The only thing that I have ever consistently been in life is inconsistent. As I review journals and running logs, or just mentally review the one act plays that have accumulated throughout the course of history that is my life, the common thread has always seemed to be: Surge ahead. Achieve marginal success. Face criticism or worse yet, not receive the accolades that I deserve. Redirect and fall behind. Repeat. For most of my life, I have made changes primarily to receive some sort of praise or attention from other people. When I get the pats on the back, I push on. When I realize that nobody is paying attention, I move on. I don’t retain the benefits of whatever behavior modification I am attempting and I seek out the next pathway to praise.
Of course this is a carry-over from my childhood. Not that my childhood was so terrible. I grew up in a two-parent home with my mom and step-dad and two step-brothers and a step-sister, or is it half-siblings? Either way, my childhood was fine, but some of the events of my childhood, along with the way that I interpreted life as a child led to some pretty funky, and life-shaping, bad thoughts. Thoughts about myself; my family; God.
I have been fortunate enough to spend the last 6 months digging into my beliefs and my past, along with my wife and a couple of dear friends. The result is that much of the garbage that I was allowing to act as a rudder most of my life has been released. I don’t feel the urge to perform for praise; nor do I fear that the other shoe is about to drop and God is about to wallop me for not being perfect. It’s a pretty good feeling.
But not all is well in the house that grace built. I find myself at a crossroads. As if I have just emerged from a dark woods, an open field before me, and light all around. Up to this point in my life, I have looked primarily at my past for indicators, or better yet, limiters, of where to go next. My past has quite literally determined my future. In the rare moments where I didn’t need the approval of my past, I looked to God, who I just knew saw me as a failure and a gigantic waste of time and energy, and I found more boundaries and limitations, lest I get blasted for attempting too much.
Now I am only looking at myself, with and from God’s perspective, realizing that there are some things that need to change. Much of what has gone before was good, I just had the wrong motivations. I was doing it in an attempt to make much of me, and not the God who created me. I was desperately searching for the thing that would finally prove to them that I was enough, when God knew that I was enough all along.
I don’t know exactly what to do now. Only that I feel like I have the freedom to choose, and to pursue, the relationship with God that He has longed for. I am beginning again.
But this time from a different place and with a different purpose.