Was talking to a friend yesterday and I mentioned
"Yeah I ain't fooling around anymore with my issues, my life, my health, my relationships. Full steam ahead. Hitting delete on the past."
The words coming out of my own mouth rang loudly. Convicting myself with an epiphany. It was time. Time to hit delete on the past. Because this hit me:
How much more of your future are you going to waste on a past that has no future?
Talk about mind blowing... Why was I chasing a feeling, an experience, a relationship of days gone past that had no future? It had long been dead, dysfunctional, toxic, even abusive to me.
It was dead and I was trying to revive it, breathe new life into it by ignoring reality. By ignoring the truth. By ignoring the pain. And worst of the worst. I had been distrusting the people I actually trusted most in order to justify my desires and my behaviors.
It really was my immaturity combined with dysfunction and being manipulated. It's a horrible combination that is a black hole, nearly impossible to escape without a really good support system around you.
Why do we chase dead things that have no future? Why do we waste our present time on people that have no future? I don't know if there is a solid answer to that. And I'm not a fan of not having an answer!! It's not my style.
But that's something The Lord is changing in me rapidly. I don't need to know the answer, emotionally I don't need to know the answer. My heart doesn't plunge into anxiety when I don't have the answer. I'm ok.
And what that has taught me is:
The "why" doesn't matter in the present. At all.
Emotional maturity is a strange thing. It's where you become able to make decisions based on mature thinking and feeling, rather than the rash and impulsive feelings we have when we are in our youth.
The bible talks about emotional maturity very very clearly:
"When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways." --1 Corinthians 13:11 ESV
When I was a child... I thought like a child...
And I chased after dead things. I wasted 14 years of my life trying to breathe life into something that had been dead and never God's plan for my future. Sure that dead thing had a place and a purpose in my past. And that time and purpose had been fulfilled.
But I was playing God. I was being a spoiled brat saying "I still want this!". I was the dog returning to my vomit. Sadly.
"Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly." -- Proverbs 26:11 ESV
God had cleaned me up and walked me far away from it. But there I was acting like a child running back to it, clinging to it, demanding I get what I want.
When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
You could argue that after 4 decades I finally just this past month started to have emotional maturity in this area of my life. Sure I've had it in other areas. But just because you're mature in one area doesn't mean all the other aspects of you have it equally.
Emotional maturity is when you realize the past is the past and has no place in your future. Regardless of how you feel right now.
Like denying yourself that bowl of ice cream at night, knowing it doesn't fit in with your future goals of body fitness. Sure you love that ice cream! It's delicious! But it's time to walk away from it.
Like stopping smoking because it poisons your future health and well being. Lighting up that cigarette and breathing that smoke in sure does calm you down. But my future health is more important than my current stress.
Like walking away from that friend who drinks too much because you don't want that lifestyle to be around your children. Sure they are a friend of many years! You've had so many great times! You care a lot about them. But you can't have that influence around your kids. You just can't.
Emotional maturity is not that you stop experiencing feelings. Emotional maturity is not feeling nothing. Emotional maturity is the ability to live your life on a higher level than just doing whatever your feelings push you towards.
You see I held onto a long since dead relationship for over a decade. Had I been given a chance I would have dove right into it again. Because my feelings were dictating my life. I was a slave to my feelings. And my feelings wanted this person.
That person was a huge chunk of my past. But emotional maturity has taught me that while they were a huge part of my past. And while I felt feelings for her at the time, powerful feelings no less, she had no part in my future. And me clinging to her and letting those feelings dictate my present life behavior was me wasting my present, which is my future, on something that God had already buried in the past.
Sure the past comes back to haunt you, taunt you, ruin you, hurt you. All of that is just to get us to waste time that we could be using to become the people God made us to be. The most devious tactics of the evils of this world is not to kill you, but rather to get you to waste the hours of your days, the days of your years of life, chasing feelings and stuck in cycles of dysfunction. Because all of those things rob the world of your ability to do God's will.
That past relationship has no place in my future. So I choose, regardless of what feelings well up and might threaten to overwhelm me, to leave that relationship in the past. I am done being the dog that returns to it's own vomit. I am done reasoning like a child and living my life in childish ways. Just because I have impulses, doesn't mean I should follow them!
I am hitting delete on the past.
Now don't misunderstand. I am not forgetting what was in the past. Those are important details of my life that have taught me many lessons both good and bad.
But I am hitting delete on the past things, so that they are not part of my present... because my future is written by my life as I live it today, in the present.
Much like writing a paper. As you type the words you are writing the story. If you continue to type words today, about something God wants you to walk away from, then you are wasting your future. Emotional maturity would be to stop typing new words for dead things, and delete the last sentence that was your today present. And start typing a new future, a healthy future, a happy future. And most importantly the future God has called you to.