The only way to continue peeling back the layers is to acknowledge the absolute and undeniable. The truths and observations that reveal themselves to us over time. Whether they are wrapped in a pretty package or foul and scarred, we must accept that for everything there comes a time.
There comes a time to stop arguing with ego.
Let’s just be honest. Being argumentative is not a good quality. That is especially true when you are arguing with ego. It is no secret that I have a need for control. It’s coupled with a need to be right and often clouds my judgment. It’s usually not until after the fact that I realize my ego engaged with some else’s in a situation that I would otherwise not spend time and effort on. Ego can cause you to miss out on the big picture. Ego needs to be put on the back burner in order to assess whether a given situation requires a response. Contention and combativeness cause undue stress and strain to your relationships with others. Learn to pick your battles and be silent at times. The truth doesn’t require explanation and argument. Legitimacy will be revealed on its own. Not to mention, people don’t like to be made to look foolish. That’s when their ego flares and they communicate from a place of “trying to save face”. If you are unable to have a discussion with one’s intellect you will prove unfruitful. It’s perfectly okay to allow people to learn and be justified on their own.
There comes a time to let others have the last word.
There happens to be a number of people in my life who need to have the last word. Literally. It took me some time (mostly through trial and error) to recognize this trait. These are people who even if they are wrong or foolish in their assertions and intent will still find a way to continue their point of view. I’ve learned to let them. You should too. You will only frustrate yourself in furthering your cause. It ends only with your silence. It doesn’t mean you are at a loss. It means you exercise the discipline and restraint to allow them to have what they need instead.
There comes a time to stop reducing and diminishing yourself.
Stop asking yourself questions like “Who will desire me if I have all these kids?” or “What job will hire me with a felony?” or “Who will be willing to take on whatever crosses I bear?”. You are limiting God’s power with this thinking. God is bigger than any circumstance or situation you have been or may be in. His love doesn’t diminish because you found yourself in some unpleasant or untraditional state of being. He has the power to transform, renew, and restore. What you see as a burden, mistake, flaw, or failure is actually part of your testimony. It gives you more value and draws you nearer to Him if you allow. Someone is waiting on everything you bring to the table to use it for His glory and to your advantage.
There comes a time to LITERALLY step out on faith.
I had to do this for the first time in 2013 when I decided to leave my job of eight years. I had no solid plan. I couldn’t see the road ahead. Considering that I am a person of plan and purpose, my mind told me it was the scariest place to be. Yet somehow my spirit was at peace. I was committed to stepping out on faith. Since I knew that faith without works is dead I gave myself tasks and a timeline. Having a timeline gave me some sense of control, which I needed to appease my mind. Thirteen months later I am exactly where God situated me. Notice I am careful not say I am exactly where “I” want to be. I submitted my will to His. I am certain that the steps God has ordered are a better path than the one I may have chosen in the alternative. For He knows the plans he has for me (Jeremiah 29:11). I have to continue to put my faith into action and trust His plan every step of the way.
There comes a time for intellect to overrule emotions.
Emotions are tricky. They alter our mood, judgment, and decision making power. They can be very volatile at times. We have to learn to respect them without solely relying on them. Intellect should overrule emotion in most cases. For example, when we know we are consuming food that makes us feel good but are slowly killing us by causing or advancing illness… we should allow intellect to intervene. Likewise when we love someone who has created an unhealthy balance in our lives… we should allow intellect to intervene. Look through the lenses of objectivity at your situation. Evaluate whether it was caused by intellect or emotion. Change the course as needed.
There comes a time to respect differences.
Some may find it hard to believe that a man can walk on water or be raised from the dead. I find it hard to believe that man evolved from ape and there are enough preserved dinosaur skeletons to fill every museum on the planet. However, I listen to and respect other people’s view. In doing so I challenge myself to consider alternatives to what I think I know. I also earn an appreciation for people’s journeys, insights, cultures, and choices. There are very few common denominators in life. Don’t hold your breath waiting for everyone to get on board with your line of thought.
There comes a time to stop settling for less than you deserve.
You first have to KNOW what you deserve in order to determine whether or not you are settling for less. We’re not talking entitlements. We’re talking self worth and esteem. When you know how wonderfully made you are and how much God loves you it’s hard to envision an alternative. God wants His love to be reflected in us and shown to others. The prerequisite to loving others is to love yourself (Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31). We have to learn to love ourselves. It doesn’t come automatically. Some of us learn early on while others are still searching for the page number. The bottom line is that if you don’t love you then you can’t love me. The common reason people settle for less than they deserve is because they don’t know what they deserve. That is an indication that they are somewhere on the learning curve of loving themselves. You must know what you bring to the table and require it to be honored. Period.
There comes a time to cope.
Coping is part of growing up. In this life there will be something you have to cope with; trauma, loss, heartache, etc. I have had to cope with a number of things that shattered my realities and just about took me to the point of no return. I felt broken more times than I care to remember. There was a point in time that I couldn’t cope. I knew I needed to but I was stuck. As a result I compensated with poor habits and lifestyle choices. I did whatever felt good at the moment to ease the pain and silence the noise. In doing so I discovered that there is positive coping and negative coping. I had yet to learn at that time that just because we endure stressors it doesn’t mean we have to be in a constant state of distress. Coping for me means replacing the cigars, chocolate, and wine with exercise, prayer, and mental stimulation. Coping means setting goals to improve and honor my commitment to them. At the same token it means recognizing that it is a process. Parts of me are still coping. Some days better than others.
There comes a time to embrace your season.
No matter what season you’re in, acknowledge and embrace it. Even if you’re facing adversity, utilize what’s available to produce your desired outcome in due season. The rain produces harvest. The storms wipe away things that don’t belong and bring to light everything that was strong enough to withstand. The sun allows us to glow and appreciate everything that blossoms around us. Every season produces something different. Just as we don’t look for berries in the winter or pumpkins in the spring, we can’t be focused on what lies behind or ahead. We must tune in to the here and now. Trust and believe that something will come of this season (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Be careful not to miss it.