When I was a child, there were some things that I was unable to process through because I did not have the skills or life experiences to do so effectively at that point in time. This meant that I had to wait until I was in a different circumstance or stage of life where I had time, clarity of mind, distance, maturity or emotional space to process through various experiences. As I've grown older, I've been able to add tools to my toolbox in order to better process emotions, situations, relationships, etc. that I was unable to address fully years earlier. It has been a painful process but one that produces character, growth, and freedom- taking time to process through the hard stuff and/or come back to things when I feel that I have the tools to.
Ultimately, I have learned that patience is a necessity when attempting to implement changes in my life or process through my responses/reactions to things. One place I've really seen this is when it comes to trying to live out my faith. From a young age I have wanted to mirror the life that Jesus lived and follow his example. However, I have seen that this is much harder than I ever thought it would be. Being a perfect embodiment of truth and love is NOT easy. So, I have had to trust over the past 20+ years that I either already have the tools and just need the experience, or will be given the tools/experiences I need on this journey when I need them.
There are other areas of my life where it has taken about 20 years to process or wrestle through a topic or event before gaining a more solid understanding of myself, other people, different situations, etc. There are a few things that I am STILL processing through, however, I am committed to the process... Even when I feel overwhelmed and have to stop for a while, I make a silent promise to revisit whatever it is when I have the tools or additional life experiences I need to see growth in that area (rather than regression). The learning process is never over. Who knows what I will be processing through over the next 20 years? So, I take it one step at a time and continue to add to my toolbox. The end result is that I am able to develop the critical thinking and problem solving skills needed to better understand what I am supposed to do with my life, what my relationships should look like, and the difference I can make in the world as a healthy and mature version of myself that reflects Jesus' life. I trust at the end of the day that the good work that was started in me will be completed as long as I stay in the game.
Questions to Ponder:
1. Are you actively engaged in processing through emotions, circumstances, beliefs, and/or complex relationships in your life? Why or why not?
2. I mentioned that the act of processing can be painful. It is not uncommon to experience a wide range of emotions that one may not know how to express in a healthy way. In these moments, an individual could choose to wait (for a short or long period of time) until they have the right tools, life experiences, or setting to address the situation or emotions. What is your response to the process when it produces pain? Why?
3. How can you stay committed to the process of coping with the challenges or complexities that life brings your way when you're not quite ready?
This blog series is focused on Coping.
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