The minutes ticked away into hours, and I still did not hear back from my friend. Just the day before, we were in the midst of finalizing our plans. Then my friend's communication stopped altogether. It wasn’t long before my mind started to doubt. An inner monologue of, “I wonder if they don’t want to spend time with me? What did I do wrong? It seems like nobody wants to hang out with me,” played over and over again. My emotions were unraveling, and it was difficult to change the trajectory of it. I had to stop and realize the lack of communication from my friend was a huge trigger for me, as were the feelings of rejection. Still, canceling our plans was less the issue than the radio silence that ensued. Once I figured that out, I could start to move beyond my emotions and knit myself back together.
My own inner drama seems to trip me up more than I care to admit. There is great tension between my desire to be accepted for who I am and wondering if I am even good enough. My ability to take note and address these triggered moments hinges on taking time to sit with God and observe my inner struggles. While the Lord doesn’t stop these times of unraveling, God does help me recognize and name the triggers that plunge me into the darkness. Then, the Lord guides me back to a place of wholeness as I work through it.
My emotions get the best of me sometimes, and unfortunately I chastise myself for it. Yet I am reassured by God that I am who I am. That God created me as such. So apologizing and reprimanding myself for my thoughts and feelings does not positively serve me. God desires for me to really love myself for who I am. And, as God loves me and I love myself, I am better able to seek out those who also love and value the real me, imperfections and all.
Any relationship that does not provide such nurturing is not one that God would ordain for me. So I must constantly assess the interactions with people who orbit in my life. My wise mother stressed this teaching for my sister and I when we were in our teens: “Don’t ever let anyone use you, and don’t use anyone else.” This has stuck with me as I have chosen the people to be a part of my life. It resonates well with what Dr. Barbara Holmes (spiritual teacher and activist) says, “[The] trajectory of human life toward a mutuality of care of self and neighbor [is critical.]”
Healthy relationships have a sort of checks and balances system. Each person comes to the friendship with a set of gifts and values that are unique. How these play out can create a positive interconnection or an imbalance in the relationship. When one individual makes most of the effort, imbalance happens just like the ceasing of communication from my friend that triggered my feelings of rejection.
God really helps guide me in the imbalance. The Lord reminds me that I am enough. I need not compromise my values to try to make a friendship work if the other person is not willing to put forth the same effort. And, while I long for connection and intimacy with others, I have come to realize that other people cannot satisfy that deep longing within me, for that place is reserved for my Creator.
God values me above all others in my life, and has since before I was even a thought in my mother’s mind. Something worth clinging to, that’s for sure! The Psalmist in139 says:
“Lord, you have examined me.
You know me.
You are the one who created my innermost parts;
you knit me together while I was still in my mother’s womb.
I give thanks to you that I was marvelously set apart.
Your works are wonderful—I know that very well.
My bones weren’t hidden from you
when I was being put together in a secret place,
when I was being woven together in the deep parts of the earth.
Your eyes saw my embryo,
and on your scroll every day was written what was being formed for me,
before any one of them had yet happened.
God, your plans are incomprehensible to me!
Their total number is countless!” -Psalm 139: 1,13-17 (CEB)
When I begin to unravel because of my triggers, I intentionally seek to remember my value in God’s eyes. As I do so, God knits my emotions back together, and my trust in the Creator grows.
What are the events, people, situations that trigger your emotions? How do you cope when this happens? Friend, you, too, have been “knit together by God” and have great value. Seek out relationships that are life-giving, not life-draining. You deserve to be loved and cherished by all people! In God’s eyes YOU are enough!
Lord of Life, You know that I struggle when my triggers are pressed upon. Help me to be on the lookout for them. So too, guide me to discern those people in my life who will accept me for who I am and value me. When I begin to unravel in such times, I thank You for knitting me back together just a bit stronger than before. Amen.
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