Beware of the "Shiny Buttons"

Do you know what the biggest obstacle to personal growth is? It’s the inability of the individual to perceive that the only road blocks in their way were placed there by them.

Sure, there are unforeseen circumstances in nature that can keep you from moving ahead and doing the things you most need/want to do but, for the most part, our obstacles are embodied in the preconceived notions, misinterpretations, and ill-intentioned actions of those we surround ourselves with who may or may not have our best interests at heart.

You have to start taking stock of the people you’re letting in and decide how much of their presence is necessary for a positive effect to be had on your life. If you find that you have to constantly supplement their actions in order to make the relationship work for you, then you’re working too hard to sustain something that, in truth, is hurting you more than helping you.

My late grandmother used to tell me to be careful of the “shiny buttons”.

Let me explain.

Back in the day when I was a very young girl, my mother used to love dressing me in these beautiful full-length dress coats with these ridiculously shiny, gold-plated buttons. The buttons made the color of the coat pop and looked deliciously cute on Sunday mornings.

However, my grandmother would say, ‘you know, you can get buttons that are just as shiny by polishing the ones on her older coats. Why waste time buying new coats that will eventually suffer the same fate as the ones you now choose to eschew in the name of style?’

She would later apply that theory to everyday life where relationships with people and a relationship with God were concerned.  She’d say, ‘Tara (my nickname), don’t get caught up with the shiny buttons’. To her the “shiny buttons” were the temporary friends who would dot my life throughout high school, college, and my adult years. They were the people who could hold me back from both  reaching my greatest potential and fostering my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

However, that old coat, with the pretty brass buttons that simply needed a quick polish, was her symbol for Heavenly Father because no matter how much you choose to neglect that old coat, you’ll hang onto it because you know it’s still the warmest, most well-made coat in your closet. And you would miss it if you ever let it go.

It may seem like a weird analogy, but it’s one that I find comfort and wisdom in whenever I’m struggling to reassess a personal relationship.

Each of us have to answer for our choices so, the way I figure it, we may as well make them good ones.

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