Tonight was Journey Group night and again I am challenged to consider new things this week. I have been involved in small group leadership for 16 years and still with every teaching and small group, I walk away with something new to consider. Tonight we talked about our style of relating and where we may offer our heart and where we may protect our heart. A style of relating is the characteristic manner of both offering and protecting oneself in social interactions.
It was in this lesson many years ago that I began to understand how I Corinthians 13:11 may apply to my life: When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a (wo)man, I did away with childish things.
As I considered the ways I was relating to family and friends, I realized there were places that I was more concerned with protecting my heart than offering my heart. I realized that I thought if I loved someone else, it required them to love me, I lived believing that I didn’t have much substance and so my focus was to keep the attention on others, instead of sharing my own journey.
Now, if you are a regular reader of my blog, you may know that the journey to my heart has been a journey of the last 16 years and on that journey, I can confidently say I am maturing and learning to put childish ways behind, but it is not something that is mastered and forever behind me. It is a choice I must make in my actions and interactions, day after day, again and again.
I have learned relating well to other’s requires me to understand my story and awaken a curiosity about why I relate the way I do.
I have learned the difference between demanding what I long for and asking for what I need.
I have learned asking for what I need, doesn’t mean I will always receive it.
I have learned it requires maturity to be honest about my disappointment rather than to give up on asking for what I need.
I have learned not making a decision causes a lot of chaos in the world of others.
I have learned if you don’t like my decision, it doesn’t mean you don’t love me.
I have learned if you don’t like my decision, it doesn’t mean I am wrong.
I have learned it takes maturity for me to consider changing my decisions based on the input of those I trust.
I have learned it is more beneficial if I don’t make your struggles all about me.
I have learned to love another person well is often complicated in some way.
I have learned that I am a complex person and not always easy to love.
I have learned to say” I am sorry” is often enough.
I have learned when I add BUT to my apology, the impact of my words are often diluted.
I have learned my intent is often very different from my impact.
I have learned my impact is what makes the impression on another person.
I have learned to be curious about my relationships.
I have learned that every day I can identify ways I loved others well.
I have learned that every day I can identify ways I have not loved others well.
I have learned that accepting and embracing myself and those I love, allows me to grow in ways I would never envision. When I am willing to focus more of my energy on living curious, content, honest and at peace, I find it easier to offer my heart to others.
I am thankful for the journey to my heart….it is a journey that has truly freed me to love myself and others well!
To God be the Glory!