I have been a reality super-hero my whole life. Face the trials, face the facts, face the consequences, and get on with it. People have let me down; I forgive and keep moving forward. My gravestone should read, “Forgiver of All Things”. What amazes me, is watching others not withstand the storm and fail to take responsibility when the winds pick up. We call it a victim mentality, and the rally cry is, “Poor me.”
I do not play that game. I never have.
When things look different than you expected, there is a cause. Reflecting on that cause creates a full picture of how things came to be. Whether or not you are or were in the mix of creation, outcomes hit us all. The most powerful words in existence are choice and choose. These two words lend to every triumph and trial we face.
There is no blame in the game. You choose your response, reaction, and action to any circumstance that arises. At a young age, I received discipline that taught me proper and improper behavior. I feared choosing improper behavior. I knew what consequences were long before I could say or spell that word.
As I grew, I pushed boundaries and learned what guilt was, a lasting feeling of wrong in the pit of my stomach. Fear that someone would find out what I did, and fear of the consequence when they found out. Not liking that gut punch, I rarely crossed the threshold more than once. My mother would say I was a good girl.
While I chose a road of obedience, adults around me did not. I was a child living in a web of evil for the most part. Abuse, secrets, playing pretend ignorance to the abuse, ignoring red flags, and many who idolized the abuser left me confused. One day, I woke up and determined boundaries held me in far more than they protected me, and I walked right out.
As I swim through midlife, I look back on those days of self-indulgence and cringe. Every memory hurts my heart. I chose a cheap and unnecessary road and marked it ‘freedom’. I took on the mentality of the adults around me and chose (knowing the consequence) a life I never saw coming. I was a mother at 15. Common in the world I came from. I had another child before I finished high school. These choices were mine to own. The devastating result for abused girls is motherhood, bad relationships lived in fear, using any man to be a safety net and shield, and lifelong guilt for bad behavior.
However, my choice was a direct consequence of the poor decisions of others in my life. I did not create my storm; I created the aftermath. A massive destruction that beat the internal parts of me mercilessly. Mentally, psychologically, even physically, I have endured the rebuilding of a soul.
I no longer hold myself in contempt or others who impacted me negatively. I forgave every hurt inflicted and released them to their personal forgiveness. I allow myself to remember, but without animosity. I chose to find peace and I choose to live within its boundaries. (Most days!)
The part that conjures up ill thoughts is how others cannot accept their defeat, their missteps, their choices. They live in the victimhood of their choosing, yet move as though reality dropped from the sky. How do they refuse to accept that their decisions drove their train? It railroaded life at full throttle due to choice, not invisible means.
I am not one to lift myself in praise, but with all the unrest of those around me, I am a gem. God led me down a road of repentance, acceptance, forgiveness, and renewal. I am blessed. I chose to follow Him, no matter the consequence because the path was always safe and trustworthy. People amuse us, but they fail us, too. The finality in life is the door to the next. When my time comes, I enter guilt and regret-free. I promise to forgive those who hurt my heart, but shout thanks they have no more impact on my soul. I find peace beyond the temporal places and choose to dwell in the intimacy of God.
That is my choice, and I’m sticking to it.