“The biggest mistake I have made in my life is letting people stay in my life far longer than they deserve.”
I saw that quote as a status post on my friend’s Facebook wall…and it made me think. Likewise, I want to make you think. Take a moment and consider every important person that is in your life right now. Take a mental tally of those who are close enough to you to influence you. Consider the few that you share your ideas and dreams with. Now, think about how they help or hurt you, what their responses are towards you, and in what ways they influence you. As I went through this mental processing, I found myself separating the people in my life into two different categories: those who are for me, and those who are with me. So that I don’t confuse you, I’ll explain.
Someone who is for you supports you, encourages you, pushes you to grow, tells you when you are wrong so that you can do and be better, prays for you, prays with you, cares about what you care about, wants for you what is best for you, brings positivity to your life, protects you even if it endangers him/her, helps to broaden your outlook, etc.
Someone who is with you occupies space, does not always fully believe in you or your dream, would protect you if it would ultimately protect him/her, hears your ideas and immediately thinks how it can’t be done or that he/she could do it better, does not shield you from drama and negativity…even when they are the source of it, tends to give criticism without being considerate or constructive, etc.
Keep that in mind…
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 [Word English Bible]
Think about the way the year spans. January 1st falls within the winter. Following winter is spring, then summer. Next is fall and finally, winter again. With each changing season, many things occur. The most noticeable thing is how the weather begins to differ, and depending on the temperature, you may shed or add some clothing. Now consider that your life also happens in seasons. With the changing of the seasons, natural transitions occur, and those changes warrant you to shed or add some things. It is crazy to wear a mink coat on a hot, 101° summer day. Honestly, it’s dangerous to wear a mink coat on a hot, 101° summer day. Just the same it is crazy and dangerous to keep someone in your life, especially in an influential position, once their season has passed.
Here’s another scenario to help drive my point. Consider that you have a friend that asks to crash on your couch until they can get on their feet. When they first move in, they are extra cautious of your belongings.They are considerate of how much noise they keep, or how they move throughout your home. Initially, they will make sure that any dish or area that they use is left clean, and that they ask for permission before they take, move, or consume anything. Fast forward a few weeks or months when they have “made themselves at home.” At this point, all the pleasantries are out of the picture. They are not as cleanly, considerate, or responsible. They use dishes without washing them, they leave their belongs scattered throughout the home, and they consume things without replacing them. The real problem is that the individual has become comfortable, and he/she has forgotten that the key that grants them access into your personal space is temporary and most importantly, borrowed. But you have he power to address their behavior, and if necessary, evict that person out of your space.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY:
Everything and everyone that enters your life is on assignment. Just the same, those assignments have an expiration date. Am I saying that you should kick everyone out of your life once they have done what they were assigned to do? No I am not. What I am saying is that you should be aware of the role that those close to you are playing in your life and make adjustments as necessary. It is possible that something that once helped you can lose it’s effectiveness. Consider a bottle of Tylenol. Prior to it’s expiration date, it can relieve your pain or break your fever when taken. After the expiration date, it can make you SICK when taken. But it’s the same medicine, Chris, and the label did not change. True, but the make-up of the medication changed over time. What I am saying is, that one that was for you can be kept around long enough, past the point of their assignment, that they no longer are helpful to you. They may look the same or they may physically be around just as before, that is their label… But if you look closer at their composition, you may notice that things have changed. No longer do they support your dreams, they criticize them. No longer do they protect you, they hurt you. No longer are they a joy in your life, they are a burden on you back. They have transistioned from being for you to being with you. My main objective for this post is to help you start the process that will remove leeches and parasites from your life. You do not have remain under the influence of someone who is not even supposed to be this close to you at this point in your life. There are people that I considered to be my best friends at one point in time, but as I “grew up,” we grew apart! It is okay to release some individuals from your life. You are actually releasing yourself in the process and embracing the change that the seasons have brought your way. And if they are supposed to return to your life, he/she will come again, just as the winter.