Tuesday, February 5, 2013

What Hinders My Relationships

My response to a question posted by Chris Maxwell in the section "Adding" in his new book Pause. I hope you will take the time to check out his book and testimony.

Question: What hinders or prevents you from making new friends and adding new activities to your life?

The good thing about not having any money is that you know people aren't friends with you because of it. We used to have money when my husband was a nuclear engineer, but we felt God was calling us in a different direction, so we walked away from the comfort and lifestyle we enjoyed for a simpler and more modest one.

At least I thought it would be simpler. My husband went into ministry. And suddenly we had a lot more friends. That is until the honeymoon phase was over. I found out quickly that when someone is upset with your minister husband or another minister on staff or a church board decision, sometimes they take it up with the wife and sometimes they take it out on the wife. Long story short, my friends list got a little shorter.

When we left ministry, the same thing happened again. Come to find out, a good number of those people I thought were my friends were not attracted to me, but rather they were attracted to our position. Thankfully, they weren't all like that. Some didn't abandon us at all. And sometimes it was understandably more a case of 'out of sight, out of mind.'

I thought things would be different when my husband went into education and athletics, but little has changed.

It's difficult to know who your real friends are.

Experience is teaching me to keep people at a distance. This is hard for me because I'm pretty open and trusting, yet I find it a necessity in order to keep my sanity and to keep from getting depressed or discouraged.

I don't have much of a problem adding new activities in my life, but I struggle adding new friends. What hinders me are things like a lack of trust, past hurts, the possibility of future disappointments, fear of being used and rejected.

It's not that I don't want to add friends. I do. But I'm tired. Tired of going home and licking my wounds because someone liked me last week and snubbed me this week. Tired because someone laughed with me last week and snarked at me this week. Tired because someone understood last week and judged me this week.

This sometimes causes me to seem moody, and sometimes I sit alone. I like for people to like me, so it's difficult for me when people don't. It's even more difficult when there's nothing I can do about it. So sometimes I act a little weird and standoffish even to those I can trust. I'm sorry if I push people away sometimes. I don't like that, but sometimes my heart doesn't know what else to do.

I can't change what others do, but I can change how I react to it.

I am going to hold onto the hope and the promise that there are people out there who like me for me. The others are just missing out. I just hope I don't push away the good ones because of my fear of the other ones.

So that's what hinders me.

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