The right to remain silent.

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Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’m happy to report that I’m back! Life has been rather busy lately and I’ve been doing a lot of travel for work (which is a story for another blog), which has made writing a little difficult, but I’ve settled into a grove now and I’ve pulled the laptop back out to do some writing. I’ve spent a lot of time up in the air lately and while I would have used that time in the past to write, the words just didn’t come. So I decided to use it for something else – reflection. One of the perks – or frustrations, depending on what gets you going – of travelling is that when you are in mid air, you are forced to stop; there is nowhere to go when you are flying 40,000 feet in the air above the clouds other than to the bathroom and back to your seat, so I’ve done a lot of thinking while I have been in the air. Many a pondering has occurred and many a sigh has been released as I’ve recounted events that have occurred over the last few months. I’ve remembered events that I wished I could forget and imagined scenarios that I wished would happen. I made plans in my head and prayed bold prayers. I have read books – and reread books – and listened to music. And I have spent countless hours self-reflecting and have reached a few conclusions. Mainly, that I have changed a lot over the last however many months, and I think it’s been a bit of a surprise for some. Myself included.

Over the last twelve months a few of my relationships have shifted. I’ve lost some friends and I’ve made some friends. Some relationships have gotten stronger, while others have fizzled out. I’ve walked away from some relationships and people have walked away from me, which has been sad and if I’m honest, left me a little heartbroken and hurt for a while. Losing people you care about due to a disagreement or betrayal is tough to deal with and it wasn’t something I expected. One of the relationships that ended caught me off guard and I felt angry and hurt and rejected for days. There was a part of me that deep down, really deep down, thought that the relationship would be restored but it wasn’t. Instead, it was completely shut down and a clear line was drawn in the sand. I remember feeling so angry about it because I felt like I hadn’t been given a chance to give my version of events and I wanted to defend myself; to shout from the rooftops that I didn’t do anything wrong, but I didn’t (in every relationship breakdown, there is always more than two sides to the story because everyone involved will always look at it with a different perspective, so I’m certain that if the other party involved was writing this, the story would be a little different because they would be coming from their own perspective, but anyway). For days I would pick up my phone to type a message, only to put the phone down and walk away, praying with everything in me that God would give me the ability to forgive. It was a while before the anger and hurt subsided, but it eventually did and I was able to sit down one night and say a prayer of forgiveness and blessing over everyone involved. I was able to see it for what it was: God closing a door on a particular season in my life and ushering me into a new season.

When I look back on that situation, I realise that I did, actually, have opportunities to defend myself and give my version of events, but I didn’t take them because I knew if I did, they could potentially make the situation 100 times worse than what it already was. I remember having this sense of ‘keep quiet’ stirring inside, this feeling that God was telling to shut my mouth when all I wanted to do was speak. I chose silence and kindness over being right and while it backfired on me, I’m still glad I took the road that I took. I constantly use the phrase, ‘pick your battles’ and this was one situation where I had, begrudgingly, picked the option of silence. Some may not agree with that, but I am glad I did because I would much rather be a peacekeeper than someone who fans the flames of an already unpredictable fire. Too many times we run into a battle to defend our name and prove we are right, only to cause more pain and damage. I am in no way saying that we never defend ourselves and let people say and do what they want, far from it. What I am saying is that it’s more important to step back and assess the situation before we react and go charging in like a bull in a fine china shop. I’ve learnt over the years that being right all the time is overrated and it is more important to be kind. Again, not everyone will agree with that, but it’s the road I’m choosing to take.

Despite taking the peacekeeping path, I’m still human and was still hurting, and both those versions of myself are not pretty. When I am angry, I can be mean, and I don’t like being mean. When I am hurting, I become insecure and start questioning my worth. I have to fight a battle in my mind to redirect my thoughts and not get caught up in the emotion of the situation, which is difficult to do but necessary. But it was in that hurt that I was able to see God’s hand move. During that time, I was spending more time than usual with family and friends, which was good for my soul. New people were coming into my life that I connected with and new friendships were made. A job I had been praying for came to be and I got swept away with the excitement of the opportunities to travel and meet new people this job would bring, as well as the ability to combine my work skills and my ministry together (a long term dream for me). And more than anything else, I was reminded that God knew my heart and that He loved me. What I lacked, God supplied in abundance because I chose His path of peace instead of my path of rage.

At the end of the day, people are going to come and go in our lives. As clichéd as this may sound, some people are in our lives for a reason and some for a season. For some, the season may be endless and they will do life with you until the day you take your last breath. For others, their season may end long before that. In any case, I’m learning to not be angry when people walk away because all it means is their time in the story is up. They may reappear in another chapter, or they may not, but let them go with a blessing and a smile because that’s just the way life is. There is no point holding onto grudges and hurt and anger because it won’t get you anywhere. Holding onto it only brings more pain, anger and resentment. Don’t chose anger or resentment or unforgiveness, instead, remember the good times you shared, forgive and move on. Turn your attention to the people that are still present in your life and focus on making new memories with them. Choose life and happiness.

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