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.”

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