I have this tendency where I push people away before they have a chance to push me away. My depraved, years of practice mentality usually consists of thoughts such as “They’ll probably leave at some point anyways, so instead of waiting for them to have a reason, I’ll just do it first and save us both a world of trouble” or “Meh, I’m probably bothering or annoying them through our friendship so I’ll save them the trouble and just walk since they probably won’t care anyways”.
I know I’m not alone in this. I know this is a common factor for those with imaginative predictions of abandonment. We put up unnecessary walls and defenses. We suit up before anyone shows even the slightest form of annoyance or dissatisfaction. Because come one, you can never be too prepared…..right?
Right! Because it makes complete logical sense to suddenly shut down on someone based off of assumptions.
I moved to a different state about two years ago. When I moved I realized I was no longer living in the city I was used to! I was surrounded by hills and trees and beautiful forest! The only downfall though is that I am no wilderness woman. I don’t like bugs. I pretty much hate them actually. Forests and hills bring lots of bugs……..lots…..
It was a stupid hot summer evening and being the wonderful cheapo that I am, I decided I should open up the windows to let in whatever breeze there was instead of turning on some air! Me, not being used to so much nature, had no idea that hot summer nights include moths. Nasty, fluttering, delusional moths. I mean, how many wings do they actually have?? Because when they’re flying in your hair, eyes, ears, and so forth, it looks like they have around 100…..anyways. For 2-3 days I went into death mode and swatted at any I could find. Yes. FIND. I didn’t just wait for them to find me. No no…..I literally searched for them. A couple days into this gruesome battle and I see one sitting on my kitchen floor. After finding a flip-flop, I stealthily and very ninja-like if I do say so myself, went at that little bugger with everything in me. I swatted and smacked and yelled out my battle cry until I knew there was no way it could have possibly survived. I looked down at my victim to see what damage had been done…….it was a leaf.
Yep. A Leaf. A folded up tan colored leaf.
I had moved into such a state of survival mode that I didn’t even look close enough to see if it WAS a moth….not that you actually have to look that closely to tell a leaf from a moth ;P But that’s beside the point!
Prematurely pushing people away works the same way. Those of us with too much experience with people walking away are in such a deep state of survival mode, we don’t look closely enough to see if running is necessary. We think we have another moth and those survival skills kick in and through assumptions we justify and make excuses as to why it would be a good idea to suit up for the battle of shutting down and walking.
Where does that even get us though? Friendless. A deeper lack of self worth. But more importantly it robs us of a possibly incredible opportunity to watch the Lord work and see what He is going to do through others.
Two perspectives I want to challenge you with today and then I’ll get off my preacher box 😉 –>
1) What if walking away means missing out on a God hug and an opportunity to watch Him work?
2) How can you expect someone to stick it out with you if you’re already putting up walls and defenses and not willing to stick it out for others because of your own lack of confidence and assumption that everyone will abandon you?
These are not attacks. These are merely perspectives the Lord has been showing me lately. I’m certainly still at a place where I put up defenses and don’t let many people in. But maybe it’s time to start opening up my heart more and being open to people staying. Yes. It will hurt. But maybe that’s just life. Maybe life is just a bundle of pain and a bundle of love and all of it mixed together gets messy and hard but is still very very good. Just maybe…..