Monthly Archives: October 2013

Waiting on the World to Change – Part One

“Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.”

For the last two weeks, I’ve been thinking about this blog post. Part one was going to be a letter to someone who has deeply hurt me. But the thing is, I could never bring myself to write this letter. I could never bring myself past the first part –

Dear Person,

All of my favorite “remember when’s” were with you. And now I can’t relive any of those with anyone because how do you look back on happy memories with a person you now hate?

Here’s the interesting thing about pain. It sucks and because it sucks, often times we mistake our pain for hate. It seems that it’s better to feel cold and distant around someone than a bubbling, crying idiot. But I think we mistake our emotions for a “burning hatred.” I think people’s ability to hurt us so deeply is because we loved them so deeply. And so, when someone offends us, the resulting pain is also deep.

Last week, I accidentally shut the closet door on my finger. It hurt so bad that I cried out in pain. The pain quickly followed by me being mad at the door. If the door hadn’t been so poorly constructed…if the people who installed this door could have put in a better…if my roommate hadn’t had us move into this place…if the inventor of the door had never decided to…By the time my finger felt fine, I was already seething and angry at Henry Door, whom I had made up in my head as the inventor to all of my life problems.

It wasn’t the door’s fault. It wasn’t my roommate’s fault. It wasn’t my landlord’s or Henry or whoever. It was my carelessness. ME. But can you see what the repercussions of pain are? It’s anger. It’s frustration. And when you don’t diffuse these emotions quickly, your pain becomes masquerading as hate.

I used to think that one day I would be somebody that people would care to know. I would have a fancy job, drive a cool car, dress in stylish clothes and be the funniest person ever. And because people were so enamored by me, everybody would want to be my friend.

While not all of these things came true, these delusions still lived in my head. I was confident that if I was the best, most thoughtful, most selfless friend, that the friends I would make would want to stay friends with me forever.

But some of them didn’t.

Naturally, I started playing out scenarios. I over-thought EVERYTHING – reliving conversations, doing everything and anything to try to figure out what went wrong, why did it go wrong and what had I done to push them away?

Sometimes, the worst answer to that question is nothing. And with it comes that sobering knowledge that it really doesn’t matter what your job is or who you know, sometimes people just won’t want to be friends with you. Period.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 12.33.13 PMHere’s the simple truth: a friend loves at all times. A real friend – not just someone you grab coffee with and gab about boys and have surface level conversations – will love you at all times. They will love you even when…you pick the wrong person to date, when you’re friends with someone they don’t like, when a rumor starts about you that isn’t true, when you’re sad and lonely and depressed and frustrated, and in the same way when you’re happy and joyful and excited about life. A person who is worthy of that esteem “friend” title in your life is someone who will stick around. So those people who have hurt you, the ones that you don’t speak to anymore in whatever capacity, they aren’t your friend. Maybe they never were.

I’m tempted to end it here, to let us simmer on this thought until Part Two, but I have a feeling there are some of you out there who have felt this way before and I don’t want to give anyone more of a case of the Mondays then they should…

This morning my devotions so fittingly led me to Colossians 3:12-15. I don’t know why people hurt us the way they do. I don’t know how people wake up and decide that their life is better without certain friendships. I don’t know why I didn’t make the cut for some people. But I have a choice. I can clothe myself in disgusting shades of gray or I can forgive, let go and move on.

To borrow the brilliant line of a song – “I will learn to let go what I cannot change. I will learn to forgive what I cannot change. I will learn to love what I cannot change. But I will change, whatever I can.”

We can spend our entire lives waiting for people to change – to be nicer, to love better or just to change their minds. Life is too short to wait around, and quite honestly, who you are is enough. You are not defined by who likes or does not like you and who does or does not want to be your friend. So, I want to end this the same way I began it; to remind you and me to forgive those who have hurt us. To simply be yourself, love people well and live confidently in that. The rest is out of your hands.

“Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.”

Broken

I have a gold necklace that I wear all the time that holds a simple lightning bolt to proudly signify my loyalties to the OKC Thunder team. It’s the perfect length for every outfit and whatever occasion. But unfortunately, this precious necklace of mine is flawed.il_340x270.464224164_mcut

As I prance around town throughout the day (yes, I prance), more often than not, the necklace gets caught on something – a door knob, a nail, sometimes just my hair – and in a quick jerk, the chain breaks leaving my necklace in more pieces than it should have. I mourn it every time, cursing me clumsiness yet again. Luckily these breaks are always salvageable. I can find the scattered pieces and shimmy the chain back together and wah-lah! It’s good as new!

Even in my best effort though, the chain (of it continuously breaking) can’t be broken (pun intended) and sadly, it happened again this week. I was looking for something in a drawer and stood up too quickly. The necklace stayed behind but this time, the chain broke in a way it had never done before. And yes, I cried out in frustration when this happened.

Sometimes things break. Friendships fall apart. Relationships end. Hearts get burned. Promises don’t get the expected follow through. All of these are reminders that we live in a broken world and in this brokenness, we experience deep hurts and disappointments.

My gut in these instances is to find the easiest path to fix what has been broken. I use sloppy methods to mend my brokenness with tools of this world. But just like with my necklace as soon as the pieces are brought back together, I turn around and watch it get torn apart again.

I’ll be honest. It’s frustrating. Constantly mending myself and nursing my wounds only to have the cycle repeated in some cruel Twilight zone-like movie. Sometimes all I want to do is shake my broken necklace in the air and scream, “I JUST got over this pain” or “I JUST stopped caring about so-and-so.” I’m tired, I’m exhausted and all I want is some shelter from the constant storms.

When my necklace broken yet again this week, I felt quite defeated. This was the end to my necklace and I just needed to accept the fact that I would never be able to wear it again. One my closest guy friends, Adam is quite the problem solver so I brought the pieces of my broken necklace to him. “You may not be able to do anything with it, it’s fine,” I blurted out. “If you can’t don’t worry about it.” I was already doubting his handyman skills even before he had the opportunity to check out the casualties.

There’s a reason why God calls us to lay our heavy burdens down at HIS feet, to lean on HIM when times are hard and allow HIM to carry us through our storms. It’s because it is impossible for us to do it ourselves. When things fall apart, the best thing for us to do isn’t to try to fix the problem ourselves but to hand over all the broken pieces to Him. Because even in our best efforts, our remedies fall short and pale in comparison to the wholeness that comes when we allow Him to heal our brokenness.

I got my Thunder necklace back from Adam today. Instead of putting it together with a flimsy chain, Adam had added a second chain to make it more secure. The necklace looks better and its chain stronger than ever. It made me realize how without his help, I would have continued repeating the cycle making my necklace weaker after each break never really getting it fully “fixed.”

When we love something, it’s hard to surrender its fate to someone else. We do the same with our hearts, we hold onto the shattered pieces tightly. After all, it’s better to be beyond repair because of our attempt than someone else’s. When we try to fix our brokenness, our hearts get weaker as well. Our pain tolerance gets lowered, our sense of self-worth and ability to forgive becomes non-existent and we become vulnerable to being hurt more often than not. But this vicious cycle can end. Our God can mend brokenness far greater than we could ever imagine, I’m talking more than two chains or three chains strong. We are secure in Him. Our hearts, our worth, our tomorrows are all so much better in His hands than ours…or AllState’s.

Sometimes things break and people who are close to us hurt us. I wish it didn’t have to be this way, but it’s an inevitable fate in this world. But even when things break, know that there is still hope beyond your pain. When you find yourself holding to the broken pieces of your life, don’t be discouraged. Bring your brokenness to God, the ultimate handyman. He doesn’t just heal what’s broken, He makes them new and better than they ever were before.