As someone who dwells often in disappointments (not something to brag about, I know), I tend to look back at a lot of the past events. Unfortunately the memory lane brought me frequently to stressful moments, disappointing people, things I still can’t let go…
This has brought me to a lot of bitterness, problems, and illness. No, I’m not THAT negative, but I am far from a grateful person I should have been. Like I said, I remember too dearly the unpleasant memory of people, that it has tremendously shaped my view on them, and of course, this impacts my relationship with them.
And for years I’ve been hiding in the excuses that what these people did to me were indeed not right (not necessarily horrible), and that I’m too vulnerable to take any more wrong from them. It sounds very grim, right? But actually what often happened were more likely misunderstandings, or series of unpleasant conversations, or unexpected remarks, that cut deep into my heart. So much deeper than necessary.
For years I told myself that the reason I avoid these people was because I’m scared to get hurt again. I’m not willing to be offended again. I’m protecting myself so that I won’t be too stressed with another issue that in my prediction would surely come from my connection to this person – because apparently, that’s her/his characters!
Or perhaps I never really thought about the reason I pulled myself back, because if I did, perhaps I would see it by myself how flawfull my thinking is. How self-centred I have been. And how far from Christ-like I am.
This was brought to my realization when I read a chapter from the book of Gloria Furman.
Your Turn to Let Grace Change You
I’ve struggled with the same ongoing issue in my friendship since I was two years old. “She hit me first” is my g0-to excuse for not pursuing relationships with other women. For example, if a friend offends me – whether she meant to or not – I am less willing to open myself up to her in the future. What I am open to instead is manipulating future interactions with her so that I feel like I am in control of the friendship. I intentionally avoid talking about myself and letting this friend know me; it’s even couched in my asking intentional questions to cover up my lack of sharing. This is not the way of love the Bible talks about.
The security we have in Christ that is initiated by grace, enacted by grace, and preserved by grace changes the way we relate to one another first by changing us. As the fruit of the Holy Spirit grows in our lives, we no longer reap a harvest of relationships marked by self-interest, manipulation, and power plays.
The liberating power of the gospel allows us to reach into each other’s lives and ask good, soul-searching questions. And not as a cover-up for our lack of self-disclosure! We can ask these questions because we’re free to think of others before we think of ourselves. We don’t have to be afraid of the answers we hear, because we trust in the God who raises the dead and always finishes the good work He’s started.
Gloria Furman in “Treasuring the Gospel in Your Home”
Oh what a powerful (and shaming) revelation! Shame on me! I really never view my problem from this side! I never see (or want to admit) that perhaps MY self-glorifying-instead of Christ-glorifying personality has made this problem. I never care or dare to admit that I thought about myself too much instead of thinking about others in the love of Christ. But at least I’m not alone. Even such a good author deals with the same problems too! Hehe 😅
As I managed to kick my own butt and walked my track three days ago, feeling (again) a bit upset about something, I asked myself why do you like it so much to look back? Looking back takes actually a big effort. You know you have to stir your neck or even your shoulder or the whole body in order to be able to look back properly (especially when your neck has a 30 cm sewing line, haha!)! Why do you like to do it so much? You’re now walking on your track to get your goal, and you keep looking back which costs so much effort – time, energy, emotion. And it hinders you from walking forward!
Why don’t you choose to set your eyes to what lays before you instead of the past? Why choose to keep playing the same old song and be frozen by fears? Why don’t you look at the cross? That alone should be enough for a reason to look forward instead of clinging to what’s done.
One day at a time. Sending some text to some friends. Reaching out for people. Opening your heart. Making little steps. Opening the door to Christ. Amen!