Revelation this morning: Ask God to help me let go (of so much…)
I can’t put the length of time together. Maybe it’s always been this way, or maybe I only started fully realizing it was this way in the past 6-8 months. More likely, is that it’s always been this way, I just go in and out of consciousness on the fact that my life is this way, in a social manner of speaking.
What do I mean “my life is this way”? I mean the fact that I only have a small number of true friends. Considering I count my siblings among that small number…outside of family, the number is scarily small. And it bothers me. I know that by the age of 42, I should not care about this, but for some reason, my consciousness has risen to the occasion in the last few months to remind me that I really don’t have all that many friends.
Perhaps my consciousness of this fact is related to big events in my life. Or maybe just small things in my life that feel big. Either way, in the past several months I have felt let down far more than I have felt built up and that’s a problem. I am searching in the wrong places for love and acceptance.
As my children continue to grow up and learn about friendship and all that comes with it, my heart zones in on my own friendships (or lack thereof). I reflect. Truth be told, my initial inclination is to blame myself — I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, holy enough, organized enough, active enough — to garner the sort of likability that seems to accompany a wealth of friends.
What I seem to have to continue to teach myself (as I teach my children) is that I will only ever have a small amount of true friends, most likely. I have my sisters — they always have my back and will be there to build me up and provide the love and support I need. And I have one or two (maybe three) women I can count on outside of that. What wonderful women they are, too!
One of the mainstays in my life from age 8 on up is that surely someone is going to let me down. Many times it has been someone I love deeply. As an adult, I have shielded my heart for the most part, to avoid the heartache, and subsequently loved less deeply and less often. But then over time, I start to let it down…start to count on someone, start to believe “there’s no way that person would betray me” before the betrayal smacks me upside the head to put me back in my place.
My error seems to be lulling myself into the false sense of security that I have more of them…that these extra people that I start to think are my friends — that they won’t let me down, that they won’t reject me or my children at an inopportune time. But I don’t even know if that is it. I mean…we are all human, right? It’s inevitable that humans let each other down at times, but I think it’s the way those betrayals and letdowns are handled afterward that truly helps sift out the strength of the bond. Does an acknowledgement and/or apology occur? Forgiveness is often dependent on the parties involved (I, myself, am a big forgiver — not so much a forgetter, hence the shields I put up — but I definitely don’t stay mad at people…) but if no acknowledgment or apology is offered, there’s no closure. This is the kind of thing I have trouble with.
What’s even harder to accept is that usually there is no malice intended. Since people don’t generally go around every day thinking, “hmm, how can I really hurt this other person today?” most of us have no idea that we’ve inflicted any harm. and in our society, it seems, if we didn’t intend to hurt, then the fact that someone is hurt is just a byproduct of life. When my feelings are hurt, or those of my children are, it’s difficult to resolve because if no malice was intended — often there’s no apology or acknowledgment that a hurt occurred, so we are just left to get over it and move on with life. And much of the burden in that is shouldered by the person who is hurt and quite possibly none of it affects the person who unknowingly inflicted the pain. (I’m quite certain a blogpost on forgiveness would be in order on this topic alone!)
Sadly, I teach my children to guard their hearts. Recently, I’ve had to have the middle school friends discussion (sigh)…don’t get too invested, do your own thing, the tide is beginning to turn, sometimes the people you’ve always hung out with don’t want to hang out with you anymore — people change in middle school, their friendships change. Then, while you may very well remain friends once a hurt has been overcome, it will be a changed friendship. How that hurt is overcome plays a HUGE part in where that friendship goes. I remember having this conversation three years ago, too. I would bet on having it again in a couple of years. Teaching my children to put their guards up is all I know how to do, because that is all I know how to do.
And so…I do it to myself. I remind myself to keep my guard up, no one looks out better for me than me.
So I prayed today. I asked God to remove the hurt I feel. I asked Him to fill my heart with the love of Him and for my family so that I no longer feel the sadness of exclusion (of myself or my children). I asked Him to help me forget the things I hurt over so that I can smile and be friendly. I asked Him to remove my self-doubt, to remember that He loves me and it is only His love that I need and only Him I need to serve.
Throughout my life I’ve heard the “Let Go and Let God” mantra. It has always seemed to mean something different. And maybe it should mean something different depending on what is going on in our lives. Right now, I have a burden in my heart that needs lifted. I want to stop crying every time I think of certain things. I want to be able to hear a voice or see someone and not be reminded that I don’t think I can trust.
I want to only worry about pleasing God and the rest of the world be damned. I was there once. But somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that. So, I think that is my prayer now and maybe for a long time.