I am not who I was 10 years ago and I am not who I will be 10 years from now. Neither are you. I am not the man my wife married almost 22 years ago and I am not the man she will grow old with. This is one of the fundamental lessons for everyone in a relationship of any kind to learn – people change. Now, to be sure, there are some basic personality traits that we are born with that serve as building blocks, (I have a stubborn nature, I don’t talk much but think a lot, I’m a bit moody and creative), but who I am and who you are is far more than whatever traits we may have been born with. Our experiences shape and color our beliefs and behaviors. As we meet new people and take on new challenges, we gain knowledge and understanding. We change, or to be more precise, we are being changed over time.
I learned long ago that I cannot make someone stay the same and it is futile to try. I’ve had friends that I wanted to be a certain way and act accordingly only to end up pushing them away. I tried to make them be what I needed or wanted by placing expectations on them they were never meant to fulfill. I made a ‘friend box’ or ‘brother box’ or ‘wife box’ and stuffed them into it expecting them to perform accordingly. People were not made for boxes. They do not allow us to become who we were created to be. They confine and restrict and stunt the growth that the Good Lord intends for each of us. People held in boxes become distant, depressed, angry, and resentful. Eventually these negative emotions will burst the box wide open, splattering those around with all the pain and frustration held in for so long. There is no freedom in a box, only walls of duty and expectation.
We must allow people the freedom to be who they are with the understanding that they will change over time and then, we must be willing to accept that change – and even embrace it. Who are we to stand in the way of what the Good Lord is doing in someone else’s life. We must let God do the moving and shaking, softening and healing, molding and making. He is the master craftsman and each of us are his handiwork. God knows what He’s doing in and through each of our lives. Iron may sharpen iron, but his hand should be on the hilt.