Over the years, I’ve gone through periods when I’ve gotten my feelings hurt very easily.
I hate this about myself. It’s pathetic and petty.
Thank God, I’m much better about it than I used to be. Much tougher, more willing to let things slide, give people the benefit of the doubt, believe the best.
Still, there are times when I allow my feelings to bruise like a rotten avocado.
It’s happened recently.
Since it doesn’t happen often anymore, it was a particularly unwelcome and uncomfortable feeling. Like, “Oh, nooooo, let’s not go back to Egypt.”
I tried to identify the source.
I realized that, as always, it boils down to one thing:
I expect things of people.
We expect things of each other.
It’s very subtle most of the time…almost unnoticeable. But underneath the surface, we have expectations of reciprocity…and even beyond that.
I expect that you will return my call…I expect that you will say what I need to hear… I expect that you will invite me because I invited you… I expect that you will help me when I need help… I expect that you will be the kind of friend to me that I have been to you (actually, much better)... I expect that you will meet my needs, read my mind.
I expect that you will be there for me.
But that is not always possible. Often not possible at all.
I believe that there are times when God actually orchestrates circumstances so that we will feel abandoned by people we’ve counted on.
Later… often much later… you find out what the person was going through at the time and understand why she/he wasn’t available.
Sometimes, I believe that God allows us to go through periods where we feel abandoned by absolutely everyone. All alone in the universe.
If you are in a place like that, don’t try to figure it out. Don’t overanalyze the relationship(s).
Just realize that your expectations have been placed in the wrong source.
At some point, your spouse, father, mother, sister, brother, daughter, son, dog-catcher, doctor, lawyer, preacher, first-grade teacher, president, BFF, and the IRS will all let you down.
This experience is necessary for spiritual growth.
Many years ago, when I was relatively new in my faith, I was absolutely decimated by a relationship into which I had poured myself out. I had given of myself sacrificially because I thought that was what I was being called to do. And then the person, who had serious psychological issues, turned on me in a very vicious way. Because I had invested so much into this relationship, I had neglected others. I felt totally used and alone. I became depressed.
A friend urged me to talk to her pastor, who was a friend about my age. I dumped it all out on him.
He looked at me with compassion, and shared a similar story. And then, with a wry smile, he said something to the effect of “Kim, if you want to become more like Christ, then you have to experience a Judas.” (Or two. Or…)
Then he showed me a scripture: “But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew…what was in a man.” (John 2:24-25)
“Kim, you have entrusted yourself to Man. Even Jesus didn’t do that.”
Later, I ran into a reading on a page that has since become pale and wrinkled with overuse. It is in a little book called “My Utmost for His Highest,” by Oswald Chambers.
“Our Lord trusted no man; yet He was never suspicious, never bitter, never in despair about any man, because He put God first in trust; He trusted absolutely in what God's grace could do for any man. If I put my trust in human beings first, I will end in despairing of everyone; I will become bitter, because I have insisted on man being what no man ever can be - absolutely right. Never trust anything but the grace of God in yourself or in anyone else.”
Expect nothing from Man, and everything from God.
We have to understand that He alone can meet our needs, live up to our expectations.
Then we can be free to love each other unconditionally, without the crippling expectations of what Lewis calls Need-love.
Are you listening to yourself, Kim?
Oh, Lord, please help me to place my trust in you alone. Then I will never be disappointed.
It’s strange…since I jotted down the beginning of this last week, 3 or 4 people have mentioned to me something about having their feelings hurt.
Does anyone else struggle with this? Any thoughts?