I have never been very good at relationships; they do not come easily or naturally for me. Sure I have had relationships in the past but I always had one foot out the door and as soon as someone started digging beneath the surface the other foot would soon follow and I would be gone. My relationships were built on the surface limping along on my skewed set of terms. They were a double edge sword in many ways, I was hungry and desperate for those close relationships, the kind of relationships where you can walk into someone’s house help yourself to their refrigerator, kick the door shut with your foot then sprawl out their living room sofa and proceed to channel surf, yet I would never let myself get that close. People were replaceable and not needed in my world, I much rather preferred to be alone than invest in a relationship and run the risk of getting hurt, it was easier that way, I was guarding my heart and not in a good way.
Perhaps you are like I was, you have been hurt so much in the past you only see the negative in people, you see no point in investing in relationships, you lay in wait for the other person to mess up so you have an excuse not to sow anything meaningful into the relationship, you keep it on the surface with your exit strategy firmly in place, I get that.
Perhaps you are like me, taught from a very early age to be self sufficient and never depend on anyone else, never let your weak places show because it is in your weak places that you will be taken advantage of. I get that too.
Neither of those things are at all self preserving or self sufficient but self defeating. I get why some people build a steal trap around their hearts, a divorce that left them emotionally depleted, or friend that had been betrayed them, relationships are risky, they require us to put ourselves out there with no guarantee that we won’t be hurt by them, but we were created for relationships, and that means taking a risk.
I had a conversation with God not too long ago in Wal-Mart of all places about a certain situation in my life.
Why don’t you trust Me? He asked.
I do trust You, I replied, it is people I don’t trust.
Then it is Me you do not trust either, you don’t trust Me to with the people I put in your life.
When we deny ourselves the relationships we were created for we not only deny ourselves the opportunity to sow our gifts into someone else’s life but we also deny other people to sow their gifts into our lives. We were created for relationships, we thrive and grow when we are in relationships.
It is not easy to overcome our hurts from the past, I am still unraveling the damage, I still proceed with caution, relationships are where I am weak and where the enemy attacks. I can beat myself up for days after spending time with a friend about all the things I said that I shouldn’t have convinced that they will never want to spend time with me again, I am working on that.
We were created for relationships, relationships that will prop us up when we are defeated, encourage us to keep going when we want to give up, rejoice with us in our victories, and sometimes to just give us swift kick in the pants when we need it. We were created to do life together not alone. Relationships are a work in progress for me, it has been a journey of slow baby steps, it has been a journey of healing and restoration and it has been a journey of seeing the faithfulness of the Lord at work in my life.