You’re too big for that, now. That’s something I have to tell my kids frequently these days as they are moving past their childhood phases into more mature years. Most recently, it was my youngest daughter who wanted to play on the crowded playground at Chic-Fil-A, simply because it’s fun. But she’s well past the age and height requirement to be in the room with a bunch of little kids.
You’re too big for that, now. It’s not something we necessarily like to hear, because it means we’re leaving something behind… something we like, something fun, something convenient or comfortable. But it’s something we all must do. Leave a particular phase of life behind and seek a new level of maturity. As adults, I think the time we most succinctly hear that call to leave the past behind and look toward the future is in the internal whisperings of the Holy Spirit; when He prompts us that it’s time to move forward. And for people who have been through a divorce, this call to leave the past behind can be a particularly difficult one to follow through on.
Most people did not want their divorce, and the emotional dilemma they find themselves in is almost too difficult to describe in words. The tragedy of the situation is, they are forced to accept a “new normal” they don’t want. The marriage may have been a disaster and filled with hurt, but after more than 19 years of personal and professional experience dealing with divorce, I find most people would have preferred to find a way to work it out (this excludes both men and women who suffered through abusive marriages). Most people would have jumped at the chance to fix what was broken, had they been either A) alerted to the fact their spouse was so unhappy, or B) been given the tools to do so. So many times, they just didn’t know how to fix it. They didn’t have the tools.
So if you find yourself in this position, you understand how difficult it all is. Now that reality dictates a new normal, you have to go through the phases of grief, and there’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Anger, shock, depression, loneliness; it’s all a part of the experience and the emotions show up as they please, which can make rebuilding your life seem like a joke at times.
But time eventually puts distance between you and your marriage and as it does, offers you the opportunity to let go. God bestows graces upon you to strengthen you. New experiences with new friends start to fill in the gaping holes in your life and soon, the past—as painful as it is—begins to recede and a new life emerges.
By this time, what has happened to you should be changing you in a good way. Your divorce experience should be helping you to make wiser choices, not worse ones. It should be helping you understand how important it is to seek God’s will first, instead of seeking only pleasure in an attempt to deaden the pain. And when it comes to your ex-spouse, your experience should be shaping you into a more compassionate person; someone who is not out for revenge. The time comes when the Holy Spirit whispers, You’re too big for that, now.
For everyone who goes through a divorce, the time eventually comes to leave your anger and resentment behind. To give up the fight to cling to the life you had that now, lies in the past and trust God with your future. To realize how precious a gift it is to be able to say, “I have loved” and be able to pick up and move forward.
Let’s always keep two words at the forefront of our day-to-day existence: time and eternity.
Time, because each moment of the day you spend looking backward, you waste. You will never get those moments back. You need to look forward because God still has many good things He wants to show you, things He wants you to experience that will make you happy.
And eternity, because everything we do here on earth, counts in eternity. Let’s make everything count.
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