No matter what our parents were like, how we were raised definitely shapes how we grow up. It could be good, bad or ugly – but we have a choice on whether to break the cycle!
As I mentioned in my last post Wise Men With Supernatural Gifts, I’m now going to start a series about how my attitude and frame of mind have come full-circle into what I am – and are continuing to become – today. It’s been a journey, no doubt! And not always a fun journey, which I know a lot of you can relate to.
Here are some questions I’ve had to ask myself over the years:
- Am I going to keep making excuses about how things would be better if I grew up differently instead of moving forward, growing into what God wants me to become?
- Am I going to keep pushing ahead even when it seems as if there’s simply no hope?
- Or am I just going to give up, repeating over and over: “This is just the way it is … my parents were like this, and maybe their parents were too. I’m destined to become just like them. There’s no way out.”
The answer to all the above is that there is always hope; and His name is Jesus. He is real, and He knows you inside and out for He created you (see Psalm 139). He is not some uncaring cosmos sitting up on His throne waiting for you to mess up so He can zap you to hell; instead He’s actively pursuing you and wants to give you victory (Isaiah 41:9-10)!
It’s hard to believe that sometimes, isn’t it?
My sister and I were not raised in a Christian home. We went to church occasionally, but more often than not we heard that church was a place full of hypocrites, so why even go. We wouldn’t want any of “those people” to rub off on us, after all!
As if we were any better…
There was a lot of arguing and negativity in our home, and sometimes I’d wonder if all families were like ours. I didn’t think so, but how could I really know?
As we grew up, both my sister and I started rebelling – each in our own way. As the older sibling I was a bad influence on my sister. I taught her how to lie, steal and cheat (as well as other bad habits). She eventually started blackmailing me because she’d snoop in my room, threatening to squeal if I didn’t give into her.
And it usually worked – I had a lot I was hiding.
But how did all those emotions and attitudes lead me to where I am today? How did all the feelings and circumstances I went through define me? It was a process, no doubt. I was unhappy and hurt a lot. When that happens you can either withdraw completely and be terrified of everything; or turn rebellious, thinking you can outfox everyone.
I chose the rebellious route – but the withdrawing also appeared, as well. Basically, I decided I needed take control of whatever circumstances I could, because I was the only one who really knew what was best.
In spite of my hard heart, God knew who I was; and years later I finally came to realize that I truly was important to Someone. I learned important lessons about my years of suffering. I came full circle. I became royalty! I am now a child of the King of Kings.
So I now sit back and rejoice in thankfulness for all the experiences that God had me go through (Colossians 3:17), because those experiences have given me insight and joy as I’ve learned that lives can be changed – for the good. But it only comes through Jesus.
So I pray these next several weeks you’ll ponder the attitudes, emotions and pain I’ll be writing about. I pray that perhaps you’ll find yourself or a loved one in my transparency – and realize that Real Hope is right there waiting for you, as well.