Everyday, during every conversation, because of a misunderstanding and in almost every relationship, we can find ourselves at the mercy of another’s words, another person’s thoughts and perceptions, or misconceptions.
That reality makes me want to crawl in a hole and hide. Being misunderstood is probably one of my biggest fears.
Recently I found myself heading for a hole as a result of exactly what I just described.
I was hurt in a situation and instead of receiving the apology I needed, I found myself forced to face a much larger revelation that I was not prepared for.
Preparation is key for me. Control is something I desire. I am a sensitive person and for the most part pretty self aware. I was dumbfounded that this was the turn it took. How could I have gotten myself here?
What was not supposed to be a reprimand came across as exactly that. A reprimand. And it rocked me. How could I be so misunderstood? If they only knew how I really was they would never have said that. How can they not know me?
Remember a few months ago I wrote a post | k n o w | about is it enough if God only knows. Well it was time for the rubber to meet the road. Here was a time for me to put my money where my mouth was. Could I trust God with this situation? Was His knowing the truth going to be enough for my broken heart?
For two solid days I struggled. Struggled between anger and sadness. Between disbelief and frustration. Between wanting to understand and just wanting to say screw it. I was ready to do battle one minute and ready to surrender the next.
Finally, I found myself crying out to God saying “You just have to show me You in this situation.”
And He did. He asked me to put Him in the conversation, to put Him in the chair across from me. Let’s be honest we know at this point I had rehearsed that conversation 40x so I could easily do that. :).
What a gift HE gave me to release me from some of the words that were said to me and what a gift HE gave me to reveal the truth in some of the words that were said to me.
Do you see what happened there? When I trusted HIS voice, all the lies, misperceptions and misconceptions could fall away. They had to fall away. Only the Truth remains. HE is TRUTH.
I am still not sure why exactly that conversation happened or if it was supposed to happen in the way it did- but I do know that God is at work and HE is trustworthy.
Here’s some of the lessons I’ve learned from this experience;
Voices. Voices have serious power. But my choice about which voices to listen to has even greater power. We can allow voices to tear us down, to destroy us, to weaken us. And just as fast we can allow voices to flatter us into a comfortable, self satisfying oblivion. Neither of which is any place God’s voice would lead us.
This situation forced me to recognize the humanness of the voices that I was allowing to direct me and my emotions, because I had put too much emphasis on what those voices thought of me. God used this situation in HIS gentle way to give me the opportunity to put Him back in His rightful place in my heart, my mind, and my ears.
There is this idea I was taught recently that I can’t seem to shake and in some ways this situation brought it to mind again. Turtle Shell leadership or parenting vs Skeletal leadership or parenting. Turtle Shell is where I find myself tucking it all or struggling to tuck it or forcing it to stay under my control. Under my safe, hardened, and protected from the unknown shell. There is only so much space and only so much that can be allowed in under that shell, until it starts to slip out and away from your control. You follow?
Skeletal is having the sure spine, the strong core that holds together the rest of the body. The body can move and work out the stuff life is bound to throw at it but because it is connected to the spine it can’t go too far. It still gains strength and direction from the spine.
This analogy has been changing the way I lead, the way I parent, and the way I am in many of my relationships.
I don’t want to turtle shell micro manage and therefore cause friction in my ministry relationships.
I don’t want to turtle shell control my kids and lose my relationship with them because of my fears and struggles.
I don’t want to turtle shell assume and pass judgement in my relationships because I can’t see outside of my shell.
It has also helped me understand how God gives me the opportunity to grow, work out the kinks, make my own way all the while staying safely connected to Him the spine vine. :).
I want to lead by example that what life throws my way I can take because I am connected to the Life Giver. The One who gives us life and gives us life abundantly. The Protector, the Provider, the Healer, the Maker, the Redeemer, and my Friend.