In choosing to be vulnerable, choose also to be aware; when hurts come choose to swallow them up in the love of God’s Word.
Last time we talked about being vulnerable and letting others in. Today, we are facing the reality that, when we do that, there is pretty much 100% chance that we’ll get hurt at some point or another. Walking into a relationship, having a relationship, realizing that that is part of the relationship is a huge part of being aware. Know that hurts are going to come. It’s part of life, part of being a person on this planet who interacts with other people.
The trick is knowing what to do when that happens.
Because the reality is the natural tendency is alienate ourselves, in some form or another, to separate ourselves from what’s causing us pain, or who is causing us pain, in this instance. It takes a lot of courage to keep engaging and keep trying and keep interacting when our hearts our bleeding inside. Sometimes, it takes more commitment and courage than we ourselves can muster.
I remember a time when a friend of mine and I were going through a rough season in our relationship. Things had deteriorated quite a bit and on top of that were long distance and so we didn’t have a whole lot to do with each other. I really wanted things to get better, but I was so easily discouraged and disheartened when ever we had any face to face or even over the phone interaction. For a long while, I didn’t know if we were going to make it through.
One day the thought occurred to me. Well, I can’t handle engaging with her over the phone or in person very well, but I can write. That’s at least something. That’s something I can do and a way that I can reach out. So I began writing her emails. I wasn’t super consistent. Sometimes it was just one a month, though when I did write it was usually lengthy. I wasn’t perfect, by any means, but I was trying. To be honest, I could have tried harder, been more consistent. Maybe that would have helped some, because she didn’t reply hardly at all. Occasionally she would send a very brief email, that didn’t touch on a whole lot.
Granted, she was busy, very busy, all the time. I also knew that writing wasn’t her nitch like it is mine, or at the very least, she wasn’t as candid and open as I tend to be (sometimes to a fault). Which honestly, I can understand. We all have our ways of reaching out that is unique to each of us. But it did get really discouraging to have so little reciprocation.
Well, one day, we met at a birthday party and we talked some there, but I felt like she was as cold as ice to me. She talked and asked me questions and things, but I honestly felt like she didn’t want anything to do with me. I’d recently sent her an email, answering all the questions she was asking, so I was feeling really discouraged. I was sending her these emails and with the questions she was asking I began to wonder if she was even reading them. And I was super confused, because on the one hand she was asking engaging questions, and on the other hand I just felt like she hated me. I just wanted to pack up and go home.
After the party the whole, what felt like a disaster of a relationship, was heavy on my mind. Things had been on the rocks for so long, and I had tried to make things better, but it seemed everything I did didn’t help at all or just made things worse. Here I was sending her these emails and from all appearances she wasn’t even reading them. It was one thing if she didn’t have the time or energy to respond, but if she wasn’t even reading them???…What was I writing them for?! It was just a flippin’ waste of time. I was willing to invest if was actually producing something worth anything, but if it wasn’t doing a damn thing…I was done. It honestly hurt so bad.
I sat down with a pen and paper and began writing out a letter basically explaining that I didn’t have the heart to keep investing in something with no reciprocation. It hurt to much. And that if and when she wanted a relationship to let me know and I would be willing to work on it with her.
All the while I was writing this letter I kept having this nagging feeling to check my email. Finally I opened it up and Walla! There was an email from her that she’d sent, even before the birthday party. I was honestly shocked, surprised, delighted and amazed and about ready to cry. And then I emailed her back.
Time had passed and our relationship isn’t perfect, even today, it’s not peaches and cream and there’s still water under the bridge that we haven’t been able to work through completely, at least not as of yet. But I have hope. She’s worth waiting for, worth working for, worth trying for.
Honestly, there are days when I feel discouraged, and just like Ammon and his brothers when they were in the land of the Lamanites, the Lord comforts and encourages me:
“Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.”
Honestly, I haven’t seen a whole lot of success yet. But you know the thing I’ve realized?In a lot of ways, I was never brave enough to be honest with her, in so many places, with where I felt our relationship was at, and I wasn’t brave enough to be broken me around her. I was afraid to open up and let her see what was on the inside of me. How I was hurting and afraid and confused. She never knew, because I never told her!
In opening up to people, it is painful, but let me tell you, it’s more painful not to. Take it from someone who knows. And ya, opening up is painful and you have to work through the pain of it, kind of like you do with childbirth. Instead of fighting and resisting where the relationship is at, you almost have to surrender to it, fully experience it and work with the process. And part of working with the process is leaning on your Support Person when you can’t take it any more.
Honestly, when I’m really blue and down and out, one of my favorite places to read in the scriptures is the story of David when all that crap was happening with Saul–when he was hunting him down? In-spite of everything Saul put David through, David never turned on him. That says a lot to me. How many of us now a days wouldn’t turn in, or do in, if we could, someone who was out to get us in some way or another. And honestly, when that bad thing happens to them, we’re secretly thinking they deserved it. Been there, done that.
But God is calling us to something different. To be ever vulnerable, ever open, forgiving, merciful and kind. To keep reaching out, even when it hurts. Only He knows when enough is enough. We don’t get to call the shots on that, He does.
Has it ever occurred to you that God does for us exactly what I’m suggesting we should do for each other? It’s our sin that He was nailed to the cross for. You can’t tell me that God doesn’t hurt when we choose to push Him away from us. And yet, no matter how much we push Him away, He still reaches out to us, blesses us–often anonymously through various means. We need to do the same for each other. And when our well runs dry and we have nothing left to give and the pain is deep, we go to the One who understands that pain and ask Him to fill our well, replentish our reserves and anoint us with the balm of Gilead to sooth the pain. He will give us what is needed to keep reaching out to heal the broken and painful places in all of our relationships. He isn’t called the Healer for nothing :-).
It takes work.
It takes time.
It takes connection.
And it takes consistency…
But I promise you one thing: it’s worth it!
Assignment for Dare 16:
Every one of us, I think has at least one relationship that has been through hell and back. Take some time to open up to God and connect with Him about your pain and struggles with anyone in your life right now who fits that category. Be honest with Him with where you are at. Also take some time to read in Psalms; there is an opportunity to taste and experience the comfort that God delights to give you, if you will open up your heart to receive it.