News flash: Life’s hard.
We all go through our trials and tribulations, but it seems like some of us just have better luck than others.
Some of us start out “wealthy”, don’t have to work hard, and are naturally gifted with good looks and charm. Some of us start out “poor”, but work hard to achieve our goals of being “wealthy”, and may still never end up being “wealthy.” Now I’m not talking only about money here; I’m talking about self value. How much self-worth do you have? Take a moment to think about that. How do you even define self-worth? Do you find value in how much money you have? How many long relationships you’ve had? How many kids you have? In the fact that you have (or don’t have) a house, car, and food on the table?
Here’s one: how about a relationship with God?
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life. I’ve treated women poorly, treated men poorly, treated my friends and my family poorly. At some point I’ve treated pretty much everyone poorly. It’s taken me many years and many tears to change who I am and how I treat people. I’ve yelled at my youth pastor, my parents, my friends, my (ex) girlfriend. I’ve had to sit there, wherever I was reflecting on myself and what I’d been doing wrong.
During all that self-reflection, tears, and heartache I finally realized something, realized what I’d been missing. God. Through the last 5 years of my life I had been missing God almost 83% of the time. There were times (like when I went to Mexico and got re-baptized) that I had Him back in my heart and things were going well and I was treating people right, but for some reason I always slipped back into it. Finally I just gave up. I said “You know what God, I’m done trying! I’m done trying to get this right, when I always end up doing it all wrong. It’s your turn. Your turn to lead my life, I’m not driving this train anymore. It’s yours.” I still haven’t gotten it right. I’m still not perfect. I still treat people poorly from time to time and I still give in to temptations.
But, I’ve at least identified and removed one of the biggest struggles in my life; my ex (I won’t give her name, just because she’s not a bad person. It was just the relationship that was unhealthy). I dated this girl for a year, we had sex, fell in love, thought about getting married, had pregnancy scares, shared lots of laughs and had lots of fights. There were a lot of fantastic times, but there were also a lot of temptations she was into that I shouldn’t be. She was leading me down a path that would have never let me change the bad things in my life.
Ever since I removed that struggle from my life I’ve been able to control my actions and my words (most of the time, about 83% of the time, still not perfect). I’ve been able to identify what I say and what I’m doing that really hurts people. Most of the time, I can avoid those things. I know I’m changing, but I’m still a work in progress.
A really amazing friend of mine named Jessica once told me, when I was taking my ex back and breaking Jessica’s heart again:
“…I said that because when I met you, you weren’t still the guy with your representation from high school, you told me the story of how you turned your life around for
Emily, which is why I never saw myself as being “the reason” to quote the song. What dawned on me that day was, I have seen glimpses into that side of you. Most of the time when you’ve talked to me you’ve been the amazing guy I’ve fallen for. But the few times I’ve seen through the cracks, seen you lie, seen you do all kinds of things you’re not proud of, from my perspective it’s all been from (my ex). And I realize I’m biased and probably just sound jealous, and I am in no way trying to break you guys up or whatever because there’s obviously something about her you love and even if you broke up it would take a freaking miracle for me to talk to you again. I honestly am just worried about what will happen to you. I don’t want you to go back to that guy. I’ve heard a lot of crappy stuff about her and your relationship with her. So while yes I have a broken heart, I’m also worried about you. All I ask is that you be careful. And I guess that’s all I really have to say.”
At the time I kind of just shrugged it off, but going back and reading it, I realized she was right. Almost everything bad in my life, that I had in highschool, came back when I was with her (my ex). I just want to point out that my ex isn’t a bad person and I’m not trying to make her out to be. She’s just not good for ME, and that’s why I’m telling you all this.
I thank God for the time I got to spend with her and the lessons I learned, and all the great laughs and things I got out of it. I don’t have any hard feelings for her either, but our lives need to be separate.
I guess all this rambling really needs to go somewhere, so here it is.
Don’t let the mistakes of your past ruin your present. Don’t fall back into old habits and old temptations just because you’re comfortable there. You can be a better person than you are, I guarantee it. I did it, after all. Also, see people for who they are and not who they were. Don’t listen to people who say “Oh, that guy? He’s a jerk and did this and this and this in highschool and treated this person this way”; you know why? Because if you listen to that person you are judging a person by their prologue, and not the rest of the story. You gotta read the whole book.
I’ve met some really great people in the last few months of my life, and I’m glad they see me for who I am, and not who I was. Because, honestly, I am, who I am, about 83% of the time.