Wednesday, June 8, 2011

I Can't Change Anyone But Me...

My Venting Session
 God knocked me down to size a few years ago while enduring a very rough week. Lupe and I were having a conversation one morning, well it was actually a one sided "venting session" where Lupe did a lot of listening and I did a lot of "venting". Anyone who knows my husband, knows he very rarely loses his temper or gets dis-shoveled. Lupe is so consistently stable and calm that it's straight up annoying sometimes, but it's also one of things I admire most about him-  probably another reason God chose him for me.
The venting session seemed to be a lot of  "...THEY need to....THEY should....don't THEY could THEY could THEY..." etc...etc...! Many of my points, opinions, and frustrations were very valid and even right- and of course some were unreasonable and me being angry.
Since I didn't get the response I wanted from Lupe, I decided I would 'vent' to God this time (again, a one sided conversation). Every time I paused to take a breath I would hearing, "You can't.." over and over. Finally, I shut my mouth long enough to wonder what "You can't...You can't...You can't..." meant. I didn't stay quiet very long (is it even possible for me to be quiet a long period of time?), but became frustrated and busied myself with my cleaning list (when I get angry/frustrated my house gets very clean). Later on, I sat down to rest (which required me to be quiet)and heard, "You can't change 'them', but you can change you".
Okay, that was NOT the answer I expected or was looking for.Wasn't God suppose to vindicate, validate me and tell me I was RIGHT! I began to attempt to tell God all the reasons that His answer was wrong- and He, unlike me, remained quiet until I was done. After I finally shut my mouth, He said it again "You can't change 'them', you can only change you".
After realizing God was correcting me (shocking, right?), I figured it was time to evaluate my heart. My conclusion was this, no matter how right or wrong I or 'they' were- I was allowing it to eat away at me and my happiness- it was beginning to have an effect on every part of me. As much as I would of loved to blame 'them' for all of that, I  was allowing that to happen.
I made a decision to change. First, everything is 2 sided, and in every situation I have to choose how I am going to react and evaluate what contribution I have made to the situation. Second, ownership- I have to take ownership of my contribution- and sometimes that means even asking forgiveness. Even if it is just a minuscule part- if it contributed to a situation/conflict- you have to own it and act appropriately. Third, prayer. I can't change them, but my prayers- well, my sincere prayers can soften their heart- it will also soften my mine- and allow GOD to make the changes. I can't change people, but prayers- sincere prayers can. Through my prayers for others, I have actually figured out what I needed, it didn't really have anything to do with the other person(s)- but with me. It was not what they needed to change, but what I needed to change.
Like it or not, I had to realize that I needed to make some changes. Like it or not, I had to realize that I was wrong (sometimes, lol). Like it or not, I had to realize that I was contributing to these situations. But, even if I was completely right (and I was not)- I still could not change them. I could only change me, pray, and trust God to take control.
I still have to walk this road of not trying to change others (continue to pray for Lupe, lol), which is difficult for a control freak, but evaluating and changing myself. A few months ago, I found myself getting very bitter and angry- and it was over stuff that was absolutely irrelevant to me. One situation triggered I faced hurt me and set me on edge- I found myself consumed with bitterness towards this person and situation. I realized, I was still holding on to 'stuff' and it was eating me up AGAIN.
I needed to make a change, I began to filter what I was allowing myself to be exposed to, many people I had to distance myself from had not done anything directly to me or against me. But, I needed distance from the past they represented, I didn't need to know what was going on or how things were going. I had to leave it behind me and concentrate on the here and now. My intent was never to cause hurt, it had nothing to do with anyone but ME- although temporary- it's something I needed to do in that moment.
That decision is helped me to move on. I'm not consumed with others and the past- but I am praying for them with sincerity. My heart has softened, and I've been able to forgive and let go- it's wonderful to let God have control instead of others (who don't even know they're controlling me).
Today, I find myself excited to hear of and about those people and situations- when before I would of rolled my eyes and responded negatively. I have not arrived and have to continue to check my heart and apply change when necessary- and I'm all the better for it. It's about allowing Jesus to be Lord over every part of my Life!

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