The average American lives a little less than 80 years. That’s 80 years of learning, growth, working, kids, relationships, and unfortunately failures. We cannot expect to go through this life without royally screwing up at some point. We all do it. We just do it in different ways.
2 yeas ago I was utterly broken. Life had beaten me down and I grew tired of pretending I was ok. My marriage fell apart, I was overwhelmed with the everyday responsibilities of adulthood, the pressure of raising kids was weighing me down, my job felt like one more thing on my plate instead of something I thoroughly enjoyed like I used to, my family and friends were questioning all of my decisions, and I was just lost. The brokenness of my life was so painful that I longed so badly to feel nothing at all. It wasn’t that I wanted to die. It was just that living hurt so much.
I made a lot of mistakes that year. A lot. I made decisions in that time that I would never make today. I read a quote once and it rings so true.
“Hurting people hurt people.”
We don’t realize how damaging our actions are in those times because we are so incredibly damaged ourselves. We are so focused on our own pain that we can’t focus on the pain we are causing anyone else. I want to be clear that I’m not making excuses, I’m just stating facts.
One of the hardest parts about those times in our life is coming out of them. When we do, we look back and see all of the damage we’ve done. It’s like coming up from your basement to see your home destroyed from a storm. You’ve spent so much time numbing your feelings and hiding from what’s happening and then all at once you feel again and reality hits you.
At that point we have a choice. We can be filled with shame and let ourselves recluse back into that dark place that led to so much destruction or we can accept it and do everything in our power to never go back to that place again.
We all have chapters in our life that we wish we could rewrite.
We all stumble.
We all break.
But just because you break does not mean that you are bound to be broken for the rest of your life. Those segments of our life do not define us as people. Because you’ve done bad things does not mean that you are a bad person. Because you’ve hurt people along the way does not mean that you deserve a miserable life as some karmic revenge.
There will be people in this world that will never let you live down the mistakes of your past. They will only ever see you through that lens. That is something that is for them to deal with. Not you. Do not ever allow someone else’s opinion of you become your opinion of yourself.
Never doubt God’s ability to make beauty from the ashes. His grace is so much bigger than any failure or mistake you could ever make.
If you are ever having a particularly bad day and you need some encouragement I’d invite you to listen to this song. I was having one of those days yesterday. It brought me to ugly tears, but sometimes we need those emotions to flood out of us so we can be replenished with God’s goodness.