A few years ago, I had an epiphany which left me changed. If heartbreak can make you a better person, then it was never in vain.

So here’s the scene: One night I had been thrown off by a comment made towards me by someone close to me. It wasn’t what was said, but how it was said. Ultimately, I knew deep down inside the person’s intentions behind saying it were purely good because I have full confidence that said person cares about me.

However, moments later I find myself still thinking about it and wondering why I feel “some typa way”. So after attempts to psyche myself out of being upset, talking to myself and praying, I came to understand something significant.

A large portion of how I felt had been caused by triggers. The manner in which the person had spoken had, for a brief moment, reminded me of how someone I once considered close would speak to me. This person had a way of belittling, depreciating and making me feel small, which would often lead to a massive argument or silence.

But that was then: Here I am, today at a far better season in life only to discover that I am upset not at this person before me, but at the memory of what once was. In a way, my reaction was purely habitual. In that moment I understood why I had felt “some typa way” and more importantly what I needed to do in order to be better. I decided it best to communicate clearly that I was previously upset and to explain why. After all, if you can’t be open with loved ones, who can you be open with?

I’m choosing to react differently. By His grace, I’m becoming more intentional about making the right decision at the right time

To cut a long story short, I spoke, and the person listened. I then listened as the person spoke. I was given the space to speak my feelings. They were valid, even if not justified. I was allowed to be vulnerable and to express how I had arrived at the place of being upset. Apologies were said and it was resolved in such a calm manner that I couldn’t help but recall how this scene would have played out in the previous year.

Debra (of then) was in a very different headspace. In many ways, she was manipulative, at times too sensitive, immature and far too easily tossed by her emotions. An offence could often lead to a very intentional silence and eventually blow up into something far bigger than necessary. So what changed? I let go, analysed the good and the bad from that season and grew up. I am growing up. I’m choosing to react differently. By His grace, I’m becoming more intentional about making the right decision at the right time. And that’s the beautiful thing about trusting the process. We always have a choice.

I heard a message the other day on the Elevation Church podcast about making wise decisions and one line, in particular, stood out to me. “Our lives are a series of decisions. Your decisions dictate your directions”. Look back over the past year and you will see living evidence of your decisions. After coming through a difficult season, do your decisions change for the better? Do you apply the lessons learnt?

Whatever happened, you can choose to be bitter or you can choose to be better. Ultimately, both options require a certain level of willpower so you might as well choose the right one. You don’t have to be held back by past mistakes, past offences, past apologies-you-never-got. Let it go. When we become intentional about learning from a season or instance of pain, what was once a stumbling block can now be repositioned to propel you into a far better decision and direction for yourself and those closest to you.

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (James 1:2-4).