Myself, and numerous people that I am acquainted with have gone through many changes.
I ran into a guy the other day at a family get-together. We have known each other for quite some time, and we have known about each other’s substance abuse habits. Former, and current. It was a sad day to see and hear the guy drink too much and talk about the same lusts for the drugs he has been to rehab for, has been rejected by his family for, and has recently lost a few good potential careers because of.
As I was driving home from yet another Christmas celebration at my wifes’ sister’s home last night, I was thinking about the changes that have occurred within a very short time. Going to get-togethers of any kind within my life had been quite the challenge in the past. I was thinking about how introverted I truly have been throughout my life. How I inadvertently held many emotions within that kept me in a place of unrest. I cannot begin to explain the reasons why I had always felt that I wasn’t capable of being around others, but I will share the basics. For many years, I had to be high. It was a necessity, like oxygen, to have a buzz from marijuana. The shame and fear of being called out was good enough reason to stay away from people. Another reason was the constant inner turmoil from my parents and their dysfunction. Their codependency played a tremendous part in my daily life, even after I was no longer living near them. Their lack, and mine, of not seeing just how unhealthy our decisions and ignorance was left us with a compiled heap of needless torment. So last night I was thankful. I was able to be social without the fear of being called out for being high ( I haven’t been high in years. Go me! ), I was so much more relaxed, and have been, because the problems my parents face were finally recently separated, and I had an easy time making conversation after realizing that my problems of the past do not define who I am at the present moment. I was easily able to not be caught up in the negative emotions that, up until recently, consumed me to the point of not being able to enjoy myself or those around me. I’m still an introvert, and I like to retreat. I love my alone time. But I am also learning to love being social. Especially learning interesting stories from others. Since I have been able to step outside of my norm box, I am learning so much about just how hard it is for everyone, and also how others deal with it all. I’m a very deep observer, and I tend to listen deeply. Most times. Unless my mind is deeply into something else. My wife knows what I mean! Overall, I am truly beginning to let those old patterns go, more and more, because I am ready to do so.
So, the guy at the family get-together. The guy whose rehab, family boundaries and failed potential career opportunities really had me thinking about the times when I wasn’t ready. I was driving alone as I was returning home from my wifes’ sister’s place last night because I had gone directly after work to meet up with them. So, this time alone gave me the opportunity to think about the timing in which change takes place. The acquaintance is not ready to change his ways, and obviously the consequences of his actions of the past, and present, aren’t making any difference in his mind. Does he truly enjoy the results of his bad choices? Does he see no other way, for whatever reason? Does he dislike himself? Does he need a true awakening through the voice of the Lord? Does he need to let go of the past? I know enough about him to know the last two possibilities are probably his problem. But I am not him, and I don’t make his decisions.
The contrast between my acquaintance and myself are polar opposites in many aspects. Through a direct run-in with the Lord in a little restroom several years ago, and through His gradual sanctification prior and ever since, I have decided within my free will to put the drugs down, seek help for the ways that clearly weren’t working, and hold His mighty hand through it all. I am only allowed to proclaim victory because I know without a shadow of a doubt that it was the Lord who gave me the strength to overcome my shortcomings. So, even though ultimately it was in the Lord’s time for these things to change within, it was also within my time of decision to let go and change for the better. I had to really accept a lot of hard truths, be willing to change, face uncharted territories and step out in faith. But, with Christ, “I can do all things.”
Are you scared to change? I was too. Very. Are there things that you need to release that hold you down? Is the fear holding you back? Take it from a guy who has changed in fruitful ways; you can also do it! Even though you have to decide for yourself how and when you change, I pray this morning that you call upon Jesus for strength. He is the mighty key to all success. Our shortcomings do not define us. His Son does. If something holds you down and you see that it does, seek the help that you need. Being better for yourself, in return making everyone else a little better around you, unfolds a beautiful part of your life.