“If I bend over backwards to show you I love you, will you call me spineless?”
Recently someone on my Facebook news feed posted this quote and I instantly loved it!… I feel like I ask this question to myself constantly. I have been blessed/cursed with a personality that is eager to please, I dislike conflict and generally want others to like me. I think I have actually been called spineless several times… a few times to my face… and I am sure this has been uttered about me many more times behind my back… so this quote sort of embodies one of my life struggles.
I mostly am okay with this because I tend to believe that we are supposed to love others beyond what seems reasonable. If I think I am working too hard to care for those around me then I probably am just starting to scratch the surface of what Jesus has called me to be.
Even though I feel I have a natural tendency to be a lover of others I still struggle in my pursuit to live a life of unreasonable love. I can name three ways that this struggle has plagued my adult life. First I fail often at being loving due to my sinful/broken nature. I am clueless when it comes to boundaries and communicating. I grapple with how to be a tender hearted leader in today’s dog-eat-dog world.
In life I feel I am constantly looking back and seeing how my efforts to do what I thought was the right thing has been tainted by my sinful and misguided nature. I think I am “doing the right thing” because I said sorry or the other party did something WAY worse than me… but you know there was that one time I “vented” my frustration to a friend in a less than kind way about the 3rd party and maybe that got back to them… OR maybe I just said sorry because I wanted to be right… or to avoid conflict… or just for some other selfish reason…
So many other times I have given so whole heartedly to others and came out feeling used and bruised because I lacked the discipline to put in place healthy boundaries in my relationships. I think I have in my life had many many close friends… Really and truly I love being a friend. It gives me so much joy to be there for others! (if you can’t tell I am an extrovert) But many of those friendships have faded… When I look back I think this is the case because I didn’t find ways to communicate my needs in the relationship. This is the struggle of my life… I HATE being a burden on others.. BUT I am learning that in life we are called to give but we always also need to receive. We all universally need. It actually destroys relationship when we are not honest about our needs. I find this to be SO very true in my marriage, my family relationships and friendships…. but this is SOOOOOOOO hard for me.
Another question I constantly ask myself is how can I be perceived as tender hearted and as a leader? In our culture… especially in the work world… it is considered most desirable to be a loud, proud, strong, go getter! I am not any of these things.. I may be an extrovert but not in the ways normal ways… I hate large groups… I get red cheeks every time I have to talk in front of adults… I am instead a one on one sort of extrovert… BUT nonetheless I still aspire to be a leader. I guess I hope to break this mold… I feel like there is a battle in me between giving in to the pressure to try to be that I just don’t care I’m in charge person or the person that comes more natural to me that just doesn’t mind serving others.
So what do you think? If others show you unreasonable love do you think they are spineless or have maybe just scratching the surface of what it means to be a follower or Christ or a caring person?