“I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you are not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”
-F. Scott Fitzgerald
Change and pain are often partners in crime. The very nature of change, whether it is voluntary or involuntary, means that something is lost or given up. The old must go away to make room for the new. But it is always worth it. You’re going through a storm and it’s dark for days, maybe weeks…until one day, eventually, you look up and see a ray of sunlight, and suddenly you’re in a new place and the whole awful journey now becomes precious to you because of all the things you learned and because of how strong you’ve become.
This is the time of year when everyone starts evaluating. How did I do this year? Did I grow? Did I regress? Did I make use of opportunities and learn from my mistakes? Did I get just a little bit closer to That Person I know is somewhere inside me, fighting to get out? Did I let go of the right things and fight for the things I should have? Was I the best I could have been for my friends, for my family, for God?
But I think that this often becomes a session of failure-wallowing. I did this wrong, I failed there, I should have called this person more, I could have been like this by now if I’d only done that…et cetera. So I would like to say this. Yes, we can all always do better. We can all always look back and find things we did wrong. We make mistakes. This happens to be a fact of life, or it wouldn’t be life and we wouldn’t be human. It is also a fact of life and of being human that we cannot go back and change what is past.
One of the best things we can learn in life is to note a mistake, learn from it, and move on. Move on here meaning “not hold it over your own head until you die.” If God forgives us when we repent of sin, who are you to hold yourself in captivity over much lesser things? We have the fantastic ability as humans to change. To grow. But our growth is massively hindered when we don’t let go of things in the past. Learn from it, give it to God, and trust Him when He says “It is finished.”