“The biggest mistake I have made in my life is letting people stay in my life far longer than they deserved.”
| Seasons Change: For Me vs. With Me |
I saw that quote on Facebook. In typical Chris fashion, I took a moment to find the relevance in it, and I want to invite you to do the same. Let’s do a little personal inventory of our lives, shall we? Take a moment to consider every important person that is in your life right now: those who are permitted to influence you and the few that you share your ideas and dreams with. Who is in your circle? Who has access to the intimate and intricate pieces of you? Who can get to your heart? Do you have those people in mind? Now think about how they help or hurt you, what their responses are towards you, and in what ways they impact you. So that you don’t think I am unfairly tasking you without doing this myself, I too had to submit to this mental processing recently. Interestingly enough, I found myself separating the people in my life into two different categories:
- those who are for me
- those who are with me.
For the sake of clarity, I’ll explain.
Those who are for you:
- support you
- encourage you
- push you to grow
- tell you when you are wrong and help you do and be better
- pray for you
- pray with you
- care about what you care about
- want what is best for you/God’s will for you
- bring positivity to your life
- protect you even if from themselves; even if they have to put themselves on the front line
- help to broaden your outlook
Those who are with you:
- occupy space
- do not always fully believe in you or your dream unless they directly benefit from it
- would protect you if it would ultimately protect them
- hear your ideas and immediately think how it can’t be done or that they could do it better
- do not shield you from drama and negativity…even when they are the source of it
- tend to give criticism without being considerate or constructive
- love you mostly for what you can do and not who you are
Feel free to add more bullets to either of these lists, honey!
Keep that in mind…
Think about the way the year spans. January 1st falls within the winter. Following winter is spring, then summer. Next comes fall, and finally when the year ends, it is winter again. With each changing seasonmany things occur, with the most noticeable thing being how the weather begins to differ. Depending on the temperature, you may shed or add some clothing. It is not only crazy but dangerous to wear a mink coat on a hot, 104° summer day. In addition, it wouldn’t make much sense to wear flip flops in the middle of a blizzard. Just as the seasons change naturally, your life is also subjected to seasons. And if there are atmospheric transitions that occur all of the time, we too must go through transitions. We just deemed it crazy and dangerous to wear a mink in the dead of summer. Baby, that would be the quickest way to hit the ground and have a heat stroke. Just the same wouldn’t it be asinine and dangerous to keep someone in your life, especially in an influential position, once their season has passed?
Let’s imagine that we are in high school all over again. Specifically let’s imagine that we are taking a trigonometry class. Back in elementary school our teacher taught us how to count, and we learned basic math: 1+1=2. In that season, the information shared was just what we needed. It wasn’t time for us to comprehend and solve algebraic equations. In that vain, her degree in elementary education was sufficient. Now fast forward to this trigonometry class. Though knowing how to count and knowing that 1+1=2 is a foundation, we need more. More importantly, we need a teacher who qualified to teach us more. Enter the teacher with a degree in secondary education with a concentration in math. Not utilizing the help of our elementary school teachers does not discredit what they know and even who they were to us in years past. Simply put, at this stage of life, what is needed may not be what they can offer.
I think letting people go is one of the hardest tasks that one ever has. I know we live in the age of the “cut off” where any and everyone can be dismissed in a New York minute, but I call B.S. Yup… The truth of the matter is even after one leaves your presence, he/she remains in your life. No worries, I’ll explain. Depending on how close you were to that individual, your habits and preferences may mimic theirs. You may notice that even your mannerisms and ways may be replicas. And most importantly, your expectations and standards can be shaped by that individual. So long after you say, “So long. Bye bye,” you have to detox your mind and heart of that individual’s mentalities. Long after you have stepped from under the umbrella of his/her influence and opinion, there is a small part of you that longs for his/her approval. But what happens when there is a longing for something from someone whose season has expired in your life?
Now I’ll make it personal. It seems I have been in the world’s longest transition ever. From about fall of 2016 until now, it seems as if the tide has been continuously turning for me. If I am a little less dramatic, it hasn’t been just one massive transition over the last 18 months but a series of small changes. As friends have dropped like flies, lovers have withered like flowers, and environments have become uncomfortable, I have found myself still missing what I loved of those things. Even in knowing that a relationship was possibly toxic, I sometimes missed the moments of smiles, laughs, and love. Even after realizing someone may not have had my best interest at heart, there was still a part of me that wanted them to be okay with me and my choices. I found that when I did things, it was either to spite or please those individuals whether it be avoiding them or going above and beyond so that deep down they’d approve. How was it that someone who had no right to still “live” in my life still had rights to my thoughts? Those people weren’t FOR ME. They didn’t lend a helping hand when I was without, especially without making me a slave to their control. They didn’t acknowledge my feelings and make adjustments if it was actually THEM who were tearing me down. They were simply WITH ME…not adding value to my life. If the truth be told, they were more than likely riding on the strength of me, my name, my gifts, my abilities, and my associations. In some of those cases, God had to allow me to be frustrated to the point that I evicted them their space in my life and heart.
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 [Word English Bible]
THE MORAL OF THE STORY:
Everything and everyone that enters your life is on assignment. Just the same, those assignments have an expiration date…eventually the season will shift. Am I suggesting that you 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 who is still close to you, the role that they 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. It is helpful to you. After the expiration date, it can make you SICK when taken. It is harmful to you. But it’s the same medicine, Chris, and the label did not change. True, but unbeknownst to you, the composition of the medication changed over time. The same ingredients that once bonded together to be a rescue or relief to you are subjected to the process of time and a bit of a metamorphosis. Over time they changed and so did you! What are you saying, Chris? One that was for you can be kept around long enough, past the point of the assignment and the change of the season, that they become who is simply with you. They may look the same and may still be around physically just as before. That, my friend, is his/her label… But if you look closer at that individual’s composition, you may notice that things have changed. You may not even have to look because you can sense it. 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. Something doesn’t feel right even when you take them in small doses, and before you know it, they make you sick. They have transitioned from being for you to being with you.
Side note: I doubt any of us would purposely take any kind of medicine that was expired for fear that our condition would worsen. Typically at the point that we realize that bottle of aspirin was from 2008 we would throw it out! And if we ingested it and fell ill, it would be the doctor’s immediate recommendation to STOP TAKING THE MEDICINE… DUH! So when that relationship becomes toxic we should throw the whole boyfriend/best friend/mentor in the trash, right? Yeah…I’ll just leave it at that.
My main objective for this post is to help you take a good look at your life and start the process that will remove leeches and parasites from it. They may be taking up the space that is now reserved for God-ordained connections. Plus you have too much to do in this new season to be subliminally controlled by those who aren’t even assigned to you in this season! Intruder alert!!!! 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 forever friends at one point in time, but as I “grew up,” we grew apart! Just the same there are even family members and acquaintances that I don’t rock with like that anymore. It is quite alright to release some individuals from your life. You are free to have a benediction, which is a final blessing, and invite them to leave your intimate spaces. And if they are supposed to return to your life, baby, he/she will come again, just as the winter.
I hope this helps.