin to sift through the rubble and see things a bit more objectively, and hopefully start to chart a way forward.
Don’t wallow in self-pity and blame others
While there is some ‘satisfaction’ that comes from playing the victim and wallowing in self pity…and bringing up the ‘injustice’ suffered in every conversation, the truth of the matter is that at some point, people just don’t care anymore. Yes what happened may have been sad/tragic/unfair, but life goes on with or without you, and your feelings. Yes they are important, but everything and everyone shouldn’t and won’t come to a standstill because of them. So in short, you’ll need to get over it, and yourself. You are not the first to go through that situation, and neither will you be the last. Life (and bad people) happen to everyone at some point, but we always have a choice in how we will respond to it/them.
We can continue to feel bad…or we can take responsibility for our own future and happiness. And part of taking responsibility involves seeing our own role (whatever the magnitude) for the pain we’ve experienced. Did we make unwise decisions, did we not heed counsel? Did we not adequately research what was required? Was our CV/Application shoddy and not well thought out? Were we late and poorly dressed? Did we ignore the red flags? Given the chance to do things over, what would you change? Be an active participant in your own life, and not merely a hopeless victim to whom life happens.
Decide to let it go
There’s a saying that ‘Time heals all wounds.’ No it doesn’t. That’s why there are people who harbour decade-long grudges and carry bitterness for years. The offence will continue to be with them until they make a decision to let it go. Time heals the wounds of those that allow it to, by an act of their own will. Things don’t just disappear on their own, but you need to take some active steps on your part to move on from this past hurt. You have to want to get better. You have to want to live free; but you also have to act on it. And the biggest action you can take in this regards is the act of Forgiving. Forgiving those involved, and forgiving ourselves. That is literally how we ‘Let it go.’ Sometimes we reason that if we forgive, then we are letting people go scott-free from their offences, but when you think about it critically…the person you are setting free is truly just yourself. You are setting yourself free from the chains that are holding you to your past, and freeing yourself to move forward with your life into a future of endless possibilities. What lies ahead is indeed greater than what’s gone before. You have a choice to embrace that future by not letting what happened become a part of your identity. But rather, turning it into a growing point from which you become a better and wiser person.
Focus on the future and live life Today!
And finally, Live your life today! Right now in this moment. When it passes, it shall never return, so savour it. The thing about the past is that we cannot change it, but only learn from it if we choose to. What happened – happened, and what didn’t – didn’t. And so spending time reliving the events only holds us further captive to them. And that’s not where we want to be. Its not that we will never remember the events, but when we do, we make a decision to focus on what lies ahead of us, and open our eyes to what is around us in the present moment. On what is in our control today. Living each day deliberately, purposefully, savouring every moment and every opportunity to enjoy life. Yes, and sometimes that means smelling the flowers and drinking the coffee 🙂
The pages of the future remain unwritten. Embrace the chance you still have to make good decisions, and make your story Epic. You only live once, but if done right…Once is enough!