Have you ever taken the time to think about all of the necessary endings in your life that have encouraged you to grow? Growth can be scary, but the alternative is scarier. Imagine never transitioning beyond kindergarten, driving your first car indefinitely, or marrying your first boyfriend. Haha! That last one was a joke. Kind of. I know quite a few people who have successful marriages with their first boo thang, and I admire it. I can only speak for myself when I thank God He had other plans for my life and I was able to recognize it! Anyway, you get the point. Transition is a part of life, and there are some endings that are necessary.
This week, I’ve been reading an incredible book by Dr. Henry Cloud, titled Necessary Endings, and I cannot believe how insightful it is. It’s really made me think differently about my patterns of behavior, the conversations I facilitate on the teams I’m a part of, and my own growth. It’s brought a lot of reflection to mind and it encouraged the subject of this post.
Are there any endings that you need to lead within your life? Are your relationships everything you’ve ever wanted them to be? I’d love to write about how you should get out of that relationship while you can or end that friendship that’s sucking you dry once and for all, but this post is not about them-the other person. I can’t write about that because unless you deal with your emotions, your thoughts, and your routines, you’re going to face the same issues that cause you to worry about others again and again and again.
Growing up, I was very rebellious. My mother and I got into a ton of arguments, and even though I wanted to act more respectfully and get along with her, I never took the time to think about what I needed to change in order to enjoy our relationship. So it remained the same. Year after year, I snapped at her when she asked questions that I didn’t want to answer, rolled my eyes when the answers she provided weren’t what I wanted to hear, and acted out in a host of other ways. In spite of it all, I admired the unconditional love she showed me, but I didn’t know how to return it.
It wasn’t until the two of us were on a trip to Detroit when I was 24 that I realized I needed to get it together. Although I was to blame for most of our arguments, she’d developed a response out of defensiveness, as well, and that day, we had one of the worst arguments ever. Why was it so bad? It was bad because I was now an adult and I sounded ridiculous. It was bad because we were on a mission to collect information for my first book that would lead us to help other girls and women, but we couldn’t seem to get it together ourselves. It was bad because I began to see the teens I mentor within myself. I was surprised that my behavior hadn’t magically improved when I became an adult as I expected it to. It became clear that it was time to end the rebellion, the disrespect, and the negative body language that I’d used to communicate with her. Within five minutes of that argument, I pulled the rental car over to the side of the road on a highway in Detroit and began to pray with my mother about how to interact with her in a way that would please God and lead me to develop integrity and character so I could continue to lead the teens I’d accepted responsibility over.
What is it that you need to end? Is it your regular response to stress that sends you flying off at others or running to the freezer for ice cream? Is it the way that you talk about others who have confronted your belief in yourself through their progress? Is it the little things that compromise your integrity about what you say you stand for? Prayer and meditation on God’s word helped me when I was attempting to change because it wasn’t easy. When I got caught up in my old ways, I remembered that God’s word says that He makes all things new (Isaiah 43: 18-19) and I chose to believe it applied to me too. I love the way my Pastor tells us to never stop starting over. What about you? What helps you to change? Is it prayer, podcasting, or quiet reflective time? Is it grieving the loss of what was and clearing your space so you can move on or journaling daily to remain grateful in the good and the bad?
I’m happy to report that by now, my mom and I have taken quite a few trips which have only gotten sweeter with each new season. It’s the reason that we are dedicated to giving girls and women the tools they need to be successful in their relationships with one another, and it’s my motivation. I’d love to hear what you’ve decided to end. Comment below so we can keep this dialogue flowing.