Some people grow up and some people just grow older
...is a quote from the movie King's Row, the movie that made Ronald Reagan a star. It's also an adage he took to heart and lived out in real life. In the movie, his character had his legs unnecessarily cut off by an evil doctor. He then had a choice if he was going to stay bitter and bed bound or get up and live his life in spite of his loss.
We don't always know why things happen but our response to them - even difficult, hurtful situations - will make all the difference in the world. We can choose growth or stagnation of the heart by the actions we take in response to life’s challenges.
Through years of personal healing and also as a counselor I've discovered a few things about growing up:
- Choose to forgive others - AND yourself
- Repent for wrong attitudes and actions
- Take responsibility for what you've done
- Choose to be honest about your "stuff"
- Embrace the pain and yield to God's love
Some people just can't handle facing the truth so they always blame others or circumstances. Obviously victims of abuse and crime are not responsible for what happened to them. I'm in no way making light of their terrible pain and suffering nor the difficult mountain path of recovery. But we choose which way we will go.
I was stuck in the past for years because of emotional pain and anger towards those that hurt me. This caused me to view life through a distorted lens and make bad decisions as a result. Healing began as I not only forgave my offenders but when I faced the painful truth of my own failures, some very huge indeed, and forgave myself.
I would not have been able to face these failures without believing and experiencing the Father's affectionate and passionate love for me just as I am, in failure and imperfection, not only after I got my act together. This was a slow and difficult process for me and His love was the hardest thing to receive, due to being locked in a culture and mindset that teaches our value is based on performance and "success".
Its not just head knowledge I'm talking about. It's heart knowledge. Head knowledge holds facts but our hearts determine whether it becomes truth or just information. Believing the truth and choosing to walk it out makes us grow and causes our hearts to live in freedom.