4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. 5Let your reasonablenessd be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I feel like we desperately want someone to understand who we are and our experiences and we feel that in order for some type of earthly love to exist between people (in any type of relationship) we must too quickly divulge the workings of our hearts and minds and not use discernment when judging who will protect us and our hearts while doing so.
The investment in someone else's heart and emotions is territory that I am not an expert in and I never will be. I used to be quick to diving into all my thoughts and emotions and inner workings in order for people to better understand my character or "feel for me" or "save me". I did not understand the meaning of guarding our hearts and minds. I just thought it was a bossy Bible verse that told us we gotta be female warriors who don't take shit from anyone and never let anyone see me weak or emotional. (I was wrong.) There is nothing wrong with opening up to someone about your emotional struggles and battles that you might be facing. I have a lot of respect for someone who can humble themselves and say that they are working through some heartache. But there needs to be an understanding of the way God made people before we decide to reveal the intangible parts of our make up. Which means we need to be the people God called us to be when offering an ear to a friend but we also need to discern whether or not the people that we decide to share with are equipped to handle our hearts.
We are all different.
One thing is for certain, not one person has gone through or experienced the same things you have. Even if the situations are identical--each person has their own set of emotions and feelings and even though the world has done their very best to categorize those into words like mad, sad, angry, confused, happy, excited, etc., those definitions and words will never articulate exactly how we feel in the depths of our souls.
I will never be able to fully understand what another person has been through, but when a person decides that they trust me enough to let me see their heart and hear their experiences, I take a lot of pride in that. Because I believe God has equipped me (because of my experiences with NOT guarding my heart) and I'm hoping I can offer you some sound advice to help us all become more Christ-like.
I've seen people jump into emotional relationships in hopes that that person is going to "save" them or offer the right words (me). I am glad that I have relationships in my life where they feel confident that, even though I will not save them or offer up the perfect words or be able to pull them out of the darkness I know that I will always offer up this: I don't understand your situation but I am here as your friend to ensure that you're not alone and that I love you.
I can't give people perfect direction or expect the best advice and understanding from other people, because neither I or the people in my life are at all qualified to do so. The first reason is that I am not you and haven't been through or felt what you have felt and vice versa. The second reason is that we are not God and our advice will be far from perfect and it may not make you feel ANY better at all.
When you talk to PEOPLE about issues, they might appear to be insensitive to what you have experienced--but really it is just that they cannot relate to or understand the things that you have seen. Wrap your mind around that truth because I'm going to drive that point home a MILLION times. I've had some of the closest people in my life say to me "you're too emotional" "you're too dramatic"...it's been spoken over me for my ENTIRE life. And I know I'm not the only one who has heard these things before. But God never says that about us. He loves us all equally and we are never too much--even though we are a bunch of idiots.
Your emotions are not unwarranted ever. The emotions and feelings you have (no matter what they are) are absolutely warranted, even though there are many people who cannot understand them. I will never tell someone that the way they are feeling is wrong. Because feelings and emotions are never EVER wrong. I could never get upset with you or anyone for feeling a certain way. Because feelings are something you can't help. YOU need to understand that someone saying "I can't handle your emotions" has NOTHING to do with YOU or your emotions and it has everything to do with the fact that people cannot relate to or understand your struggles because they aren't Jesus and they aren't you. Am I driving this home, yet?
I am fortunate to have a lot of people in my life that care for me and love me and would do most anything for me--but I cannot have the expectation that they are going to do or say the right thing all the time--because they are PEOPLE and people are FLAWED. Get it? Get it? Once again, people are not qualified to give that level of emotional support that goes as deep to save someone fully from their hurts and heartache. People are only able to care for you in the BEST way they know how to--which is sometimes questionable. Lol. It's hard for people to hear of heartache. I used to offer up advice like "get over it" or "I can't believe you let him do that" or "just forget about it". This kind of advice is more common than not. And I'm here to tell you that it's bullshit. And it's exactly why God said guard your freaking heart. Because when you open up yourself to someone who isn't prepared to receive all you are with grace and compassion it could end up hardening our hearts and making us resent ourselves or resent other people. And God didn't want that. He's a God of Love.
I hope that this makes sense. I'm writing this blog to myself and to all of you. You know... as previously published, I got divorced when I was 24. I was hurt badly by someone that was supposed to be protecting me and taking care of me and LOVING me. And guess what? The thing about being 24 and going through that...is that not a single one of my friends or family could fully relate to or understand my situation. And I was MAD all the time that they tried to give me advice that didn't make sense or offered up "I understand". And all I could think was NO YOU DON'T, GTFO. lol.
In some cases I was to made to feel extremely guilty for feeling and acting the way I did throughout my divorce and the time after the divorce. But, in time I learned (with the help of qualified professionals and Jesus), it was wrong of me to expect them to understand and have the right words for me because they don't really have a clue and all they were doing was trying to help me and love me.Some people would shut down when I would start to talk about specific details or things I had experienced and I would get mad and feel rejected because I felt like they didn't care or didn't want to understand or that they couldn't make me feel better.
I used to say I struggled with dating people my age because I felt like they were insensitive to my situation. Well, duh. What I realized is that age has NOTHING to do with it, really. Of course people are going to appear insensitive to me if I'm revealing the depths of my heart to a person who has no clue how to even react to something that is far beyond what they have experienced. Why the heck would I expect anyone to understand my experiences and emotions without them actually having gone through them? And when I realized this, my heart softened toward the people that I felt were being jerks or insensitive because praise God that they don't understand. They've been protected.
I'm SO GLAD that they don't understand the things I've been through because that would mean that they too would have endured the hurt that I have endured to some degree. And I would not wish that on a person that I loved and cared for--or a person at all.
Try not to be hurt when people don't act the way they should because it really isn't their obligation or even in their make up to fully understand or to be able to fully help you through what you're going through. They only know how to be concerned for you and love you. Even if I walked people through all of my experiences or even if I told them my story from cover to cover or played them a movie of my life--they will still never really be able to learn who I am at that intimate of a level because---(AGAIN) they are not me.
Our hearts are God's first and then our own and it takes a lot of time and effort to realize that we cannot rely on other people to dictate whether what's going on inside is valid. It is ALWAYS valid because they are ours and they are unique. They aren't tangible or explainable, even. They just exist. It's what sets us apart. Never should you feel rejected because another human can't offer you up the support in a way that makes you feel validated or understood. It takes years of difficult schooling and Doctoral degrees to even come CLOSE to doing something like that and it takes even more years of experience in that field to be GOOD at that. Two of my best friends are going to school for clinical psychology and counseling. And the amount of respect I have for both of them and their career choice is far beyond what I can articulate. I work in a field in that if I do my job well, I have tangible, objective and concrete results. The workings of the mind are not tangible and it's as complex and unknown as the ocean. And they are going to be Doctors and counselors in that field. That's some stuff.
What I've realized is, I'm not ready to reveal my heart and emotions and feelings until I'm sure of the trust in the relationship--and I feel that this is what God was asking of us. Trust takes time and experience. I think that I want to be keep going on that pursuit of owning my feelings and emotions and bringing them to God first and not projecting them on to someone else with the expectation that they will be able to relate and understand and solve the puzzle of me (impossible). I still have to remind myself of this daily. Even with my closest friends and family. They aren't insensitive. They aren't bad at advice and I no longer sit around angry with them or pushing them away because "they just don't get it". Well, duh Shelby...they really just DON'T get it. And that's ok!!
I'm not called to be bitter toward them for that just like they aren't called to be my Savior. I'm called to love them and be thankful that they are showing concern for me in the best way they know how to and that might be imperfect and flawed. But the good news is--I DO have a Savior and he's everything but imperfect and flawed. And in reaching into the spiritual side of my life, I've been able to soften and heal the wounds of my heart and be genuinely happy again--because he is in charge of the restoration in my life..not me...not another person. And although one day I would like to reveal those things to someone (a husband, ideally), I don't want to do that until I'm sure that they have this same understanding. Because I won't place my heart into the hands of anyone lightly. My future husband needs to be prepared for how my experiences will shape our relationship and the ways that he needs to love me. So basically, the only person prepared and qualified to marry me right now is Jesus, but Justin Timberlake would likely be acceptable, too. ;)
We are all so unique in our experiences and make-ups. And the only being that exists in this world that understands all of those emotions, feelings, soul-level and intangible workings within us... is God. I'm not God, you're not God, your therapist isn't God, your parents, your family, your closest friends--they aren't either. And the only one responsible for entering into that intimate relationship with God is you. Which requires letting go of the expectation that people will understand and fix us and then grabbing hold of the understanding that God knows we are imperfect and stupid and he LOVED us and forgave us regardless. Which is why we need to love and forgive others for being dumbasses. I think that we are all going to be continually disappointed and end up jaded, unless we allow for humility to take root in our hearts. People are going to mess up and they are going to listen to our thoughts and emotions and feelings and deepest secrets and then they are likely going to shit on us one day in one way or another.
Full circle, if we trust only the Lord with our hearts and the most intimate parts of us, we will NEVER be disappointed. And it will also allow us to be so in tune with his desires for our lives, so that the right person (Justin Timberlake) will come into our lives that will be worthy of knowing all of those beautiful and broken parts of us--and will also understand that we are precious and God will have equipped them to handle those parts of us with ease (most of the time--reiterate, we are all stupid sometimes).
Unlike his children, Jesus doesn't mess up and he's not a dumbass. And he doesn't say "your emotions are too much". People say that. Because we really DO feel like some people's emotions are too much because we don't have the ability to understand everyone's shit. And if we did, we would all be tiny Jesuses down here on earth. And that just seems weird and unlikely.
And all that to say, I will not always have the right words for you when you're hurting, and you likely won't know how to save me from the pain of another idiot that I've gone on a date with. Meaning that I can't see into your future and you can't see into mine and say "it's all going to be ok" and I can't give you a how-to book or step-by-step process on getting over a hard time. But, that doesn't mean you suck and I don't care for you. I shouldn't expect myself to be able to know all things to cure hurt and I shouldn't expect other people to know the answers for me either. Because it's God's responsibility to handle our hearts and our hurts. And if we all, as flawed humans, took on that responsibility, we would likely end up feeling helpless and inadequate because we just CAN'T be the ones to do it. But, what we can do is pray for each other and love each other. Me? I'll pray for you and say I love you and then I'll probably just tell you you're cool and then make you laugh because I'm awkward.
I suck at conclusions.