Do you ever feel like your heart is already longing for the next season of your life?
The mundane thumps on your brain like the ticking of a clock, like the drudgery of a work gang song, “Time is a-wasting; life is a-missing, whizzing by me…” and it knocks at a constant, dull, pace. You think you’re in the place of waiting.
Longing for your grand purpose or life’s calling, you feel jipped, denied, tricked—going to work at the same job every morning, picking up the same toys off the floor every day—the same laundry, cooking, getting everyone dressed, deep wheels of monotony.
Or maybe you’re in another place: you feel like the same problems keep finding you over and over again. You just can’t seem to avoid the same traps in your relationships. You can see a pattern
What if I said these aren’t actually places to wait, but rather that they are burial grounds, dying places; they are fertile places of death…your death…or at least the you that you were before you got into them. Carefully controlled greenhouses of death and life, they are GROWing rooms.
The Many Chances Door
I’ll tell you what my growing room is full of—doors. One is a door that leads to my fears, another is a door that leads to my past memories and then there is a revolving door that leads to nowhere but back into the growing room.
I end up in the revolving door if I make a lunge for something but trip over myself…almost like landing on a board game’s ‘skip your turn’ space. Whenever I make the bad choice to reach for something that doesn’t add value and purpose to my life (or the lives of others) I end up there.
It’s loaded with unfun-house mirrors—each spinning, mirrored door magnifies every mark on my face, every bruise on my hand; but they also magnify my smile and all evidence of healing. It’s a place of truth.
A study found that in most people’s dreams they portray themselves as much better looking than they are in real life. Not surprising then that in an age of social media, people often present the best version of themselves, if not an exaggerated version of who they are.
When someone believes their ‘costume’ or social image is who they really are, it’s almost like a sociopath who believes his own lies. That’s why the revolving door is a blessing; you can’t avoid the mirrors in that cycle and each turn is an opportunity for you to notice a pattern.
If you find yourself doing something often, like criticizing others, exaggerating, gossiping etc., you will be tested over and over in a spin cycle. You may have the opportunity to choose between holding your tongue or being discouraging to someone. How you respond determines the length of your spin cycle.
The Wishing Door
Now the room of fears is amazing! When I go in I meet all the things that could hurt me and often do, but the more time I spend in this place, the less deeply I can be pierced. Nothing helps you get rid of fears faster than immersing yourself in the very thing you dread and surviving it.
Ultimately every fear is built on the foundational fear of death, and everything we equate with death such as feeling empty, lonely or separate. Survival of your worst fear is proof of that fear’s powerlessness against you.
On YouTube I came across a viral video of a man who feared rejection so much it crippled him, but he decided to conquer his fear by seeking out rejection for 100 days. That’s right, he put himself in positions to be rejected to help himself get over the fear.
The room of fear is a messy birthing floor of steel spines where wounds are turned to battle scars. Fear is one of the most dangerous states, but fears themselves can clue you in to where you need victory—they say success leaves clues and fear does too. It is said that behind every fear is a wish. Figure out the wish behind each fear and focus on moving towards that. Focus on what you want instead of what you’re afraid of.
There are many fears in my personal fear room. If I was Joseph (from the Bible) I would have hidden my coat of many colours and never have shared my dreams. I would even try to show my brothers how far beneath them I was, which means I would have never been openly hated by them, never beaten up, never sold into slavery…but before you say greatthat also means I would have never been put in a place of great power, never saved my brothers, my family and my people from famine. I would have ‘tread quietly to a safe grave’.
So I have to ask, is your survival instinct working for you or against you? I realized mine was keeping me from being purely myself. Self preservation works at just a basic level; survival of the body and mind, survival of the ego. Our brain is wired to help us survive, not to make us happy. Sometimes we have to step in and use higher functions.
The Framing Door
Going through the door to my past memories always seemed like a bad idea because there’s this huge gauntlet in there on which runs the most painful memories of my life, but after much time in the waiting room, I realised that nothing in this room, or behind these doors, had to hurt me. In fact, it was all moulding me.
I realised that my very worst day and my best day were both working together for good to make me who I am today. With this new understanding, I had the courage to go back to the darkest door, the door of past memories.
I entered and almost immediately some of the most painful memories passed by to the left and then right of my face. Something was different this time; there was a loud voice identifying every memory as it whizzed by.
I saw my childhood self-sleeping on the hard floor of a church amongst other children who also had nowhere else they could go on Christmas Eve. I saw myself curling up on the hard tile floor and instead of feeling heartbreak for younger me, the voice said “This is where you learned compassion in the midst of your own pain”.
Another memory zoomed by, and another, each more painful than the last, and the voice names them, framing them in a context much broader and more beautiful than my own life. I had never even noticed how much I was loved and supported in these moments until the voice framed them; then suddenly within the memories, I noticed the people that loved me.
I could see them peeping, grinning on the tapestry of memory, no longer were they on the edges, now pushed in the center of the image—they had been made the new focus of my memories. The Voice was my life’s curator and by the time He was done putting every memory in His frames, I was in tears. I had spent so many years choosing my own frames for these memories and torturing myself over them…and now I recognized them for what they were.
I used to think that my growing room was a ditch I had fallen into, a place of waiting and consequences, a hole from which to contemplate my ‘purpose’. In reality, my growing room is a true gift and I get to keep everything that I experience that I allow God to frame, everything that I do even when afraid, everything that I learn about myself, it is all treasure. The race itself has become the medal, the journey is the prize, and character the focus.
Have you ever felt caught in a cycle or in a place desperate for purpose or vision? Subscribe to our Newsletter below then tell us in the comment section at the bottom, whether this post has helped you to recognise your opportunity to grow even in the season of life that seemed so difficult.
Petula Miller Parent Blogger
Petula is a busy mom of three, and the author of “How The Grumpy Pants Were Destroyed“. She is also incredibly concerned with encouraging healthy and happy purpose driven lifestyles.