In the beginning of my last post, I had expressed that I was going to be blogging less this summer and hoped to post every two to three weeks. Apparently, I took a month-and-a-half hiatus instead. Now I am back, ready to write, and there’s something I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. So here it is…
QUIT TAKING THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE FOR GRANTED!
Forgive me for shouting, but I’ve been holding this one in for a while. I guess it all started in mid-June when my mom had a health scare. She had been retaining fluids, evidenced by a 20 lb weight gain in about a week’s time, so she went in for some tests. The doctors found that some of her heart valves were not functioning properly and some leakage was happening within the heart. An exercise stress test was ordered, and the results were not good. The doctors actually had to stop the test because her heart rate began to slow down instead of increasing as it should when under stress. The next step was an angiogram to determine if there were any blockages. Thankfully, no blockages were found and everything turned out well. Through all the testing, it was discovered that my mom has a congenital (from birth) heart condition called myocardial bridging.
At some point while my mom was undergoing all of this testing I had the following thought: “What if I lose her?” It was a very scary and sobering question. Honestly, I didn’t dwell on it for very long. It wasn’t something that I was ready or willing to face, and I wasn’t going to entertain any kind of negative thinking. I’m fortunate to have some great friends who prayed with me. Following this scare, I kept thinking about two female friends of mine. They are not related to each other, but they both profess to be Christians and both have something else in common. Neither of them are speaking to their parents. I kept thinking about these girls and praying for them. I also kept resisting the urge to contact them in lengthy diatribe about how they needed to stop acting like big, bratty, spoiled babies and start communicating with their families again. (See Ephesians 4:31-32, 6:1-3)
Working through disagreements with people is certainly not easy or comfortable, but problems don’t get resolved by ignoring them. If you are one of many people who has been fortunate enough to have somebody (or several people) in your life who has always been there for you, it’s very easy to have the expectation that they always will be. However, just because somebody is always there – whether it be a family member, roommate, or friend – doesn’t give you any excuse or right to push them aside like chopped liver on a plate full of more exciting treats. You should relish every moment that you have together – savor it! Life is short, time is fleeting, and nobody is guaranteed tomorrow. You rarely know when it’s your last moment with somebody. So, it’s important to really invest in the people that God has placed in your life. James 4:14, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
I know what some of you are thinking… “But Angela, I do invest in people. I invest in people all the time, but I’m being taken for granted all the time! I don’t want people taking advantage of me!” Well, I have a simple response for for you. Here it is: Suck it up, and deal with it. I know this may sound harsh, but just bear with me and I’ll explain. First of all, nobody can take advantage of you. It’s simply not possible. You are responsible for your own behaviors and you are responsible for what behaviors you will put up with from others. If you think that you are being taken advantage of, that means that you are aware of a behavior from someone towards you that you do not like, but that you have allowed. If you are aware of it and you have allowed it, then are you really being taken advantage of? I think not. It’s time to take responsibility for your part in it all. No more excuses, no more pointing fingers, and no more martyr complex. Pray about the situation and figure out how to deal with it.
Secondly, I understand how you feel. I actually have a couple of people in my life right now that I have been investing in for quite some time with seemingly “no return” on my investment. Does it hurt? Yes, sometimes it does. Am I frustrated by it? From time to time, yes, I am. So, why do I do it? Because I have spent time in prayer over it, and I am certain that for right now, at this time in my life, I am called into relationship with them. I am also certain that in pouring myself out, I have absolutely nothing to lose and only everything to gain. Personally, I am the type of person who likes to talk things out. I want to confront a situation head-on and get right into the thick of it, regardless of the mess and discomfort, because I feel that in doing so, we’ll come out on the other side with a stronger relationship. However, every time that I have prayed about my particular situation, even though it is natural for me to confront, I have felt that the correct course of action is actually the opposite. So, as difficult as it can be for me, I confidently move forward in these relationships in a non-confrontational way, because I know that I have heard from God.
Take some time to pray about your situation and ask the Lord how He would have you deal with it. Maybe He would have you talk with them, maybe not. Just be obedient to follow through with whatever He guides you to do, even if it’s not what you’d usually do.
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” – Romans 12:18