Many of us look back at our childhood with fond memories. Remember when life used to seem so carefree and your only worry was to be home by the time the street lights came on, or remembering to get your chores done on time. Well, we got older, and for many of us life does not seem so fun and carefree anymore.
As adults, many of us have allowed our dreams to be tempered, or worse yet completely vanish.
Maybe a relationship we entered into ended and left us with a bitter taste of distrust. Maybe a 30 year marriage has ended because you both decided that you just grew apart and simply don’t want to be together any longer. No matter the situation, we do not have to let that divorce or past relationship define us and our future.
As a Christian man who experienced a divorce over a decade ago, I understand many of the challenges that come with this. Staying stuck in a rut and feeling paralyzed after a divorce does not have to be the norm.
One exercise that may be beneficial to get you moving into the future that you deserve might be to remember back to your childhood days. I am not promoting the idea of reverting back to your childish ways or behavior, but I am promoting the idea of remembering the things that brought you joy and excitement as a child. This may get some of your creative juices flowing again and bring to remembrance a passion of yours from the past that you may want to reignite.
Maybe you enjoyed school and want to pursue a higher education. Maybe music is a passion that you have buried over the years. Consider the various ways that you can let music bring joy back into your life again. If physical health is something that you highly value and are passionate about, join a running or cycling club.
Whatever your passion may be, I recommend that you do as the Nike motto says and “Just Do It”.
Also, consider the fact that it will be helpful to surround yourself with like-minded people who share some of the same passions as you do. Remember that passions create visions, and visions lead to actions, and actions lead to growth. But never forget to ask yourself, “What am I growing in to?”
According to God’s word we were created for relationships, and it is through these relationships that we are supposed to experience great joy and fulfillment. The strongest relationship is supposed to be between a man and a women when they come together in marriage and form a bond that is not meant to be broken. Unfortunately, we see marriages ending at a rate of nearly 50 percent, and the last time I checked it was nearly identical for those within the church. I would never suggest that a struggling marriage cannot be restored, because I absolutely believe they can if there is a real commitment between both parties. However, I am writing this to those of you who are already divorced and do not need another guilt trip. The question is, what are you going to do now? Yes, maybe you have been hurt badly. Yes, maybe you feel like a failure. Maybe you feel like you have let down your children, or even God. But what can you do now so the loss of this relationship and the daily stresses in life do not overwhelm you now. You must make it a priority to take care of yourself. We only have one body, and we know the enormous effects that stress has on our bodies, so we have to understand that we must first be good to ourselves and take care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. As I have stated before, we know ourselves better than anyone else, so I would suggest that you get alone by yourself and ask the question, “What is the best way for me to take care of myself now?” For some of us this may be taking a daily walk in the morning to clear your head. Others may prefer to join a gym or take yoga classes. Some people may just want to commit to getting together with a good friend for coffee or lunch on a weekly basis. Or for others this may require some counseling sessions in order to get past some grief or depression that you feel is setting in. No matter what it is, love yourself enough and commit to caring for yourself so you can then love and care for others in the future.
You must make it a priority to take care of yourself
I recently completed a course of study where I constantly heard the phrase “trust in the process.” This seemed pretty straightforward and made a lot of sense to me as I worked through the “process.” As I thought about it more, I think this phrase is applicable in many things in our life. In fact if you think about it, our individual lives are just one big ongoing process. Unfortunately, sometimes the process is very painful, and oftentimes that is because there are other individuals involved in our “process.” Maybe you have been badly burned in a relationship that you thought would last forever and are struggling to get past it. Or maybe we are in our “painful place” because of our own bad choices and are now reaping the consequences. No matter the situation, it is time to trust again, and that begins with trusting God. I understand this may be extremely difficult at first, but I believe it is absolutely pertinent to our growing through the process. I would imagine many of us are familiar with the scripture verse which speaks of God as like a “refiner’s fire”. Being refined by Almighty God sounds like it could be a very uncomfortable process, no matter how necessary. It is important to remember that it says He will refine us, and not consume us. How about the scripture verse which says “that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.” (Psalm 119:75). I don’t know about you, but receiving affliction from Almighty God does not sound like a fun process either. Deep down, we all know that anything worthwhile takes effort, and oftentimes that requires us to be stretched and made uncomfortable. Just like the bodybuilder who works his muscle to get the desired results, or the horse trainer who is breaking in the young racehorse in hopes of one day seeing her win the Derby, if we want to see results we must be faithful in the process and not give up. The same goes for God, who does not give up on us, and who “afflicts us in faithfulness” in order to see us reach our maximum potential. So the question is, will we “trust in the process” and the journey that God has us on, or will we give in to fear and our own insecurities.