Now, I’m no ‘hurt bae’ at the moment and neither do I ever wish to be but dang…I love relationships that go well. Who doesn’t? Honestly…who likes drama? Who likes betrayal? Who likes any of those things??
Lately, I’ve been realizing a lot of hurtful things about relationships that I have and had in the past. Don’t get me wrong, many of them meant well but you know how the story goes with human nature…it’s unpredictable, it’s evil, and it’s faulty. It’s also hurtful…very hurtful. I think the worst kind of hurt, sometimes, is the hurt that you feel when the other person doesn’t know just how much they hurt you and vice versa. Vice versa when you can obviously tell there is something wrong and they aren’t mature enough to acknowledge.
I know the pain, friend. I. Know. The. Pain.
In this blog post, I want to share some of my learning marks in from all the relationships I have been in. Let’s called these painful, very painful, learning marks that God is using to show mature me, thicken my skin, and show me what a true friend is. He’s also using these learning marks to help me practice loving broken people while loving them wisely to avoid myself from getting hurt unnecessarily.
Learning Mark #1 – Assumptions About Your Character
I don’t like being misunderstood. I don’t say that lightly. I don’t appreciate it when others assume something about me that isn’t true at all. And what I’ve learned from the historical account of the serpent and even in the book of Genesis that a half-truth is a lie just as much as a lie is a lie. However, instead of trying to forcefully heal myself by being dismissive I must acknowledge that when others do this it simply hurts..so bad.
When people do this I must acknowledge that it simply isn’t okay and to forgive them because in Jesus’ words, “they do not know what they are doing…” (Luke 23:34 NIV).
I also have to learn to cut people some slack because we are all growing in this journey as human beings on planet earth. I must also acknowledge that while our friends may do a DARN good job at loving us…love has many facets. There may be areas they are not accustomed to loving in and it is wise to ask Jesus how to love them while allowing yourself to heal by either telling them or keeping your distance.
You might be the one person and the first person to shed some light on this area in their heart. They call them blind spots for a reason, my friend. Thankfully, we serve a God who broke the chain of fear at the cross and now we are no longer slaves to fear! To fear of man, God, the enemy…no one. We are loved.
Learning Mark #2 – Passivity
I am learning now what it feels like to have a passive friend after being the passive friend. Passivity in friendships, or the refusal to speak up on what matters to you both either due to fear or ignorance, isn’t a healthy environment at all. Friends who are often passive cannot be trusted all the way. Not because they suck at being friends but because you rarely know what’s in their heart towards you, others, and life itself.
Trust is a key component that builds friendships because without it, connections are very basic and surface level superficial. It’s not real.
So what’s stopping you from being brave in your friendships? Is it fear of confrontation? There are people I love that don’t do a very good job at listening and what makes speaking up around them hard is that they’ve either acted in such a way that, unbeknownst to them, made my feelings feel invalid or have often misunderstood me in the past especially when I was in a vulnerable situation with them.
To this, I say that there is no one way around this. It’s not easy either. All I can say is to pray, pray, pray. That person likely doesn’t know exactly what you feel and why you feel the things you do. It is also unfair to expect them too. Hello!? Different people, DIFFERENT ERRTHANG!
We can’t expect everyone to get our hearts no matter how close we are. It’s a learning curve for us all. What I can say is be honest with yourself. Don’t just be honest about how you feel but also practice objectivity in your self-assessment. Have you told them what you feel? Haven’t there been times where they didn’t do something that offended you or made you feel neglected? Be fair and be objective. Only the Holy Spirit can accomplish both successfully in and through you. Be prepared to hear what He has to say too.
Proverbs 27:6 (MSG) “The wounds from a lover are worth it; kisses from an enemy do you in.”
Learning Mark #3 – Exclusivity
I felt the Lord leading me to choose this particular gif because I’ve often been depressed and sad and angry about this issue. I’m very passionate about it if I do say so myself.
I feel confident in saying that I know what exclusivity feels like and do not agree with the entirety of the what I see in the friendship culture especially within Christian groups. We all have to come to a place where we are okay with not being liked by everyone and do not submit to the lie that we are validated when people:
…laugh at our jokes
…agree with everything we’ve got to say no matter HOW right we think (or know) we are
…don’t see the closeness of others in the community or new members of our community as threats to our present relationships
…cannot be human around us and make mistakes that hurt us and others
…make us feel needed in the community
…invite us to go places with us
Sure, much of this is tons of feel-good stuff but a culture like this is built off of insecurity and not security in Christ. I also know that I am asking something of us (myself included) that is very challenging when I say to not get so attached to people and get to know others in your community. Put yourself out there! Jesus didn’t deposit all the gold in the world in one person. He created each of us with our own unique sets of gifts and talents that make us ALL equally attractive to Him. When we choose to only talk to certain people and hang out with certain friends because they get our jokes, talk to us back, or because it’s within our comfort zone to then we rob ourselves of spending time with others in the community who need it.
Yes, I get we must all have a close belt of friends but the issue I’m seeing here is that while everyone is having a jolly good time at table A, there is a “loner” at table B who is feeling left out for whatever reason. What’s so startling and eery about this is that most times they fall right through the cracks because of OUR comfort zones and wall we’ve put up towards getting to know other people. Perhaps it is because it requires risk and vulnerability. I say go for it – wisely of course.
I am learning to still pursue people but to give my heart wisely. If it’s something they make an (unintentional or intentional) habit of doing in their life, I do not feel comfortable in giving my heart someone like that. I often wonder, when the going gets tough will they stick it out with me or will they move on to the next ‘feel-good-friendship’ they find?
Either way, these are all my learning marks. I don’t expect you to get everything but I hope you take the time to re-read through what needs to stick in your life and what bad habits need to go so that YOU can be the friend He wants you to be.
I’m learning that my best friend? Is Jesus. And this is what works for me in this season of my life where I am looking to not get so attached to people. Especially having struggled with co-dependency and making unwise decisions in my friendships. Am I saying to not have friends let alone best friends? No boo boo. I’m saying to guard your heart and no that no human is perfect while taking wise precautions in friendships to make sure that you’re okay with yourself at the end of the day.
Give the Lord room to move people in and out of your life as He pleases. We can’t expect ourselves to be close to everyone the same way in everyone season. Sometimes things need to change in order for God to do things in your life that a friendship might be a distraction to. When the Bible says that He is a jealous God I believe this asserts that God knows how much He is worth and He is worth your time and devotion most of all.
So learn to cut people some slack while giving out your heart wisely. Learning that not everyone is on the same page as you when it comes to values and core beliefs. Everyone also thinks differently. People will also always say what’s in their very own heart. Sometimes it’s simply a lot of ignorance about you. Sometimes they’re hurt by something you did and haven’t told you about it. “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” (Luke 6:45 NIV). If you believe there is room for them to grow then pray for them and pray some more. Not forgetting to ask God to help you give yourself its best chance at life and friendships in every season too!
Your friendly blogger,