Authentic compassion

Have you ever gotten to the point of just being done with something or someone? Have you ever hit that point of being so burdened or depleted of energy and resources by something or someone that you just want out?

I’ll admit I have been there, both with situations and people. And I’m guessing I am not alone.  I find myself frustrated, inconvenienced and often annoyed by these types of people.  Often, interactions are unsolicited and uninvited. And until recently, I would often set firm boundaries and cut them off completely because I was tired, I was depleted, I did not find a desire for a mutual relationship.  And when we ignore the soft gentle ways of God’s lessons–He often delivers a…shall we say…more powerful lesson-or kick in the gut.

Until recently, I didn’t understand the lesson God was trying to teach me. Until recently, I was selfish when it came to “these people.” Until recently, I was playing like I  had control in my relationships.  Until recently, I claimed that I had set my selfish desires aside and “listened to God” for the answer. Until recently, I claimed I was doing what the Lord was nudging me to do.

THAT’S WHEN HE CALLED MY BLUFF.

In dealing with a particularly needy person who often interacted with me against my desires or wishes. I was tired, I was annoyed, I didn’t feel comfortable or safe when interacting with this person. I was about to enforce my firm boundary of please stop contacting me–aka get away you crazy person–when I had this deep conviction to stop and not hit the send button for that email. I heard the Lord whisper to me–“show her who I am through you. Don’t give up on her, when you do, you shame me.

UGH, AND THAT WAS THE TAKE MY BREATH AWAY KICK IN THE GUT MOMENT.

He was right. The Lord always chases after the lost straying sheep. Do I, or do any of us, think we are better than Him, in that WE get to choose who we show love to?

 
Absolutely not!
 
I’m not suggesting we are called to be best friends with everyone, I am not suggesting not to have boundaries or even that everyone needs to know our story but what I am suggesting is that we are called to love everyone as He has loved us. Period. Always. No matter how annoying and burdensome they may be in this phase of their journey.
 

In my case, this person basically regurgitated a lifetime of pain and unresolved issues onto me. And I let it happen. I tried to gently step away, not responding, not interacting at the frequency desired. This person would often attend the same functions as me, would pursue the same interests as me and even got involved with my professional business. Often I would feel attacked despite the lack of depth of relationship and this person would demand accountability from me where none was (in my opinion) warranted.

But, God offered me another perspective. Has this burden or depletion of energy come from someone who is deeply wounded and is grasping at anyone and anything to help them? Was this person desperately grasping at anything and anyone who would listen? Turns out that was exactly what happened.

It was very recently that I read another blog with a seemingly similar situation. So, I know I am not alone in this struggle. The big difference is how I am choosing to respond to my God by helping and loving this person.  As much as I wanted this person out of my life, the truth is relationships good, bad or ugly are meant to teach us lessons.

I like to remember Ephesians 4:22-24,

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

When people begin to heal and strip away the coping mechanisms that served them well in the past, but no longer serve a purpose, an internal collapse can often occur.  We sometimes refer to this as a crisis or downward spiral.  When people are able to relinquish these old mechanisms and truly begin to see and become the true self, the true spirit that God created, this is when the real healing happens. This does not mean they are a phony, a fraud or unauthentic…it means they are discovering who they are in God!!  For us to claim that they are fake or a fraud, is very risky.  It implies that we know better than God as to who this person truly is at their core spirit.  Often people judge before seeing the whole person.  Often they meet someone in the stripping away of layers/mechanisms process, as I did in my situation.  However, we only have control over how we as individuals will respond.  I for one will not judge another’s process because it doesn’t look like what “I” think it should look like!!

By finally taking my blinders off to what God was trying to teach me, I discovered one truly spectacular human being. Time and pressure had taken their toll and nothing had helped. Hoping for help and a glimpse
of love this person reached out repeatedly to me. Today, we have a very close relationship and healing is happening in miraculous ways.

I’m not sure who God actually saved in this lesson.  My friend who is alive and healing because I listened, or me because my friend was instrumental in exposing my unauthentic/hypocritical/poser way of living. Maybe God saved us both by having our paths cross.

Are you living authentically? Are you prepared to answer the Lord face to face on those you have shunned? Are you prepared to explain why the one sheep wasn’t worth it? Are you prepared to defend the shame inflicted upon Him when you judge, gossip about and ignore the hurting?

May God show each of us how to change our ways before it is too late. You never know when you are
someone’s last hope.
 
Love and Light,
Michele
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