I’ve been hurt by someone. It hasn’t been a ‘knife in the back’ or a ‘slap in the face’ kind of hurt. It has been a slow rub, more akin to a rug burn or a blister. Have you been there? Are you experiencing it now? I want to share the story with you because I have suddenly realized its happy ending and perhaps it will benefit you today.
My intention is not to call anyone out or make them feel badly, so I will speak generally and call my antagonist Sue. I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that what I’m about to tell you will change my life, certainly in the immediate future, and likely forever. I am hoping it will be useful to you too. This is the story of how I suddenly realized that my hurt was never really about Sue.
Sue and I are friends. Perhaps you have you heard the saying:
“People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.” Unknown
Well Sue is in my life for a season. I know that. We need each other to be able to accomplish goals that we share right now, but we don’t have many points of commonality beyond them. We get along well though, and our partnership has been enjoyable for several years. Until recently.
A little bit ago, Sue undertook a new set of goals, even though our shared ones were not yet reached. Since then, she has consistently cancelled our plans, last minute, to pursue her new priorities. When she has shown up, she has used our time to further her other agendas.
She has expected me to expand my efforts to encompass and complete her commitments to our goals without asking if I am willing or able to do so. And when I’ve tried to step up but had questions about it, she has expressed frustration over the intrusion of my asking. The warm collaboration we once enjoyed has frozen over and it hurts.
Again, this post is not about Sue. This is about a light coming on for me. I knew I needed to use the situation to learn how to handle these kinds of things. This isn’t the first time it has happened in my life, and it won’t be the last. I’ve prayed about it, day after day, for the past several weeks. Yesterday morning, I woke up with a thought – the lightbulb popped on in my head as my eyes opened.
I suddenly realized that my hurt was never really about Sue. I am not brilliant on my own before coffee. And even after coffee, it’s questionable, so I knew the illumination had come straight from God.
For context, Sue has not been my only stress point over the past few weeks, but she has been the icing on the cake. I have had little time for my normal routine and the message that came through my grogginess as I awoke yesterday was this:
“You have been the Sue in our relationship lately. She has been an object lesson for you.”God
I immediately knew it was true. I had agreed with God to work on some things, but I have become engrossed in different priorities and allowed them to consume my time with Him. I have dominated our conversations with the things which were now at the forefront of my mind.
I still expected Him to be about our other projects, but I was no longer regularly investing in them. In fact, when He would remind me of it, I expressed dissatisfaction at how overwhelmed I was. I was most definitely behaving like Sue.
One infinite difference, however, is that my friendship with God is not for a season. It is for my lifetime and into eternity. So, pushing that relationship aside for anything else is much more serious than what Sue has been doing. I was immediately humbled.
And, with the humility, came the realization that Sue does not deserve my frustration. She was acting exactly as God intended in order to teach me this lesson. I couldn’t hold her at fault. In fact, I was grateful to her!
I changed my mindset accordingly and let her off the hook. From here on out, I will not expect more of her than she wants to give, and I will do my best to accomplish my goals without her. That way, if she shows up at all, I will be pleasantly surprised, and my attitude will be bright.
Additionally, now that I have my priorities back in order, I am guaranteed to succeed in what God has for me. If the goals I used to share with Sue are important to my Lord, He will help me to accomplish them well. If they aren’t on His agenda, I’m willing to let them go. I want my to-do list to be editable by God 24/7.
What does your schedule look like? Does it reflect what is profoundly important for you today? Is someone else’s failure dictating your level of joy? Has God nudged you with any sudden realizations lately?
This adventure called life is certainly full of surprises. I’m thankful that I have suddenly realized that my hurt was not really about Sue. It was about the lengths God would go to remind me how much He loves me (and you!) and wants me (us!) to protect my (our!) time with Him. He set up the most appropriate object lesson I could imagine, and it has changed the way I will likely view things from here and forever forward. I hope it benefits you too!