One thing that can make all the difference...
I often refer to different stages in life as seasons. I'm glad we have 4 seasons in weather, similarly we have many seasons in life. Just as I would not be happy about spending my entire life in winter I'm happy that my seasons (situations, circumstances etc) change. Sometimes you are in a spring, there is growth perhaps through a new relationship, a move, a new job and you are really thriving, sometimes it’s a summer things are in full bloom but you need to work hard at it to stop it from withering such as setting up a new business, keeping that relationship fresh or overcoming some setbacks at work, autumn is cutting away time friends or family move away, your social circle gets smaller because you stand up for yourself and no longer want to be treated a certain way, and then there is winter. The toughest of seasons (even if you love actual winter), it can be pretty bleak, you don’t see much fruit and it feels like everything is stripped back, you may feel isolated and alone. It can be a pretty dark time with not a lot of sunlight. Can you relate to these seasons?
What season are you in right now? Can I encourage you that if it’s a winter then hold tight because after every winter there is always a spring. You will grow again, you will bear good fruit, you will find joy and you will be so grateful to go through a tough season to truly appreciate a good one.
I have learnt that when we are in a tough (winter) season and its seems its one thing after another that we have 3 choices. We can either let that thing destroy you and take you out, make you bitter or thirdly make you better. I'm not minimising that what has happened to you is not soul crushing and perhaps totally out of your control but what you do with it is up to you.
In counselling I have met people who have tried any one of the 3 options but I can tell you without a doubt that the 3rd option is always the best outcome. I have heard that choosing not to forgive someone is like swallowing poison and hoping it will make the other person sick. It never does, it only affects you. Overtime bitterness takes root and unfortunately the bitterness makes a person very hard to be around. There is a coldness and hardness that wears others down to the point of exhaustion. If you realise reading this that you have become bitter please don’t be hard on yourself simply choose to let go of the unforgiveness and move into the fullness and freedom that is rightfully yours.
Here is the great thing about forgiveness. Its free, the other person need never know you have forgiven them and it doesn’t mean you have to be friends with the person / people who hurt you. You just get to be free from the pain, bitterness and deep seated anger for what they have done. Forgiveness is not amnesia and forgetting what a person has done. Its not saying what happened was ok and if it was against the law it doesn’t mean that you don’t take legal action. You can do all of the above and still forgive.
So you might be asking 'how do I choose to let a bad situation make me a better person?' Firstly give time some time. When emotions are high and things are fresh we cant get the perspective we need. I recommend getting a few people alongside you to do the journey with but watch what you say as you can never take back the words and it makes reconciliation much harder down the track if you have blurted out every single thought you have. Once time (not talking years here) has had some time then choose to forgive the person, forgive yourself if there is anything you are upset with yourself about, you learn, you grow, you see the incredible strength you have to overcome, you appreciate things and people more clearly and life takes on a whole new perspective.
So who do you need to forgive? What do you need to let go of? What expectations do you need to lay down?
I personally wish i could always stay in spring but without autumn and winter I simply wouldn’t grow. Remember you can either let a situation destroy you, make you bitter or make you better. If you are not sure where to get started give me a call. I am happy to share with you the tools to get you underway and living your best life yet.