I desire meaningful connections.
Relationships can be a quandary for me. I want certain results. I desire meaningful connections, and when I miss the mark, it frustrates me. And once I am in the midst of an awesome relationship, I find it’s difficult to maintain.
We just got back from a wonderful, busy, two-week vacation with our two sons. In the midst of it though, some relational difficulties emerged.
My words can hurt.
I caused frustration with my sons, especially my 15 year old. He innocently asked me a question and I proceeded to bite his head off. I felt like a heel. My husband, trying to please me made a comment and I didn’t like what he said, his approach and more likely I read more into it than necessary.
After days of this, he didn’t know what to say or how to say it. I apologized repeatedly for my sharp words and critical attitude. I could blame it on numerous, wonderful and creative excuses. I could blame it on that I had a right to speak my mind.
Bottom line: it didn’t matter the reason, it was ultimately my fault and I carried the blame. I started apologizing in advance for anything I might say in our future conversations.
In the middle of our vacation we had “family time.” First interaction on the scene, I uttered a word—or two— that I shouldn’t have. My genius antenna knew I blew it when I was encountered by sarcasm or silence. I had not anticipated either of those responses.
Not live in perfection.
I admitted my mistakes, and I explained my wayward mouth to my sons. My sons needed a mom who could acknowledge her mistakes, confess and move on with better hopes for the next time. The lesson learned. None of us are perfect and we all make mistakes and so let’s learn from them, and try our best the next round.
I realized a few things. I was leaning on my own self to get me through some difficult situations and I was not relying on God. The Holy Spirit had nudged me I should tread carefully, but I silenced those nudgings by feeling justified in my speech.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)
Spinning out of control.
While we were still on the road, another relationship hit the fan, and I felt myself spinning. Spinning around and around. Spinning out of control. I tried to reel my thoughts and emotions back in.
Seeking satisfaction in relationships.
I’m easily disappointed in relationships, especially family or those close to me. I have high expectations in my own family because many needs were not met in my growing up years. I hoped for more. I yearned for relationships to meet those unmet needs. When they were not satisfied I felt empty and drained.
And I know God is calling me.
Throughout my disappointing relationships He has called me. Throughout my childhood He yearned for me. During college and young adulthood I tried to fill those years with significant relationships with similar goals and passions.
God is wooing me, calling me, whispering His love to me.
Seeking satisfaction in Him.
God doesn’t want me to seek satisfaction in relationships, but in Him. Everyone has flaws, including myself. If my focus is on people fulfilling me, making me whole, then it will always lead to emptiness.
God is saying turn to me, “Give it up to Me. I’m here, waiting. Wooing you. Loving you. Waiting. Seek Me and you will find fulfillment. Only I can fill your voids, your emptiness, your needs.”
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV)
God urges me to give it all to Him.
He is urging me to put it all down at the table, walk away and leave those unmet needs and desires for Him carry.
He wants me to put down my husband not completely understanding, as much as he tries.
He wants me to put down my expectations of my children and how I feel taken granted for.
He wants me to put down every harsh word spoken, a comment that leaves me angry or an unkind action.
He wants me to put down my unrealistic expectations.
He wants me to purposefully lay it all down and not pick it up again.
The cure for the perfect life.
In the book The Cure for the Perfect Life: 12 Ways to Stop Trying Harder and Start Living Braver, Cheri Gregory and Kathi Lipp share that much of what we do to appear that we are okay and look good on the outside, is really motivated by fear.
“I was afraid of not being enough. I couldn’t figure out how to be more. But I could do more. And I could get more.”
The idea is we believe it’s all up to us to work harder, try harder and it’s up to us to make it all work. If I didn’t do it, then it wouldn’t get done.
As we dig a little deeper, the realization becomes clearer if it’s all up to me (to make all my relationships work and be successful) then where does that leave God?
They outline four fears: Fear of Pain, Fear of Loss, Fear of Blame and Fear of Shame.
Fear of Shame.
It’s the Fear of Shame that struck a chord at this time.
At the heart of my problem is I really don’t believe I am worthy of love, belonging and having secure, healthy relationships. And the harder I try to maintain what I have or what I want to have, then the void keeps getting bigger and bigger.
My shame is that I’m not good enough. I will never be good enough. The harder I try to be good enough, the harder I try to make my relationships work, the more I am enslaved to trying to live harder instead of living in the freedom God desires for me.
If I continue in this cycle, I am left defeated. I am left void. I am left with I’m not good enough and I will never be good enough.
“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us a new in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago.” (Ephesians 2:10 NLT)
God’s desire for us is to experience His love and forgiveness and the freedom that is ours if we just claim it in His name.
Choosing to let go.
I’m tired of letting fear keep me in the cycle that leads to condemnation.
Choose to let the Fear of Shame go, once and for all.
Choose to give up trying to live harder, please more, and doing it in my own power.
Choose to not try to make relationships work, but live in the freedom to give Him the process and the results.
Father cure me of expecting people to meet the needs You so desperately want to meet. You are my bridegroom waiting expectantly. You are yearning for me. Wanting me. May I learn to sit at your feet and bask in Your presence. May I realize that You are always enough for me.
“Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.” (Psalm 55:22 NIV)
My next post is in God’s Love in these relationships there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is hope. In God. In His love. We can move from fear to love.
Make a comment to my posts for the next few weeks and I will add your name to a drawing to win The Cure for The Perfect Life. If you sign up for my newsletter and blog posts, I will add your name twice for every comment. In my September newsletter I will announce the end date. Make sure you sign up by August 31.