Don’t ask me why…

don’t ask me why i’m writing this tonight.  it’s just on my heart.

looking back over my life’s journey, i have been hurt…really hurt…the kind of hurt that left me emotionally crippled  and so overwhelmed with heart pain that, at the time, i could barely breathe.  it’s only happened a few times, but those moments are burned in my memory.

the words that people used about me…a few to my face, but most done behind my back…were so judgmental, so heartbreaking, so untrue that when i think back about them, i can still relive the pain as if it were happening right now. wow.

if you corner me on a good day and ask me to tell you about some of those experiences, i will probably give you a few highlights…but what  really want to pass on to you is what i’ve learned.

i don’t waste much time on small pain. you won’t find me wasting much time getting my feelings hurt or frustrated by not getting my own way. i’ve definitely learned a lot about picking my emotional battles.

i ache for people who are controlled by their own emotions…who let life’s disappointments dictate their responses. i’ve come out of the pains and hurts in my life with a real determination to be flexible and extend as much grace as i possibly can…especially to people who are younger and less experienced than i am.

there is an unbelievable freedom in being able to live my life without having to have things go my way…or always needing to state my opinion…or having to constantly correct the sins and mistakes of others.

wanda and i joked with each other last night…we really don’t understand why there are some people who don’t like us. all in all, we think we’re pretty ok people.we never raise our voices at anybody. we don’t get mad at people. really. we don’t.  we don’t hold grudges.  neither one of us has a desire to waste even a moment in unresolved conflict with anybody.  we’ve learned to forgive.  yet there are people who have written us off…without ever talking to us or sharing their feelings or giving us the opportunity to explain what we might have done wrong.

i can only conclude that there must have been things that i (we) have done that have caused people hurt or frustration. we’re not perfect. we’re human. but we’re not bad people. i’ve been with wanda for almost 40 years. she is one of the most decent, genuinely nice and thoughtful people I have ever met. there is not a mean bone in her body. her relationship with christ is honest and sincere and gracious. yet there are people who have assumed bad about her…without ever talking with her.

that’s a lot of needless pain and bitterness and judgment to be carrying around, if you ask me!

we work overtime to understand where people are coming from. we take seriously god’s teaching to never let the sun go down on our anger. differences of opinion are simply that…opinions. what you think and feel is just as valuable as what i think and feel.

if you say something that is calloused or insensitive or thoughtless or judgmental or uninformed or rude or distressing or embarrassing or awkward…or simply wrong…the only christlike reaction…the only acceptable response is to give grace and space and time and understanding and the open door to continued dialogue.

why am I writing this tonight? catharsis? maybe. it’s always good for me to write when i’m feeling deeply. but that’s not why i’m writing.

i guess i just wanted to pass on one of life’s greatest lessons…a lesson that i have learned through real pain and real disappoint: don’t waste your time over-reacting to the small stuff. forgive people the way god has forgiven you. live at peace with everybody.  i mean everybody. be flexible, gracious, content and kind. give room for people to make mistakes. take the high road. don’t be a martyr. be the initiator of love.

okay…so that was a little more than one lesson…

i think i’ll sleep well tonight.

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6 thoughts on “Don’t ask me why…

  1. “Life has edges and corners.” I forget now who all said this to me as a child. It seemed a lesson others instinctively knew I needed to learn to brace me for the inevitable deep conflicts of relationships.

    I loved this post, Mike. Your truths were spot on and relevant to me. It took me back to old wounds almost 30 years ago and it reminded me of grace in my day to day life with my kids, especially my son.

    There are so many situations where grace doesn’t feel like its enough. But God always reminds us that when life has edges, that grace IS enough. Grace is always sufficient and God’s grace perfects our weakness and gives us strength.

  2. With my job and my life I am in contact with a lot of people. I mean a lot! Its amazing to me how many of those people are hurting. Not over big things. They are hurting over little small things that fester in them and turns into an emotional beast they can’t control. It may be someone didn’t give them an order, they lost a customer, someone did them wrong, etc…. The list goes on and on of the things that make it the “worst day” of their lives. Any day that you wake up and fail to look for the positives of your day that day will continue to be your worst day. It will continually get worse day by day as your heart turns harder.
    Wake up, celebrate your blessings and be content with the wonderful life that God has given you. There will be other days. More than likely there will be worse days. But if you follow Christ there will be some really good days as well.

  3. On a good day, Of course I am going to ask you why.
    I am glad to know that I am not the only one the learned not to get worked up about the little things.

    Hey, right now there is a delay on our house. I have my Family and friends that want me to jump down the throat of our builder. Yeah, I could break to the pressure of getting mad and getting a pitchfork and posse together.

    First of all its MY FAMILY’s house. Second, I got the answer that is acceptable. I cannot work my self into a frenzy for nothing just to end up back where I started.
    So with my attitude on this dilemma, it seems like I don’t care. Not true. You think I like living with my parents! : )
    I would much rather use the time to coach Avery’s soccer team, watch Jack crawl, carry food up to my wife.

    When we bought the house we put God in it. I aint’ going to change directions now, just because I am not getting my way. There is always something greater at work than me.

  4. Agreed… Don’t sweat the small stuff because when the rubber meets the road on the big stuff, you won’t be able to hang.

  5. Great post.

    I have a tendency to be a martyr about certain areas of my life. And most times I need to just let go and move on. I know that surprises everyone.

  6. A very good friend of mine has a saying that covers this pretty well “hurtin people hurt people.” Chances are when someone causes that kind of pain in your life, there is deep pain in theirs. All you can do is forgive them and move on. Wish forgiveness were as easy to do as it was to type!

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