Over the past several years I have had quite the run of teachable moments. It is amazing what all we learn, day in and day out. Some things we learn on purpose, others on accident. We learn through reading, through listening, through observing, and a lot of things we learn through eating (or not eating). We also learn though victory, but more so through defeat. However, some of the greatest things I have learned were through pain.
It’s hard to see in our moments of pain that we can learn something from it, but we always do. Sadly we learn the wrong things or blame it on the situation. But when we step back and see what we can do differently, that is when we learn the most.
The month of February is such a funny month. It is supposedly the “love” month, but so many people hate it. Usually those people are just bitter because of past relationships, or because they are single now. I have heard so many girls complain about how they are “always single on Valentine’s day”. I should let you in on a little secret, some guys do it on purpose. It saves them LOTS of money.
But I’m not here to talk about V-Day, sometimes known as D-Day. I want to share one of my teachable moments.
Since around 8th grade I have been in several relationships. Some of those relationships, especially in early years, were not true relationships. In Collinsville relationships changed more than what they served in the cafeteria, which actually didn’t change much now that I think about it. But I, I was a ladies man. Self-proclaimed of course.
It is amazing when you look back on high school and middle school and realize that everything your friends told you was normally wrong. I guess I never set back and thought about the fact that I taking advice from kids my age that had no experience either. The only wisdom we all had was what we thought was cool, or had heard older kids talk about. No one really knew that what was “so cool” was actually detrimental. The things I thought would make girls love me would in the end make them hate me, and also take pieces from the inside of me.
It wasn’t until July 7, 2012 that I realized why I felt empty and hurt.
I was on a “missions trip” that was really just me running away from everything I knew. I am blessed with a second family down in Reynosa, Mexico at Big Heart Orphanage, and they let me come down and do some work for them to get away from everything else. I needed time away from everything I knew. I needed time with my creator. Even though I had planned this time away, I had no idea what God was going to show me through that time.
I picked up a new series by Andy Stanley called “The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating” and listened to it at night. You may be thinking I talked about this in my last blog, but this is a little different. It was somewhere on part 2 or 3 that I found myself laying in my bunk weeping uncontrollably. I literally had to change bunks because I had soaked my pillow and sheets. Andy talked about how in relationships, we don’t realize the soul ties we create when we cross boundaries. I had been in many relationships and had no clue how to set boundaries. He continued to talk about how sex is not just physical, but it ties us at the deepest emotional and spiritual levels.
Andy then talked about something I would never forget. He said that physical things are meant for marriage, and how the two are supposed to become one. He used the analogy of glueing two pieces of wood together. Andy said that the purpose of the glue was that now, the two boards have become one and they are strengthened together. But outside of marriage, when the relationship ends, that those two boards are then pulled apart. If you have ever seen two boards be ripped apart then you know that there are pieces of each board on the other. There are splinters of each other on the other.
That is when I realized why I was in pain, and felt like there were pieces of me that were missing. I finally realized this was me. Splintered.
I began weeping because I wanted so much for God to take away my pain. I wanted so much for God to pour into my life. I needed him like never before. I needed him to teach me how to stop making mistakes. I didn’t want to be splintered any more. On that day I vowed that the old me was dead, and I knew I had a long journey in front of me.
So I wrote on my wrist a date to forever be remembered.
July 7th, 2012
R.I.P. Daniel “the Ladies Man” Carney.
For any one who has ever had a splinter, you know the pain. There is something very interesting about splinters though. If you leave them alone they can heal without coming out. The skin will grow over them. When this happens they don’t catch anything, so they don’t hurt as often. However, that splinter remains under the skin and if you apply a little pressure the pain comes back again. Even though it can be painful, it is best to remove the splinter.
This is what we have to do in life. We can’t just cover up the pain, we have to remove it. I began praying that God would remove the pains, remove the splinters, and help me learn from my mistakes. It was painful to break away from empty relationship after relationship. And it seemed even more painful to be alone. It wasn’t until I started focusing on removing the splinters and seeking The Healer that I started to become whole again. I was sharing the other night with our connect group that it wasn’t until I started taking the focus off finding the right person that I started to grow and heal. I had to become the right person.
I began to focus on what I could do better, what I needed to do, everything I could do to heal. This too was the wrong approach. I needed to focus on Him.
I’m not saying that since then I have been perfect. I’m not even saying that I haven’t made the same mistakes since then. What I am saying is that it changed me. I began to grow from that moment, and the more I began to realize my mistakes and apply this to my life, the more I began to heal.
Faith is a journey, not a destination.
I believe I have seen more personal growth in the past several months than I ever have before. I truly think it stems from this one principle: I took my eyes off of me, and placed them on Him. I started to pursue The Word more. I started to have more conversations with him. I started removing the splinters that have pained me for so long.
It amazes me how applying these things I have heard all my life actually work. What a teachable moment, to learn something through pain what you could have learned years prior by just listening. It’s just a good reminder, we all have teachable moments. Some learn through pain, some through listening, some through reading.
True wisdom comes from learning through someone else’s pains and mistakes. How will you learn? Save the pain, save the splinters.