When you go after becoming or building something bigger than you have been comfortable doing you expect it to be hard. You expect new learning to be required. You expect folks not to be interested in supporting the projects you are supporting. What I am surprised by from time to time is what feels like the personal judgements folks will casually label or call out, as if one’s willingness to risk is a personal affront to their being.
Growing, becoming, creating… It’s a refining process. It often feels like going through the fire when you’re facing your family, friends, and colleagues as you grow out loud.
When someone hurts your heart, what do you do? It’s so easy to personally get offended, to call out to yourself words and stories that make the other person less, and salve temporarily your wound. It’s easy too, to remove yourself from their presence, mentally or physically, to isolate whatever their truth is from your existence. Ask me how I know…I’ve been there….am there…and fight to not remain there…
However, it seems the older and more mistakes I make, I begin to consider MY faults more….
Am I sharing too much with a person not as intimate with my hopes and plans and their own as I am? Am I appearing as the “polly perfect” willing to leap all life problems in a single bound, setting up the dynamics for others to feel they can never put in enough effort? Have I set myself up for criticism because I am not being thorough enough in my actions or explanations? Is their response different because they are considering the same information from another lense of perspective that has nothing to do with being right or wrong? Much less fun options to consider. Much harder on my own heart and head than lashing out or blaming others…but the mature heart does not choose offense.
“Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.”
The last few weeks I have risked allowing a few new and old friends and folks very close. I’ve shared hopes and dreams, goals and fears. For the most part, because the settings were close, and private, because they too, were on board with “becoming” in their own spaces, it has been a time of refreshing community. Of new perspectives and wonderful learning. But from time to time, as we all do, there have been words that cut to the bone, that questioned things of the deep that I didn’t want to face nor defend. The questions were intentional in nature to support new perspectives in almost all cases. Human languaging didn’t deliver the questions in comfortable ways at times, but they were well intended. However at the end of a long day, (isn’t that always the way, we are less mindful of our words when exhausted) someone I trust and treasure had an “off the cuff” response to a mistake and it absolutely cut me to the bone. Because it was the end of the evening, after a very very hard day, it made me question my trust of them with my heart and the wound was painful. When we trust individuals, their words matter so much more. When we do not trust ourselves fully even more so.
A long night ensued as I searched my heart, and my mind. I thought about my plans , reviewed all that I was doing to ask was not on some self-serving escapade. Prayer, pause, and a great deal of self persecution went on that night… as the dawn light crept in, my thoughts simply resolved to one negative message. The voices of shame, of blame, of anger, of hurt, and the motion pictures in my mind were rerunning every.single.mistake I’ve ever made stilled as I read Scripture and prayed. It came down to one thing: “Am I to the best of my current ability, doing what I know to do, where I am, as I am, as I seek wisdom to do it?”
My answer was imperfect obedience and pauses to seek provision for the processes of the dream God gave me matters more than my hurts. I needed to hear what was said, receive what needed to be corrected and deal with maturing in that space. Sometimes what is said is not about you, and we each have to deal with that truth too.
I would so prefer my own circle of deep approvers, of folks who would stamp my head “approved” and cheer me on.
However, the truth is God given dreams are not about approval, or ease, or even in any way what others think. They typically are not about celebration, grand standing, or being the sage on the stage….they are about deep loving, at times overwhelming work, communicating, continual forgiving and doing hard things. Most of the characters I have studied and learned, found little support if not outright ridicule as they pursued their dreams. Historically, leaders have been ridiculed, run out of town, treated unfairly, and ostracized. Why would I think any one of us would find it to be different?
The late night comments hurt, my response was the deepest of disappointment, but it simply reminds me that “pleasing others” is not part of the process of reaching goals or obedience to what is within me to do. Basing my worth, health, or vision on anything but the one who created me is limiting.
What are you believing you can do in your life? What goals do you have before you? How do you overcome disappointments? Where do you go when you cannot look on the bright side of something said to you. (Now I personally believe there is a bright side to most of the experiences in my world….in this case, it taught me that I desire far too much for human approval, and I allow far too easily for words to hurt my heart, so I will adjust my expectation of how I receive feedback).The truth is, taking time to talk to the person later, after rest, after the busy-ness had passed easily resolved the misunderstanding. Not all conversations work out, but in this instance, a heart to heart conversation, so hard to make myself have, happened later that cleared up the distance between what was said and what was heard. So many times, simply talking it through solves the misunderstandings, hurts, and stings.
Sometimes when you cannot look on the bright side when all seems light except for where you are…it’s simply time to pause…. to pray….to rest in God’s promises….and presence…then to go forth again, and seek peace. Perhaps instead of getting hurt, or insulted, or taking offense… it is time to pause. To pray, to allow the Holy Spirit to speak into your heart, to heal your hurts, to release your emotions….and to remember, that He passionately pursues you, created you, forgives you, provided the Holy Spirit to guide you, because you are loved, even if you are struggling to love yourself, your mistakes and your humanness….even if no one else “gets” some part of you….the heavenly Father saw fit to create you….just.as.you.are.