There are so many variations on the sayings… “Some people come in to your life for a season, and some come for a lifetime. Never mix seasonal people up with lifetime expectations”… “People come in to your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you’ll know exactly what to do”… “In life, you will realize there is a role for everyone you meet. Some will test you, some will use you, some will love you, and some will teach you”… “Some people come in to your life for a season. Because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience or peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. Even if only for a season.”
I have had to remind myself of that lately. I have gotten wrapped up in anger and disappointment over people around me changing. People who have been important to me. People I believed to be those lifetime friends.
I have prayed, searched my heart, wondering what I might have done to upset them…why they have become different around me. My default is to blame myself, knowing it’s something I have done wrong. Replaying encounters, conversations, looks…beating myself up over what is, certainly, my fault.
In my replaying I have discovered growth. I have realized that perhaps they haven’t changed. Maybe it’s not anything I’ve done…or at least not anything I’ve done wrong.
I am in a season of growth. I mean, I know, we are always growing, but I am intentionally working on my growth. Discovering my unhealthy behaviors…seeking new ways to deal with stress…new ways to be in relationships…trying to consciously choose healthy behavior (not always, but I’m working on it!)…I am doing all of this for myself, within myself…working on being a better me…the me God created me to be.
And now, I realize how natural it is for other people’s unhealthy behavior to become more obvious to me. Especially in the areas I am working on in myself. People pleasing, pride, self worth, blaming, enabling, fixing…
When I have to be intentional in my words, actions, behaviors, to avoid reverting to my unhealthy behaviors, when those attitudes are constantly at the forefront of my mind, I find myself recognizing them in other people.
It’s not pretty y’all. Especially realizing “Is that really how I sounded/acted/spoke?”
So now I have to remind myself that my timeline is not their timeline. My issues are not theirs. My healing is not theirs. What I’m working on doesn’t make someone else recognize their struggles in that same area. My victories, small as they may be, are mine, no one else’s. I can pray they see them and through that see God’s healing in my life. But it’s not my place to point out their struggles.
Each person’s recovery is between them and God. It’s not my business. I am called to encourage, offer hope…but through my own recovery…my story…my testimony. Not to try and fix anyone else or give them advice.
I don’t know what God is working on in anyone else. Only what He’s called me to work on in me.
But as I work on my issues, as I see behaviors I am working on happening in others…I find myself going back to that saying…Never mix seasonal people up with lifetime expectations. As I grow, as my behaviors become more and more healthy, as my faith becomes stronger, as I achieve victory in my areas of recovery…I think there must be some unexpected partings of ways.
Friendships I expected to last a lifetime may have been seasonal. Which is not to say they were bad, because they have been amazing…but maybe they have served their purpose in my life. Perhaps I have learned what I was meant to learn from them and now God is moving me on.
As I intentionally search out healthy friendships, as I am no longer just in survival mode, but now find myself stronger, more self assured…as I grow out of people….out of relationships…
The unexpected is happening. Not just the ending of friendships, but the beginning of the ending of my negative self-talk, my blame, my non-existent self-worth.
I am able to let go of the anger…the disappointment…and instead be thankful for the season they were in my life.
I am able to move on. I am able to cherish the time we had. I am able to let them go with no resentment.
It’s unexpected. It was, for a moment, unwelcome. I don’t let go lightly, but I must let go.
To my friends whose season in my life has long since passed…to those whose season is just now ending…I am grateful for our time and cherish the memories and wish you love always.
To my friends whose season may end unexpectedly, or last a lifetime…I promise to be more intentional with our friendship, to value our time, however long we have, to appreciate what you bring to my life and to strive to bring joy to yours.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)
Growth, unexpected endings, new beginnings…all a part of God’s plan…not mine.
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