Every day, all of us come face to face with our personal challenges and struggles. I mean, unless you’re super human, you’re most likely dealing with some less-than-perfect stuff right now. Relationships are often a key place where these weaknesses are exposed.
It feels like nothing reveals my weaknesses faster than other people–family, friends, leaders, that random guy at the thrift store who wouldn’t stop talking to me about thunder storms… you get the idea.
I get offended way more easily than I’d like.I judge people and use sharp words. I’m usually way more interested in myself than anybody else. I struggle with forgiveness. On average, I mentally slap people in the face several times a week. Sometimes several times a day, depending on my mood.
Here’s the deal: People can really stink sometimes. They do and say hurtful things all the time ( you probably do it too, hun, but that’s not the point right now.) And sometimes, they’re just downright annoying and we don’t feel like dealing with them.
I can’t control what people are going to say or do to me. I can’t make someone change their behavior or respond the way I want them to. Believe me, I have tried to change people on numerous occasions, and it’s just a waste of energy. I can’t change anyone.
Except myself. I do have control over Sasha. I‘m the one who gets to decide how to respond to others. I get to choose how I’m going to navigate my emotions. I’m the one who decides what I’m going to do with conflict. Obviously, some options are better than others but, at the end of the day, God has given me the freedom to choose.
Welp, that’s great. I have freedom to choose how I respond to others…now just to narrow down all the options and freaking decide how I’m going to respond. Great. I just love making decisions…NOT.
It’d be so nice if there was a detailed guide for everything we’ll face in relationships. A play-by-play on how to handle each of our specific circumstances.
Alas, that is not so. There was no manual instructing me on how to handle the dude at the thrift store who wouldn’t stop talking about the weather…which is why I just smiled and nodded the entire time. But that’s beside the point.
While there is no specific “this is what is going to happen in your relationships and exactly what you should do and say” book out there, Jesus did give us a one-size fits all option.
Love is always the best and most appropriate response. (Luke 10:27)
Granted, love can look really different depending on the people and circumstances. Love doesn’t always look like smiling and nodding politely. Sometimes it looks like confrontation. Like setting boundaries. Like giving of yourself to serve someone else. Like asking for help.
Love doesn’t mean that people will always agree or like what you’re doing. Crazy as it sounds, most people don’t enjoy confrontation or being told “no”.
But, it does mean that, no matter how others treat or respond to me, I’m choosing to go to Jesus about it. To trust Him with my heart. To allow Him to heal me. Choosing to lean on Him and make decisions based on His heart, not on my own understanding. Allowing Him to help me process, so that I would be motivated to respond out of love, not fear.
It’s a process that requires a lot of leaning. This whole love thing can feel mega confusing sometimes.
Yet it’s so worth it at the end.
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”~ 1 Corinthians 13:13