Monday, January 27, 2014

Time doesn't always bring about change

Until my adultery was exposed and God started doing work in me (and continues to), I had difficulty embracing my brokenness. I didn’t like myself very much and had trouble accepting others’ brokenness. Anger, defensiveness, blame, bitterness, judgmental – these are many of the words that described me. Not everyone saw those parts of me, though. Many people thought I was actually “laid back” as a person. Ha! I had them fooled!!  I have not fully arrived when it comes to embracing my brokenness, but I am much further along than I used to be. 

Here is a portion of a blog post I wrote on July 31, 2013 pertaining to an embarrassing situation I had through a speaking opportunity that triggered all sorts of insecurities for me (prior to my fall out): 
I have either felt embarrassed, worked hard to avoid feeling embarrassed, or embarrassed others lots of times in my 38+ years of life. I am not proud of that fact, and I hope I am maturing in this area of my life. A few years ago I remember being asked to do a break out session at a marriage and family therapy conference. This was before all my junk came out. I was not looking forward to it. I was a nervous wreck, and I felt completely inept and like a huge hypocrite. I was speaking on a topic I didn't feel qualified to speak on.
Before, during, and after the session, I remember feeling completely embarrassed and anxious and totally ashamed. Afterwards, I told myself I would NEVER do that again! I wanted to sprint out of that room that day and never look back. It was not a good feeling. I had similar feelings, for a much different reason, when I had to publicly tell my church that I had been unfaithful to my wife; huge shame and embarrassment, for me and her.
It was a pattern of thinking for me that consumed a huge part of my life. Even as early as a young child, I avoided trying new things that I either felt no good at or seemed too difficult and would lead to failure. How sad. That caused a lot of frustration and hindered me in so many areas of my life. It was a mindset and personal belief system that limited me for years and years. Instead of working through the insecurities, I drifted through life trying to avoid all the triggers that caused my shame and inadequacies to surface.

I didn’t feel like a good employee, so I struggled in my career. I didn’t feel like a good husband, so my marriage struggled for years. I had many days where I didn’t feel like a very good dad to my children, so I said and did things that I now regret. I felt ashamed by money, so I struggled to build wealth and live prosperously. I even struggled as a Christian. Do you see how my negative philosophy was a pattern of thinking that kept me stuck? It’s very annoying to reflect back on. It’s probably why I struggle at times to be around people who struggle with those same/similar issues. It reminds me of who I used to be and never want to be again! I am in recovery for “negativity and pessimism” as well. Add it to the list. 

Failure and “holding back” can become (but doesn’t have to be) a life metaphor that clouds every decision we make. Time doesn’t always make us change. If we keep the same, limiting mindset, even 20 years later, our choices and circumstances will not have changed much. Change starts to happen only when we “change between our ears” (i.e. our thoughts, beliefs, and philosophy). 

For some us like myself, it is a slow process that requires a daily filling of my mind with positive, transformational truth. Once I accepted this truth and fact, then I saw the importance of making my personal and spiritual growth a daily routine and "life line." It's not a burden; it's a privilege. As Zig Ziglar said, "You don't pay a high price for success. You get to enjoy the benefits of it." To me, if I will daily submit to Christ's leadership, daily learn to love Him with my whole heart and soul, and daily trust and obey Him, then that's success.
“Complaining is not for the winners in life. You must focus on what you can do, not what you cannot. And you must focus on the opportunities not the difficulties. When you do this you will not only inspire yourself but you will be an example for others to follow as well.”  Jim Rohn


1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)

No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.

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