Tea ~ Moroccan Mint
They say that the middle child tends to be a peacemaker. Also independent, flexible and perhaps extremely competitive. Um, yes. But as a mediator, I really value everyone getting along and that all of my relationships are in working order. If they aren’t, I’ll be vulnerable for a moment to tell you that I lose sleep over that. Yeah, probably not the healthiest personality trait of mine, but I prefer a heart of reconciliation over one of indifference. Pick your poison, because what I have learned from this overt need to have relationships with (& please) others is that it puts me in a position to get burned. A lot. Often bending over backwards to make a relationship a priority (more than my fair share of the effort) and then compromising myself or my values to make you happy because I truly care about you. And unfortunately, by putting that much weight in a relationship or person, I put our relationship in future jeopardy because I am ultimately disappointed or let down by my ridiculous expectations of that same effort in return. If I’ve done that to you. I’m sorry. That part is definitely my fault and I’m working on it.
It’s ok if our relationship (or your relationships with others) is not a priority. It really is. That’s not a snarky comment or observation. There are too many family members, friendships, job requirements, causes and hobbies to appease them all! But let’s be clear, it’s not because you don’t have the time or money or energy to do it, it’s because it is not a priority to you. We do things and pursue relationships, hobbies and causes that are important to us. If you are not sure what is important to you, simply look at how you spend your time in any given week or day or who you write your checks to or what you swipe your credit card for. Look especially at your down time or free time. Is it spent reading, serving, watching tv, exercising, cooking, shopping, working, volunteering, surfing the web, spending time with friends or family, etc. You fill in the blanks.
One of the great responsibilities and burdens of each individual is to make priorities. The real hardship with relationships is that 1 person may find your friendship or relationship more of a priority than the other person. And that can present a problem if effort or expectations are not discussed and realigned. I’ve been blessed to both salvage a couple of relationships as well as had to step back or completely disengage from others. And both really are a blessing because we serve a God that gives us all that we need in any given moment. I am thankful for that! So sometimes it’s necessary to cut out things that do not serve us in an uplifting manner or those we are in relationship with. Hopefully we can do it with a spirit of patience and compassion and not one of anger and resentment.
So what happens if a relationship is in conflict or ends in anger and resentment (even between Christians, *gasp*)? Let’s remember a few things. Here’s 10 nuggets from past experiences for ya:
- Conflict: It does happen (Christian & non-Christian alike), and no one is perfect. That’s why we have grace, mercy, compassion and forgiveness.
1a. None of us deserves grace or forgiveness.
- Assume the best in one another, instead of the worst.
2a. Maybe a friend has no idea that your relationship is a high priority to you. Talk it out or lower your expectations and judgement of their priorities; they are doing the best they can.
- God is still moving and working in their lives and yours whether you are in each other’s lives or not.
- No one is beyond saving and unworthy of prayer or forgiveness.
4a. If you think someone is beyond saving or unworthy of forgiveness, go back to 1a. Check your heart and your pride.
- Don’t close & lock the door completely, letting your pride get the best of you. Leave the door of reconciliation cracked a little (& give it time and a lot of prayer).
- Holding a grudge and withholding forgiveness only hurts you, not the other person.
- Always speak well of others whether they are in the room or not.
- Tainting someone else’s reputation just makes you look bad; altering someone’s perception of another person is not your responsibility, better left unsaid.
8a. People can usually taint their own reputations all by themselves.
- Love and serve others with generosity. Generosity of time, money and resources. You’ll never get to the end of your life thinking, “Man, I wish I hadn’t given that away,” or “I wish I had spent my money and time on something else (that doesn’t matter).”
9a. Let others love and serve you!
- This last one is from my dad, “All we have and are given in life is time, and we trade it for things. Money, relationships, hobbies, etc.”
What are you trading your time for? What and who are your priorities? Are your unrealistic expectations of others hurting you or are you withholding forgiveness toward another person? I pray that you seek reconciliation and receive the peace and healing of Christ.