For the past several weeks, I’ve had no less than a few conversations about past hurts and decisions. Each situation was different but the heart of the matter was the same. Humanity struggles with this sin nature. We all do. No one desires to hurt, experience loss, or feel pain. Who would? It hurts! However, in order to grow closer to and walk with the Lord, we must grow through the painful times that are sure to come. It is not enough to just go through them. We must grow through them.
A dear family friend of ours who passed over a decade ago once said, “pain is pain”. At that time, she was deciding whether or not to get treatment for another bout she had with cancer. Her doctor said something to the affect that the pain she would experience would be minimal. She replied with that clever retort. When I heard her tell my mother the story, I was intrigued by how true her statement was. Pain is pain. Hurt is hurt. Your circumstance could be minor or major compared to someone else’s but that does not matter. God is concerned about you, the individual, and the things that effect you. Regardless of if you think it is a big thing or a little thing, it is a big deal to Him. That is important to know because you will always find someone who is worse off then you or better off then you but you are no less (or more) important to God.
The decisions you make today effect your tomorrow. I know that is a cliché statement now. It is a true statement but it is used so much now that we tend to minimilize its effectiveness. I’ve heard this statement used by business men and women to encourage their associates to stay on the path of success instead of slacking off here and there to enjoy short-term comforts instead of long-term success. However, that statement exceeds far past the realm of business. It is a very personal statement as well. I doubt any person suffering from Emphysema today thought that they would be in need of oxygen now when they first developed a smoking habit years ago. The truth is we don’t know how deep the impact our decisions today effect our tomorrow. Only God knows and He cares.
As women, we have made decisions in high school or in college that have greatly effected our today in ways we could not have imagined. I imagine that my children’s mother’s did not know that the day they decided to have a baby was the same day they chose to have another woman (me) whom they did not get to choose to be in their child’s life. You don’t know how many decisions you are making for your tomorrows by one decision you make today.
We have all been a second grader who had a hard day at school and was hurt by a classmate. (Maybe not all of us but just go with me on this.) We decided that day or shortly thereafter, never again to be hurt like that. As a result some of us took to being very smart by studying and getting good grades so we knew more than our offender. Some of us took to taking command and sought to control every aspect of our space to plot for the offender. Some of us took to being quick with the tongue and learned how to make deadly verbal strikes to stun and subdue our offender. Some of us turned on the charm so we could woo our offender. Some of us decided to be people pleasers so not to upset our offender. Regardless of the paths we took, that set the stage for how we deal with hurts as adults. Even though we are grown folks now, we still have the hurt of the second grader. We are just more sophisticated now. We have more rational and reason behind our behaviors. We justify our actions based on what we want or what we don’t want.
Here’s the monkey wrench. We have to grow through the hurt and the only way to grow through it is to experience it…all of it. We have to go back to those same feelings we tried to avoid and feel them. Even if you’ve felt it before, if you didn’t grow though it but rather chose to simply get through it, you have to go back otherwise, you won’t be able to progress. You have to hit your head on each one of those steps you jumped over before when you tried to escape the hurt. I’m not talking about the second grade hurt. I’m talking about all of the hurts that came after; all the hurts that affect your decision-making now. The man who mistreated you, the girl friend that stabbed you in the back, the family member that died, the job that let you go, etc. You fill in the blank. You know what they are.
Ever notice how you seem to find yourself in the same type of situation over and over again? The smart folks faced situations where their intelligence meant nothing. The control people found themselves in situations they could not control. The tongue lashers words wouldn’t change anything. The charmers found their charms had no effect. The people pleasers found that there was no amount of pleasing they could do to change anything. Those are God sized situations.
Those situations were designed for you to grow through and finally be free. If you find yourself in the same type of situation over and over, it’s because you didn’t grow through the first time so God, being full of mercy, has given you another chance to do so. It’s because he loves you that it keeps happening. When you grow through, you will be free. It’s only after you hit your head on each step you tried to avoid that you can be free.
***For biblical reference, see Numbers 21 and Exodus 17 though the entire Old Testament from Moses on speaks specifically about this. The Israelites did the same thing. They decided not to grow through with God but instead chose to do what other nations were doing because it was “easier”.***