Today will be a short post, but one that I need to document so I have it to come back to when/if these feelings return.
I recently had some much needed conversations with a few pretty great people in my life. And in opening up about things that I didn’t know I was still keeping in, I realized that I can be a major hypocrite. I’ve learned that my words can be extremely powerful tools when used correctly. I’m really good at making others feel good. I can find the words that they need to hear pretty quickly.
But, I’ve noticed, I am terrible at taking my own advice.
I’ve been telling a loved one recently not to hide her joy from the world, regardless of other’s perceptions.
Helloooooo! Do you not listen to yourself when you speak, Kyle?
So I’ve made a decision…
I’m no longer going to turn my back and run from the fear. I am going to stand my ground and I am going to fight my fear head on. I have a lot of joy to give to this world, and I’m going to give it!
So I am going to be joining the children’s ministry at church once all of this craziness subsides. I can make a difference in these kids’ lives and help guide them to be fellow Jesus followers. And they bring so much happiness to my life, why would I want to run from that?
And I am going to go out of my way to compliment others whenever I can. I know where the intentions in my heart lie, and I know for a fact that having others speak positively of and to you is such an amazing feeling. We need more love in this world. I may be one small grain of sand, but last I checked a mustard seed could move a mountain.
And I am taking back the word beautiful.
We need to use this word more often and remind others of what it really means. It should be taken as a compliment and bring happiness to who it is shared with. When the world can often be an ugly place, it is a blessing to be reminded that you stand out against that and have so much value.
And I’m going to be mending relationships with some of those I have pushed away. I have a lot of love to give this world, and the people who saw the worst side of me deserve to see me at my best.
I have a lot of opportunities coming up for me over the next year. Instead of questioning if I could or should be taking them on, I am going to take them for what they are – blessings. I will use the opportunities to do so much good for as many people as I can.
I was given a second chance for a reason, and I am not going to waste it. I couldn’t have told you 18 months ago that life would have played out the way it has. I believe God is guiding me to do something greater in this world, even if that only begins here locally.
I am giving myself, fully, to God. I am letting go of the fear. Jesus loved unconditionally and faced His fears. If He were living my life, I know He would do as much good for the world while He could.
And that’s enough for me. I will no longer be a hypocrite. I will not hide my joy from this world any longer.
…if anything matters then everything matters. Because you are important, everything you do is important. Every time you forgive, the universe changes; every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes; with every kindness and service, seen or unseen, my purposes are accomplished and nothing will be the same again.
William P. Young – The Shack
I finally get it. I do not know what it is exactly that I am supposed to be doing with this life, but I know that I will be doing it for You. I give myself to You, and will follow Your guidance.
I will make a difference in this world, not for myself but for You, in Your name. When I die, if I have no money to my name but have touched others hearts I will have lived a successful life. If no one remembers my name when I am gone, but even one person has a better relationship with You I will have lived a successful life. If when I am gone I have lived a life for You, and used your blessings and gifts to bring love and joy to others lives, then I will have lived a successful life.
Here I am, Lord, fully surrendered to Your love. I am ready to serve You and to serve others. I am above no one, and will love everyone unconditionally, for that is Your will. It’s time for me to no longer squander the blessings You have bestowed upon me. I will no longer hide behind fear.
I know there will be struggles along the way, so I ask that You please continue to protect me through them.
This evening I pray that you please lift the burdens that my loved ones are carrying. Please gently caress their heads as they sleep tonight and remove some of the heaviness on their hearts. Please wrap them with a warm embrace that I wish I could give them but am unable to. Let them feel Your love and mine through Your presence.
Please speak to those who are in immense pain and uncertainty during these trying times. I beg You to please hold tightly to those who are ready to meet You sooner than they are meant to. There is so much good that they can bring to this world, and although they may find it unbearable right now, I hope You will provide them clarity. Let the love and support that their loved ones have given them seep into their hearts and fill the void that has been created. They need You so much right now, especially when others cannot be there for them. They are such beautiful people that have a voice that needs to be heard. Please let Your words flow through them for many, many blessed years.
Please continue looking after those who are fighting this pandemic. It is not Your doing, but please let people know You are by their side through it all.
Please protect everyone, but especially those who are on the front lines of fighting this. They are putting their own lives on the line, and often potentially giving up their families, to be there for others. Your love is so evident in them.
I’ve got to be honest with you… after I shared my first post in this series last week I immediately had doubts. Fear of judgement overcame me pretty quickly. Why share these parts of my past that no longer reflect who I am?
This is part of my healing process. This is me learning to love myself. I have had so little self worth in the past that I didn’t feel I deserved to be a part of this world.
I thought writing this post would be easier than it actually is, wrongly assuming that many of these things I had already forgiven others and myself for. But the more I write and think about it, the more I realize that this is still a major part of my life that needs to get resolved. Because if it’s not, it’s going to eat away at all the progress I have made.
This week’s topic is about anger. Now, as you’re reading this you will find that a lot of my anger starts with moments of pain. Instead of communicating in the past when things bothered me I would keep everything bottled up and not address them. Do you know what happens when you don’t let things out? They multiply and get ugly very quickly. And eventually everything explodes, sometimes when you least expect it.
And it causes a whole lot of destruction in the process.
And that’s where a lot of my current anger still rests. In the fact that I was a tornado that ripped through a lot of people’s lives with no regard to the damage I was causing along the way.
For most of my life I have tried to be a good person and do the right things. I would avoid situations, places and people that could lead to bad decisions. I tried to be very cognizant about the friends I chose, especially in high school and college. But I have always had a serious sense of paranoia that despite all the good I was doing I could be accused of doing something that I didn’t do.
Do you know how difficult it is to live a life trying to ensure that everything is so perfect that you could never be blamed for something? It’s exhausting. Constantly trying to think 5 steps ahead of everyone else, playing what-if scenarios in your mind over and over again.
And do you know what is absolutely gut-wrenching? Doing everything right and still having your worst fears come true.
Now, I’m not a perfect person. In fact, I’ve done a lot of wrong in my life. I’ve cursed. I’ve stolen. I’ve lied. I’ve lusted. I’ve hurt a lot of people emotionally.
But there’s also a lot I’ve never done. I’ve never physically harmed someone. I’ve never cheated on anyone. I don’t even spank my children (we will get to that below). I try to make sure that the good I do outweighs the bad that sometimes comes from me.
But sometimes, it’s really hard to do good things when you live in a constant state of fear because of, often, the insecurities of others. And the feelings start as sadness and grow into anger.
So let’s get into this, shall we? Let’s talk about how words, and more specifically false accusations, can destroy a person.
I absolutely love being around children. And, for whatever reason, kids seem to love me. I can come down to their level and speak to them in a way that they can relate to. I can be silly and playful and act their age, not my own. Tea parties, dress up, sword fights, hide and seek, writing make believe stories, drawing pictures, painting your nails. These are some of the best things to do in life, period. It’s one of the reasons I was really good at my job when I did photography. Moms would call me the “Baby Whisperer” because of the way I could calm kids and make them happy. A child’s laugh and smile are truly just two of the greatest gifts to the world.
And I never had to think about the way I interacted with kids for the longest time until someone one day mentioned that I made them uncomfortable by the way I apparently looked at their children. And it absolutely destroyed my heart and ruined a part of my life. So now, anytime I am around people, because of one person, I am always fully aware of my behavior around everyone, not just children. I am always trying to make sure that I can never be in a position where someone can say something that is not true to who I am as a person.
Do you know how exhausting that is? I would love to be in a career where I could help children all day. In fact, if I could do things all over again I would 100% be a pediatric doctor. I often, still, think about going back to school for that, even at 32 and with 3 degrees already.
I’ve had people tell me how great I am with kids and how much they see that kids love being around me. And it’s always a great thing to hear. But it’s also very sad that I have to live in fear that someone, someday could manipulate a situation just to destroy my life. And it makes me extremely angry. Why? Because in this world we live in, the accusations don’t even have to be true to ruin someone’s life.
I just want to do good, but I can’t because of other people. My wife asked me how long it would be before I volunteered to help with the children’s ministry at church. Would I love to do that? Absolutely. But I live in fear of others words. I’m starting to let my guard down a lot more around family. It just makes my heart so full whenever the girls get so excited to see me, even if I just facetime them.
I also try to be very cautious about the way I discipline my children. I do not spank my children, but I also do not judge anyone who chooses to discipline in that way. To be fair, my kids probably deserve a good spanking every once in awhile for their behavior, just not from me. Again, because people wanted to throw words around without thinking of the consequences that would come from them, I will never discipline my children in that way. So instead, my next best option for discipline comes from empty threats of grounding and yelling. And, at times in the past, a lot of yelling.
My threats are empty because I don’t want to be perceived as a mean parent. Granted, yelling at my kids isn’t a whole lot better, but it’s just been the one thing that I haven’t been able to control when I get angry. When I say I yell at my kids, I don’t mean that I scream at them. More times than not, it’s just enough to get their attention, or be heard over their own yelling. You know, the “dad voice”.
But I have been angry that, again, I was falsely accused of doing something I have never done and would never do.
So let’s continue this trend of false accusations and the anger that comes along with them…
My trust for others, and my lack of friendship, stems from a fairly devastating accusation that ended an extremely close friendship.
I’ve been very honest with the fact that when I love, I love deeply. And I will give so much of myself, even with a friendship, for people I truly care about. I am that person that will show up at 3:00 in the morning. Or the one that will leave work in the middle of the day to come and give you a shoulder to cry on. I will be the person that will drive around town for hours in search of a hard to find item. I am the person that will give the shirt off my back, even though I am so uncomfortable with my own body.
I will ask for forgiveness for my lack of humbleness later, but when given the opportunity I can be a pretty incredible friend.
And I have a way of making people feel good. Like, really good. As in, if you’re having a really crappy day, I can more than likely tell you the things you need to hear to be in a much better place. I am an extremely kind person, especially out in public. Sometimes to the point where it annoys my wife (I will wait, for long periods of time, instead of interrupting someone out in public). I always tip on everything, because I always assume that if service wasn’t great then this person clearly must be fighting a battle I know nothing about.
But sometimes my kindness can be taken the wrong way. Sometimes people believe I have ulterior motives.
Let’s get one thing out of the way first. Fact, I do know how to flirt. But I can assure you, more times than not if you think I am flirting, I’m probably just being nice. Or just being playful. Even my wife sometimes thinks I flirt out in public.
But honestly, I genuinely just try to be a good person and make other people feel good. Do you know how sad it makes me that because of the world we are in I can’t tell people when they look nice? Or that I like their clothes? Or can’t mention it when they get a new perfume or cologne that smells good? Do you know how angry it makes me that I can’t compliment others? Do you know how frustrating it is that I can’t use the word “beautiful” to others other than my wife and kids? It’s stupid, because it is a word that should instantly bring a smile to someone’s face, but because people think there has to be some other connotation to the word I can’t tell them.
Anyways, apparently my kindness and willingness to be there for close friends was taken by others as more than just being a really good friend. People so wrongly assume that the opposite sex just can’t be friends with one another without there being something more.
And that particular situation just absolutely destroyed me. Sadness, depression and ultimately anger. Because all I ever wanted was to just have a really good friend. Someone that I could be there for and they could be there for me. But people had to ruin it by not seeing things for what they truly were.
And then more accusations of me being in situations that I’ve never even been in. Those ones ares the hardest to swallow because you hear one story and then it just keeps changing to outlandish claims that you eventually just get overwhelmed by. But the anger comes when people you thought you could trust start to believe them. And then completely pull out of your life as if something actually happened. And, again, the accusations are worse when they come from people that you thought you could trust.
That’s enough of the false accusations I’ve had to deal with. Let’s discuss other things that are still consuming me with anger…
How about thinking someone who was supposed to be a mentor to you for 6 years ends up not being who you thought they were and were actually using you all that time? Yeah, that would be from a previous work superior. Thankfully I had an amazing person come into my life and in less than 6 months fixed a lot of the damage that I didn’t even realize at first was caused. She eventually moved on, but I am blessed to still keep in touch with her to this day (and who may be reading this now).
Or how about your accomplishments being belittled to the point where your own siblings and uncle tell you that what you’ve done doesn’t even matter? This lead me to a point where I actually had a breaking point where I almost physically hurt one of my brothers. And if it weren’t for my dad being where he was in that instant and intervening, things could have gotten really bad. Not that other people’s opinions should matter, but when you have sacrificed so much to be where you are and other people treat it like it’s nothing, it really hurts.
Or losing all relationship with your siblings. That one hurts a lot and eventually lead to anger because I felt like I wasn’t good enough to be a part of their group. I remember early in my twenties the relationship I had with all of my siblings was great. We would hang out together all the time. They would spend the night and we would stay up until early into the morning playing games together. Or we would go to the movies. Or just play catch at my parent’s house. But now do you know when I hear from any of them? Aside from one who lives on the other side of the country, only when they need something. And I’ve been told it’s because they think I believe I am better than them, but all I truly want is to help them be better people. I have offered so many times to help them, and do you know how many times they’ve taken me up on it? Once. One time, ever, and they didn’t even actually do anything with it. I can be hard on them, but it’s only because I see the potential that they don’t see within themselves.
Another thing that really angers me? Is being punished for doing well in life. That we are held to a different standard than everyone else in the family because we are responsible. The fact that things will be taken from us to give to someone else who truly is not deserving. And I’m angry about the fact that my wife has to have such terrible memories about our wedding because she is the “other daughter”. I’m angry that she had to be continually slapped in the face last year at her own sister’s wedding and constantly reminded for months that her wedding wasn’t as important. I’m angry at all the work that I had to pay for last year from family that did the same thing for free to everyone else. It bothers me that something that was given to everyone else isn’t being offered to us just because I have a good job. It hurts to be treated worse for doing better. I’m angry at the fact that almost all of our family lives less than 10 minutes from our house but very rarely ever makes an effort to see us, but will drive over 2.5 hours multiple times a month to see other people. I’m angry at the fact that my wife was basically broken from being in a toxic work environment for so many years that she chose to walk away from flexibility with her children to be in a place where she was respected.
I get angry at the way that my oldest daughter constantly lies to us, even about the dumbest things. I have anger about the way my youngest children treat each other, knowing that if they just chose to love one another unconditionally that they would be so much happier.
I am angry for the fact that I almost lost my wife last year because I was stupid and thought I wanted things I definitely did not want. And that I hurt her by saying some pretty damaging things. And the fact that she lost a lot of trust in me because of it, sometimes still having unseen consequences.
I get angry at the fact that I let myself get so unhealthy that I was unable to even do anything active with my own children. And I still struggle with my body to this day. Do you know how frustrating it is to be so uncomfortable with yourself that you will avoid swimming, even around family, because I still see myself as 60 pounds heavier than I am.
And I get angry at the fact that I willingly chose to turn my back to God and think that I was in control of my own life.
As you can tell, I’ve got a lot of anger I still need to free myself from. I’m hoping that giving myself to Jesus entirely will remove this from my heart.
I realize I still struggle greatly with feelings of sadness and anger. I pray that You will guide me in seeking the forgiveness that I truly need to free myself from this pain.
Please help me in forgiving those who have stolen parts of me that I struggle with finding again.
All I want to do is bring joy to this world. I want to bring happiness to others. I want those around me to be filled with smiles and laughter.
I want to be the best husband, the best father, the best son, the best brother, the best friend, the best caretaker, etc. that I can be.
I know You have already forgiven me for all the wrong I have done. I hope You can help me with the pain and anger that I am trying work through.
I ask that You please continue to be patient with me.
Please forgive me for turning my back on You so many times, allowing myself to be consumed with all of this pain.
So before I even begin, let me start by getting the obvious out of the way.
I am a huge hypocrite.
I can hold grudges until the end of days.I will remember the time you screwed up. I will throw it back in your face years and years down the road.
But it’s time to let it all go.
I am on a path in life now where I can’t let the past linger any longer. I have been hurt in the past. Deceived, used, mistreated, lied to, put down, the list goes on and on.
And I am a good person, but I will be honest, I have hoped for some bad things to happen to people. Not like psycho bad, just karma bad.
I can be resentful. I can be petty. I can be downright mean. My, usually carefully selected, words can cut through like a dull knife, slow and painful.
But I have these three beautiful children who look up to me as a role model. They watch my every move, they mimic me. They idolize me. And yet I don’t teach them. I instruct them, but I don’t show them. I don’t lead them.
Just to get a couple of things out of the way. I have never done anything truly “bad” in life. Never been in trouble with the law, never done drugs, never physically harmed anything (other than spiders!), never even had a drop of alcohol in my life. In fact, I don’t even cuss. Ever.
But I can be a hypocrite. I can be a liar. I can be mean. And I’m trying to teach these kids not to be these things. How can I expect my children to actually learn these things when all I’m doing is saying words. I am not mean to my children, I am not mean to my wife (although, again, I will be honest and say I have been in the past, whether intentionally or not).
I am probably one of the most respectable and polite people in public, especially around strangers. I am a strong believer that you just don’t know what someone else is going through and to never judge. I even leave full tips for terrible servers. Maybe they are just having a bad day.
But to people I know personally, where I know a little about their lives, their mistakes, their effects on those around them, I am highly critical.
And it makes me a bad person. And my kids can see this. And I have to stop.
So I am going to work on forgiveness.
I need to forgive myself for the things I’ve done. I need to forgive others for the way they have hurt me.
I have mentioned before that I am an introvert. I have, literally, no friends outside of family (which even that is very limited). Anytime I have let people in in the past they have hurt me or my family one way or another. So today I am forgiving you.
The words of my parents echoed softly in the past, but today they are ringing loud in my ears. Mom – “Choose your battles.” Dad – “It’s not worth it.”
So the battles have not been won or lost. They have been forfeited. They are gone.
“Most of us need time to work through pain and loss. We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness. One of these reasons is waiting for the wrongdoers to repent before we forgive them. Yet such a delay causes us to forfeit the peace and happiness that could be ours.” – James E. Faust
I forgive you.
I forgive you.
Those who have hurt me and my family will likely never, ever read this post.
But I still forgive you.
I am letting go of the disdain, the hatred, the pain, the suffering. The cruelness from my heart is going away. I am a good person. I need to show my children.
And I ask for forgiveness to those who I have hurt with my words and actions.
I apologize for the pain, for the tears, for the hatred, for the cruelness, for the intentional and unintentional consequences that have stemmed from me.
I am truly sorry.
I am more than that man. I am a loving father and husband. I try to give when I can. I try to help when I can. I make regular trips to donate items to the homeless shelter. I work on an employee committee at work that gives back to the employees and the community.
I amwas a hypocrite. I will be a leader to my children. I will teach them with my actions, not only my words.
I will be a positive role model. I will be a better father. I will be a better husband. I will be a better son. I will be a better brother. I will be a better uncle. I will be a better friend (if I ever have one of those again someday). I will be a better person.
My boss said something to me a few weeks ago that has really resonated with me. She told me that even though I’m not a highly religious person I have an incredibly strong moral compass.
And I agree with her. But in the past I have always seen the world as either white or black. Shades of grey didn’t exist. But they do. The lines aren’t so distinct. They are subtle. They are discretionary. And what I may see as “right” or “wrong” may not be , and is probably not always, right.
There is good and bad in this world, but not everyone falls into being a “good” or a “bad” person. Mistakes happen. Life happens.
“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” – Maya Angelou
Today is a new day. And a beautiful one at that. Today I cleanse my heart. I will wash away the pain. It’s a fresh start.
I will make it count. I will do something good with it.
“It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you.” – Tyler Perry