Sunday, October 23, 2016

Notice Goodness

   The past few months have been emotionally hard for me. I've always been very closed. Very cautious, with a minuscule circle of those I know I can trust because it's been proven. About a year ago I tried opening up. Thrust myself out on a big, scary limb of friendship and putting myself out there. I have been met with love and connection from precious people put in my path. I've also been met with deep hurt, manipulation, back-stabbing, and been used for what I have to offer then cast aside- all by seemingly wonderful people.
   Why is it that the hurt resounds the loudest? A friend made us a huge, delicious meal this week. I was blown away with her love and kindness. Another friend offered to come to me when I'd forgotten my wallet and found myself 40 minutes from home without my wallet, and pay for my groceries so I didn't have to drive all the way home to get the forgotten wallet. In response to a Facebook post about my son's struggles, he has received more than 40 birthday cards and messages this past week, encouraging him and loving on him. Yet as I lay in bed sick all weekend, alternating between sleeping and scrolling Facebook and Instagram on my phone to keep me awake long enough to feed the baby, I was overcome with the pain of rejection as numerous friends posted pictures of themselves and their children at each other's birthday parties and fall get-togethers, none of which we were invited to, despite all being friends with the same connections and children the same age, or mamas going on the "wine and art" nights together- all of which I know, am connected to the same way- and yet I've never once been invited to such a thing. I've even been UNinvited from things by receiving an email telling me I was welcome at a later gathering, but not the soonest one- Oh, but if we happen to need to use you for your very specific skill set as it relates to this social gathering, we will let you know(no, I'm not kidding. That was seriously said)- with absolutely no explanation and the person has completely avoided me since. What's wrong with me? Why didn't I enter their mind to invite? What terrible thing did I do to be UNinvited from a women's prayer meeting, of all things? Admittedly, this realm of "friendships with lots of people" is new to me. I am not kidding when I say that I have always been very, very closed with my heart, and I've always had many acquaintances- people I know but there's no relationship there- but very few friends. I had a little pity party among my tissues and hot tea in my bed, then I picked up my book to read. This was the very first line on my bookmarked page in Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst:
It's time to stop the lies and devastating hurt stemming from this kind of circumstantial identity[in human relationships]. 
Wow. That was exactly what I needed to hear. I often get hung up on the hurt. Dwell on the meanness from others, succumbing to rejection, allowing it to control my mind.  I started reading this book when it was recommended to me because of the hurts I've been struggling to deal with, and it has had so many zingers that have hit my soul just right.

The mind feasts on what it focuses on. What consumes my thinking will be the making or breaking of my identity.
That. Right there. Yes, people make mistakes. Yes, even lovely, well-meaning, generally wonderful people can do very ugly things. And they hurt. But I don't need to be consumed by them. I can take a deep breath, process it, acknowledging my feelings rather than stuffing them and not being honest with myself, then choose to focus on the right things. Hurt will still exist, but I can choose where my focus lies. I can focus on the good, the lovely, and the true, and let the rejection, the ugliness, and the hurt fall away. I don't need to let it break my identity and who I know I am. Friends and relationship- real relationship, not just people I know and whom make nice with me and my family when we're in the same place- totally exist in my life, and I need to cherish them, not focus on the hurt and rejection. There is so much good. Deal with the bad, the hurtful as it comes, but focus on the good. It is everywhere.

Oh, and if you haven't ever heard of it, check out Uninvited by Lysa Terkeurst. SUCH a good book about relationships.

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