Friday, July 26, 2013

"On Fire": What Has THE PAST Taught You? In the Present. For the Future.

"Yes, in the past you lived the way the world lives, following the ruler of the evil powers that are above the earth. That same spirit is now working in those who refuse to obey God. In the past all of us lived like them, trying to please our sinful selves and doing all the things our bodies and minds wanted. We should have suffered God’s anger because we were sinful by nature. We were the same as all other people. But God’s mercy is great, and he loved us very much."---Ephesians 2:2-4(NCV)

It is a woman by the name of Katherine Anne Porter who once said "The past is never where you think you left it."  Now bookmark that as I do a bit of my own "baggage unpacking".

OK. So.

As some of you know (and others have made a point to point out-LOL), I'm not in social media. It's not necessarily that I'm against it but I will say this: being without it saves me a lot more time throughout the day. Plus, it has a few other perks that perhaps I'll pen on at another time.

Anyway, being without a FB, Linked In or Twitter account thankfully keeps me from doing a lot of "running into my past", especially when it comes to the men within it. It's not that I fear my past, it's just that it's not necessary to my present to chase it down (or be chased down) if you know what I mean. That's why I found it to be, let's just call it "oddly fascinating", that a couple of nights ago I felt the urge to go on Google and look up what a lot of my past sexual partners (cause honestly, on this side of wisdom, I'm not sure if they deserve a higher title than that) are up to.

It really was something to behold...

One heads up a dental office on the East Coast.

One heads up a law firm for entertainers and athletes.

One heads up a division of Johnson & Johnson.

One is the head coach at a prestigious school in New York.

One heads up a graphic design company.

One heads up a banking division in Florida.

One heads up a department at his church.

Shoot, that's 7 (out of 14). That's enough to illustrate the point that I'm seeking to make.

So as I was looking at their professional profiles, a few things came to mind:

1) I can tell that I'm really over them because there was nothing in me that wanted to reach out.

2) I was genuinely happy for and on some levels even proud of them and their accomplishments.

3) I saw the pattern of who I was attracted to: leaders.

It was insightful because after I spoke to one of my spiritual brothers about it yesterday, he said "And you have a prophecy gift in which you speak into the lives of leaders now. Interesting." Hmph. Indeed. That brings a whole new meaning to "What the devil meant for evil, God meant for good." (LOL) Yet there was something else about the revelation that caused me to pause a bit.

The guy who's a lawyer now also happens to be my "third baby's daddy" (because as most of you know, I have abortion in my past as well). I remember the first time that I saw his well over 6'5" Godiva chocolate frame. It was at a party in college and I found him to be fine. And some more fine. And then still some more fine.

After falling into the pattern with him that I did with so many others both before and after him---being friends, not defining the future of the relationship and then having sex for months, if not years following---I remember a conversation that we had after my (well shoot, our) abortion: "Shellie, you never gave me the chance to see you as a [potential] girlfriend. You pretty much gave me the impression that you didn't want more than what we had." And what we had was a sexual relationship that continued for so long that I finally had to make a clean break because if I hadn't, we might have still been caught up in that hamster wheel to this day!

Anyway, I didn't totally agree with him at the time that he said all of that, but as Soren Kierkegaard once said, "The past can only be understood backwards." I get it now.

There was something within my self-esteem that felt like "he" would never want more from or with me than friendship (and sex) and so I put up a wall that he never could really climb. I called it "sparing my feelings" when really it was nothing but "selling myself short".

And the thing is, when I looked at all of the things that the men in my past are currently doing, I realized that I didn't go for bottom-of-the-barrel kinds of dudes. Even in my lowest state, I desired the kinds of men who were going to make a real mark in the world.

Yes, I gravitate towards strong leaders...

My issue was that I was more focused on them than I was on myself.

So why am I sharing all of this? Well because oftentimes we're so either scared to look back on our past or are in complete denial about it that we don't honor that time in our lives as a lesson, tool and/or method to help the present make more sense.

For instance, I was raised in an entertainment environment and so I wouldn't be surprised in the least if I ended up marrying one. A lot of the things that drive women up the wall about them (such as their hours in the studio or time on the road), I don't mind. At all. I appreciate it, actually (also another blog for another time). My past has revealed that to me. And, in seeing that basically all of the men in my past are "head uppers" now, that shows me also that I will probably end up with a really strong leader too. It's simply a part of my makeup.

Hmph. That's funny within itself because one of the guys on the list once told me "You need your husband to be taller than you. Your personality is way too strong and your calling is way too big without you having someone who you can literally look up to." I get it. *I get it*.

So do I want to email one of those guys and try and rekindle something with them? No. I'm the gal who actually wants to be with my husband *for the first time* on my wedding night. But did that brief walk down memory lane provide some clarity? Yes. It did.

I better see why I liked the men that I did.

I better see how to handle relationships with men moving forward.

I better see what God is preparing me for.

On this side of self-love, divine wisdom and relational clarity...

It's a man who will serve God, change the world and lead me. In that order. Extraordinarily so.

So what's the moral to the story? Don't be so afraid to look at your past because it can really help you to better understand your present and prepare you for your future.

Sometimes people repeat things because they don't deal with their past.

Sometimes people remain in the same place, even emotionally or spiritually, because they don't deal with their past.

Sometimes people can't heal, fully, because they don't deal with the past...when the reality is that the past is a part of what makes us who we are.

As William Shakespeare once said "The past is prologue." It's not *all* of our story, but it certainly is a significant and relevant part of it.

Don't run from it. *Deal with it*. Trust me, it can make the present a lot...more of a gift if you do.

Hey, Paul did tell us that "all things work together" (Romans 8:28), right? Indeed they do.



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