Love and Support

Did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
We all remain

I think everyone is afraid of something. It’s what makes us human. I know people who are afraid of public speaking, love, intimacy, spiders, bees, death, and interviews. The important thing to remember is to never make fun of someone’s fear or discount it in any way. Fear is real to the person experiencing it, and it can be paralyzing in its effect.

The quote above was sent to me in an email today. It made me realize how much I have needed the support and encouragement of someone at times in my life for difficulties I have been experiencing, but the person I reached out to couldn’t give it. We can’t give what we ourselves don’t have.

Sometimes we’re unable to give to others what they need because we are too stressed ourselves. Sometimes we’ve never experienced the quality another is looking for from us; therefore we cannot relate to what is needed. In the process, feelings get hurt, misunderstandings occur, relationships end, and communication breaks down.

To me, that is incredibly heartbreaking. We are all hurting human beings in some way, shape, or form; and we need to be an encouragement to one another. We need to reach out in love and be kind even when we don’t know how to provide what the other person needs. Sometimes just being honest can do wonders. We aren’t always capable of walking in another’s shoes and experiencing life as they have, but we can sit down and listen as they attempt to explain what they are going through. Sometimes they just need to know that someone cares.

When all else fails, a hug speaks volumes. Acknowledging a person’s feelings is sometimes all that is needed. Giving them a sense that they are loved and valued is priceless. When I know I’m loved and valued, I open up like the rose in the poem. I perform better, my outlook on life is brighter, and I feel invigorated.

If reading this post has brought someone to your mind today, send them a quick note to let them know you appreciate them. It may just be the very thing they need to brighten their day.

Come on now … let’s spread some sunshine together!
Lori Lynn

Life Lesson #5: Communication is Key

“Assumptions are the termites of relationships.”  Henry Winkler

“Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.” Fyodor Dostoyevsky

You know how they say if you assume anything, it makes an “a**” of “u” and “me”.  Well, I can attest to that; and it all could have been avoided …

For the past year or so, I have been trying to reestablish a relationship with a dear friend whom I knew years ago and with whom I had lost contact. Things started out relatively well until I started searching for answers to questions my friend was not willing to answer. Instead of leaving things lie and allowing my friend to talk to me in his own time, I became pushy in my desperation to get answers I thought I needed. In the process, I wound up pushing my friend away, and he accused me of having no respect for other people’s boundaries. My mouth dropped to the floor in righteous indignation.  “What? ME?!? No concept of other people’s boundaries?” What in the world was he talking about. I have a history of letting people walk all over me. I have a history of letting people bleed me dry … people who take and don’t give much in return. I knew I had boundary issues when it came to establishing my own boundaries, but I was taken aback by the accusation that I have no respect for the boundaries of others.

At first, I was furious.  How dare he! How dare he accuse me of being presumptuous, judgmental, and righteous to boot.  Who did he think he was? Did he not realize he was being the very things he accused me of being? To top it all off, he accused me of having a hard time understanding other people and their issues (something I happen to be very good at, which those who know me well will attest to).

It would have been so easy to lash out, but I didn’t. I realized there was some truth in what he said. I hadn’t respected his boundaries in this particular instance. He had given me fair warning but had failed to explain himself in the process (kind of like someone yelling “STOP!” as you’re driving along about to collide with a train bearing down at full speed, but you’re too busy talking to notice). Nonetheless, I knew by his tone and by his choice of words that I had crossed the line. He was hurt and feeling attacked. Defense mechanisms kicked in, shields went up, and arrows began flying.

Instead of shooting arrows back, it was time for me to apologize. As badly as I wanted answers to my questions, it was not worth the price of losing an extremely important relationship with someone I dearly cared about. The apology came easy. I meant it. I was sincere. The agony of wondering if the relationship has been irreparably damaged … not so easy to bear.

Had my friend explained a little bit about all the things going on in his life, I wouldn’t have continued to pester him with questions he simply couldn’t deal with on top of everything else. Although I’m very good at understanding the undercurrents behind people’s behavior, I’m a terrible mind reader; so if you’re unwilling to share anything, I’m afraid I will fail miserably. In this case, I hurt my friend deeply and that, in turn, hurt me.

Communication is so extremely vital. When communication breaks down, I don’t know about you, but I do start to assume. My mind kicks into overdrive, and I begin imagining all sorts of scenarios. Satan has a heyday inside my head … feeding me lies that trigger my insecurity and make me start doubting and worrying and second-guessing. It takes concentrated effort to remind myself that just because someone isn’t willing to communicate with me doesn’t mean they don’t like me; it may just mean they have to process things themselves first or they may just have a lot their plate at the moment.

Take my friend, for example.  Over the past year, he:

  1. sold his house,
  2. moved,
  3. started a new job,
  4. had his company file Chapter 11 bankruptcy,
  5. had been dealing with an ill family member.

As my former brother-in-law told me upon hearing I had lost my first baby in utero, “How can people pray for you if they don’t know what’s going on?” How can people walk alongside you as you struggle through life if they don’t know you are struggling? How can people share in your joy if they don’t know you are rejoicing?

Bottom line: Talk to one another!

In this most recent experience with my friend, yes, I was way out of line. I barreled my way past my friend’s boundaries oblivious to the consequences. My need to know something made me blind to the fact that my friend couldn’t handle my questions right now. When he screamed “STOP”, I finally could see the train in my peripheral vision. Suddenly the answers I thought I so desperately needed aren’t that important. What’s more important is that my friend is hurting, and it all could have been avoided if:

  1. my friend had just conversed with me instead of remaining silent, and
  2. I had not jumped to conclusions and made my own assumptions.

I forgive my friend for lashing out at me (stress makes us do crazy things), and I hope he will forgive me in time. In the meantime, I will pray for him … that his stress level will diminish and that lines of communication will once again open up.

Two-way communication fixes so much.  It alleviates stress, corrects misunderstandings, avoids assumptions (and the consequences that go along with them), and fosters intimacy and warmth. It may not happen immediately, but keep at it. Don’t give up. A good relationship deserves the hard work of pressing through and keeping the lines of communication open.

Talk to me …

Lori Lynn

Father … You bring people into our lives for a reason. When we mess up those relationships, may we do all we can to break through the miscommunication and hurt feelings by talking to each other openly until the issue is resolved. Life is too short to be angry and upset. It ruins our health and causes sleepless nights. Grant us grace to be more loving. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

Moving On

Why is a car’s windshield so large and the rearview mirror is so small?  Because our PAST is not as important as our FUTURE.  So look ahead and move on.

I received this as part of an e-mail today.  It resonated with me, because I have spent so much of my life living in the past.  Twenty-five years ago, I met a man with whom I fell deeply in love.  I have very strong soul ties with him and have had a difficult time getting him out of my mind.  He was the man I thought I would marry.  He is the man I wanted to share the rest of my life with.  At the time, I really thought this man felt the same way about me.  I’m not exactly sure what happened.  I just know that I didn’t fit his family’s mold for whom they wanted in their son’s future.  They were quite well-to-do, and I was just an average Midwest farmer’s daughter.  Perhaps part of the equation was the fact that this man’s father was an atheist, and he didn’t like what he saw in Jesus-girl me. 🙂

At any rate, I married another man and never forgot this guy.  I found out a few years ago that he never married.  Silly me thought, “Wow… maybe he never married, because he never found anyone he loved as much as he loved me!”  (What can I say… I live in a fantasy world.)  After corresponding with him a bit via e-mail and phone calls, I am realizing that probably wasn’t it. (Reality check.)  Although I’d like to think he was scared off by his intense feelings for me hitting him blindside, it was probably more the fact that he didn’t really care about me as much as I thought he did.  It used to be that he would call me all hours of the day and talk FOREVER; now when I call him, I’m lucky if he talks for 10 minutes. I have to remind myself not to take it personally.  He’s not where I’m at.  He has moved on, whereas I am longing for what was.

Can any of you relate?  Maybe for you it’s not a lost love.  Maybe you’re like my husband who, with a dream in his heart of one day joining the Air Force, found out on his fourteenth birthday that his newly diagnosed type 1 diabetes meant he would never be able to fly.  Or maybe you’re like my high-school friend who had her heart set on playing the French horn professionally and then lost part of her middle finger while working at a canning factory the summer of our senior year.

What have you done to get yourself past the hurt and the disappointment… the crushed hopes and the reality of what is?  How do you say goodbye to the life you thought you would have and embrace the one you’ve been given?

I wish I had an answer, but I don’t.  The best I can come up with is that I think it’s a process.  I think it begins with  simple SURRENDER… surrendering control… being willing to let some things happen in their own way, space, and time.

I think it requires COMMUNICATION… conversing with our Father in heaven… crying out in anger, frustration, hopelessness, and despair (if necessary)… the main point being to purge ourselves of the heavy emotions (which our loving Father knows already anyway) that weigh down our spirit and make life so hard to bear.  I have cried out (spat out really) in the middle of the night, “WHY?!?  What was the PURPOSE (in having my path cross with this man I loved)?!?”  Maybe it was to teach me that prior to that encounter, I had a pretty self-righteous attitude.  Maybe it was to show me that I am a sinner.  Maybe it was to pray harder than I’ve ever prayed in my life for this man’s father on his deathbed that he might come to know Christ before leaving life here on earth.  I don’t know what the purpose was… but God does.

I think it means learning the art of ACCEPTANCE…  accepting the fact that we may never have all the answers we seek… being open to accepting the gifts God wants to give us in place of what we were grasping so tightly before.

I think it involves TRUST… trusting God to work things out according to His plan… trusting that He knows our future and how everything will be woven together into a beautiful tapestry if we just get out of the way of the Weaver’s hands.

I think it calls for RECEPTIVITY… receiving the love of YAHWEH Himself… allowing Him to be the Lover of our soul.

I think it means SEEKING… seeking a greater purpose outside of ourselves… seeking what part we play in this great orchestra of life.  Maybe we become so focused on the solo we were so sure we’d have that we forget it’s all about resonance.

Whatever the real answer is, there is one thing of which I am certain.  God restores my soul (Psalm 23:3), and for that I am deeply grateful.

Learning to move on and embrace life…

Lori Lynn

Father… I need Your arms around me as I move on with the life You have planned for me.  I don’t want to be holding on so desperately to someone or something that I completely miss my calling.  I want to be open to the life You planned for me when You formed me in my mother’s womb.  You knew each of my days before one of them came to pass.  Lead me now, LORD.  Lead me down a path that will bless many and bear much fruit for Your kingdom.  In Jesus’ Name.  Amen