The sliver of light from the flashlight on my son’s phone pierced the darkness as my feet reached the top of the staircase. He was in his bedroom scrambling to find his notebook before leaving for school that morning.
A deep and tired sigh escaped from me. We were going to be late again. And why would he use his flashlight when he could just flip the switch on the wall and flood the room with light? As I shook my head in disbelief, I realized I don’t always do what I should either. I falter when it comes to doing what makes the most sense or would benefit my emotional and spiritual health.
While waiting for my son to find his the missing notebook, my mind drifted to a conversation with a friend earlier in the week. We sat in a coffee shop talking.about life, relationships, and moving forward after experiencing hurt from others.
The afternoon spent with her was like a balm to my heart. It was much needed after a season of distancing myself from others and trying to walk alone. Her words and vulnerability were a gentle reminder that we all experience disappointment and relational betrayals. No one is exempt from getting hurt in this thing called life. Even Jesus. He too experienced betrayal from those who were closest to him---the very ones he called his friends.
The respite time with my friend reminded me that I am not meant to carry heavy things alone. That my burdens feel much lighter when I share them with trusting friends in safe spaces.
For far too long I had been trying to carry my burdens on my own. I was isolating myself on an island of hurt and resentment. Genuine people were trying to build relationship with me, and even reminded me that God was there for me. I refused it all and sent it back, unappreciated.
It was clear I needed friendship with others. What I did not need was the illusion of safety and perfection from anyone. In fact, I had even mentored and taught others how building walls around our hearts not only keeps others out, it keeps us trapped, as well.
Even still, I found myself with a wall erected high, and was living a life void of any deep friendships. Relationship and connection to others was what I needed, but I had allowed the fear of being hurt again keep safe and trustworthy people at a distance.
When the Lord revealed this to my heart, I felt grieved. Mournful for the people I had pushed away during that season. Filled with sorrow at the loss and joy I had missed out on by choosing to walk life alone.
Not all was lost because I also felt gratitude for the Lord's gentleness with me. God revealed glimpses of where I needed healing. Called me to press past rejection and fear, and to step into the abundance He has for me through the gift of relationships.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV) says that, “Two are better than one, because they have a good
return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone
who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep
warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can
defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
One of the key parts that speaks to me is verse 12, where it says that “a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” When I place Jesus at the center of my life and relationships, I can trust Him with what transpires in the relationships. I can also trust Jesus to stick with me when things don't occur, per my expectations.
I don’t have to fear being wounded. Christ is the one who holds all things together, including me. What a gift!
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
I have learned there is much wisdom in praying. Lately, my prayers have been asking the Lord to reveal who the safe people in my life. Those whom I can trust with the deep things in my heart; to be vulnerable with them. I trust that He will help me discern who these people.
I think this can be especially challenging in ministry and leadership. Time and healing have taught me that just because one person disappointments me, not everyone will. Not because anyone is perfect but because there are genuine people out there that have my best interests at heart.
The bottom line is that I am not meant to live on an island of my own fears. I am meant to trust Jesus and to walk in relationship with the people He brings into my life.
Father, thank you for the gift of relationships and friendship. I ask for your wisdom and discernment to lead and guide me. I choose to forgive those who have hurt me in the past with the same forgiveness that has been given to me from you. Amen.
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