“Being a light in darkness sometimes means that the parts of me that I’d rather hide are illuminated too.” Each week, I share a bit of my truth, peel back a layer, and allow you access to another piece of me. Today I will do the same. I’ll admit, I am a bit nervous because I don’t really have a way to make this story seem as if it doesn’t belong to me; this is my current, personal story. So if this is a bit jumbled or broken, if I can’t find the perfect words, or if there isn’t a scripture reference, please charge it to my head and not my heart.
I wanted to find a clever quote about timing, and all I could think of was the simple phrase, “Timing is everything.” I have heard that more times than I can count in my almost 30 years of living, and it wasn’t until recent days that I have gotten a better understanding that it can mean more than one thing.
Timing is everything: don’t rush, be patient, wait until the moment is right
Timing is everything: don’t wait so long that you miss the moment, answer while opportunity knocks, make your move before the chance passes by
Can you see how that can be contradictory? In a bit of reflection over the past few days, I have seen how I have lived that definition on both ends of the spectrum, sometimes simultaneously. I have waited for the “perfect moment” for so long that the moment came and went, and the opportunity passed me by. There have been instances where fear caused me to become too paralyzed to leap, and there have been times where I moved too soon and missed the mark anyway. Perfect timing seems almost impossible.
Today I want to talk to you about regret, specifically my regrets. Let me begin by saying I am in no way perfect, but I do not enjoy highlighting my flaws. Though I know how to wear a mask pretty well, I could probably NEVER not be a little rough around the edges. Who I am tends to always shine through. Nevertheless, there are some aspects of my imperfections that I would prefer to keep hidden in a dark place. But I stated yesterday and again at the top of this blog, being a light means that even my dark places are fair game for illumination. So today I am shining the light on some of my regrets.
I will share a story with you.
I was once in relationship with a guy that I loved so deeply. Like any relationship, we had our ups and downs, good days, bad days, and every kind of day in between, but he was it for me. Every thought of my future included him, and there was no way I could imagine me without him…until I was without him. Life
whooped our @$$%$ took its toll on both of us and our relationship, and we went our separate ways leaving the rubble of what was created in our love engulfed in flames. Walking away from that relationship was probably one of the most devastating choices that I’ve ever made. Our break up felt like a divorce in every sense of the word as we severed ties and tried to unwind the strings of our lives and hearts. The relationship had become toxic, and we were hurting each other more than we were helping each other, but it still hurt to let go of us and the possibility of our forever. Over a year after our final goodbye, we reconciled. Time had passed, I had begun healing, he seemed to be different, and we were both a bit more mature. We came to the table, had a “Come to Jesus” moment, exchanged apologies, and cleaned the slates. What was obvious to me at that time was that he possibly wanted more than just a clean slate but another chance. Because I was so hesitant, guarded, and just plain in shock, I retreated. I didn’t say “No” in plain English, but I didn’t create any space for him to feel comfortable pursuing me. I was too afraid that history would repeat itself and we would just end up wasting each other’s time. After all, the last run of our relationship spanned almost eight year and ended with heartbreak. Time had allowed me to settle in the idea of us never crossing paths again let alone reconciling. I had said the relationship committal, “If we are meant to be together than we will end up together,” with no expectation of it ever happening. Then I found myself at a table in a cafe in downtown Norfolk seeing eye-to-eye with a man who was once my everything. I couldn’t process what was happening, so unintentionally I didn’t. Fast forward the clock a few months, and a bit of Instagram creeping revealed that he had a new girlfriend. I was left being the ex who felt some kind of way. I attempted to shake off my feelings as if they didn’t matter because, after all, I was once resolved that we would never be anything ever again. If I’m honest, that “shaking” didn’t stop the ache of the blow. Hit fast forward on that clock again, and I’ve found myself questioning if he was the one who got away. Now here’s what you must understand, I have NEVER felt like the guy could be the one who got away because I always felt like I was the prize; they were lucky to have me! If anything, I was the one who got away, and they would just have to live with the regret of letting me go. But in a plot twist, those feelings have been projected on me, and in reflection I have wondered if I missed my small window of opportunity all those months ago. Was I so close-minded and apprehensive that I missed a chance that may have actually been God ordained? And what now? He’s in a relationship, life has moved on, and now the timing is just all wrong.
The central theme of this story is timing. With him, I experienced both sides of the “Timing is everything” coin. When he returned to my life, I jumped the gun and assumed that things would be as they always were – difficult and uncertain. I began shutting the door on him before he had the chance to fully open it. I didn’t appreciate the courage that it took him to even knock on the door. In addition, I am late. I’m a day late and a dollar short with this timing thing because it seems as if now HIS door is closed. If I’m 100% candid, I can’t say that walking through the door is the correct things to do, it just sucks that I lost my option to.
Too often I have been found guilty of not making a move because I worried too much about the opinions of those around me. Just the same, there have been times that I jumped the gun because of those same people in my circle of trust. I have found that sometimes your closest of friends will push you toward a decision out of fear that YOUR real choice may affect the dynamics between you. I think we’ve all been in a situation where a friend, family member, or loved one has talked us out of some things not necessarily because they are bad for us but because it may mean that we don’t need them as much anymore. Now I get the times that friends interject with good intentions — hoping to protect us. Still, the greatest lesson that I have learned in this journey is sometimes you have to pull away, pray about it, and decide for yourself.
So I decided.
“What’s the worst that can happen? …They tell you ‘no’?
No, the worst thing that can happen is that they could have said, ‘Yes’ but you didn’t ask.”
At this stage in my life, I often find myself asking myself, “What do I have to lose?” What’s the bigger risk: trying and it not going well or not trying and missing the chance for it to go well?
So I decided… No more missed chances. Even if I’m scared, I’m going to be open to it. I can’t allow fear to beget hesitation and hesitation to beget stagnancy and stagnancy to beget a missed opportunity and a missed opportunity to beget regret. Y’all, this regret feels like a weight on my heart and shoulders. I can’t help but think if I would have opened my heart, mind, and mouth a little sooner I could have a different outcome.
I know the main example of this blog was intertwined with my love life and relations, but it isn’t limited to it. Funny thing is I have found that a habit in one area of my life is usually evident in other areas. Whether taking a leap to fulfill a dream, making a sacrifice to invest into myself, or taking a chance to try something new, I’m either jumping the gun and quitting (or blowing it) before I have the chance to succeed, or I’m dragging my feet until the door slams shut. You want to know what takes more fervor than praying for an open door? …Praying that the door opens again after you didn’t walk through it.
I know this was not one of my best blogs, and I’m sure it may not even make sense to some. I’m sorry; I still had to share. My hope for you is that you won’t be so afraid that you don’t try. Don’t move too early and don’t wait too long. The balancing factor between moving too fast and waiting too long is God. Only he can create “Perfect Timing.” Seek him and he’ll tell you when to move. And when he tells you to move, MOVE!
Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Proverbs 3:5-6 [New Living Translation]
Last bit of my story. I shared with a mutual friend my feelings of regret and missed timing, and she gave me this advice: “Don’t follow your heart because it will sometimes eff you up. (Hahaha!) Don’t follow your head because you may over think. Follow your gut.”
That feeling down in the pit of your stomach to take a chance, listen to it. Don’t be like me with a pile of regrets because I listened to too many voices, including my own, and ignored my gut and maybe even God. Don’t assume you’ll always have the time because you might not.
Dang, I told my business today. *sigh*
I hope this helps.