I do not have the answer, but this thought came to me while I listened to someone I love dearly. As they talked, I realized I had trouble engaging with them. I knew why.
Then I sensed this an appropriate topic to mention to help some of us work put words to our thoughts and work through our feelings. This way, we can move beyond the awkward avoidance and maybe get back to civility through engagement and interaction.
The “Why” QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
Why can’t I believe them?
Why don’t I believe them?
Can I point to a specific event or situation that after it happened, I distanced myself?
If so, what was the situation and why did I increase the distance? Possible reasons include:
- Difference of opinion
- Issue with the How (e.g., manner, tone of voice, word choice, too loud, too soft, in public, etc.)
- Motive (you already had questions about why they were in relationship with you)
- Existing doubts (there’s a history between you of them lying to you)
- Bad behavior (e.g., angry rages, silent treatment, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, etc.)
- Faulty filter (e.g., triggers, low self-esteem, parallel reality)
The “What Filter” QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER
For me, this is my best attempt to guard against blaming them. It is my way of checking and inspecting me.
Keeping with the specific event or situation that after it happened, I decided to distance myself… I have to ask some (or all) of the following:
- What did I understand them to say, and is my understanding different from what they said?
- What tone did I attach to written communication (e.g., text, e-mail), and could my assumption of tone be wrong?
- What previous memory did the specific event or situation trigger that made me distance from them like I distanced myself from someone in my past?
- What did I expect from this event or situation? Did I distance myself because I did not get my way?
(This little discussion got heavy fast, did it not?)
Separations are not as cut and dry as we make them so we can move on with our lives. Separations are ugly, painful, and contain residual lessons for our growth if we let truth help us.
The “Who” BIBLE EXAMPLE
One of my lifelong friends and I learned the David-Jonathan lesson years ago. About a year before our separation, we sensed the pulling apart. We did not fall out in an argument, although we could have. We did not distance ourselves to try to “understand” separately what we felt together.
Instead, we grieved together. We cried together. We talked through our friendship and blessed each other for being such a great and affecting presence in our lives. We said, “I love you.” We prayed together, and asked the Father to help us guard our hearts against cruel imagination.
Then the separation came… and there was peace. We had “small talk” conversations now. It was awkward, and a major adjustment, but there was nothing but love and grace. Not five years later, the Lord brought our paths parallel again and we remain close today. We do not talk nearly as much, but we are friends. With our personalities, we could have created the kind of situation that causes distance…without sincerely seeking the Lord’s guidance in transition.
I reference Jonathan and David because they were great friends until the time came for David, the anointed king, to step up to his purpose. Jonathan, the legitimate heir, was sensitive to God’s will, and yielded. He pledged his loyalty in the transition.
Let’s look with the right lenses. The only way we see with the right lenses is when we
- Pray, and
- Ask the Father to open our eyes.
- Then we can see what He sees,
- How He sees, and
- Embrace the understanding for ourselves first, and
- Then gain wisdom about the situation.
Prayerfully, this challenges us all to introspection and examination. When done, I pray the truth makes us free…and then we free them, and reduce the distance where possible.
See well, Royal Ones. Love you all to life.