Are You Counting Yourself Out?

How often do we make the decision for someone else where we’re concerned?

“My past is too bad,” so you assume they don’t want to be with you or spend time with you. “I’m a mess, no one will want to deal with this,” so you shut out yet another friend. “I haven’t been a good friend,” resulting in you not including a long-time friend in special plans assuming they don’t want to be around you.

How many times do we make assumptions for other people based off our own thinking or actions?

I can see why. So often we encounter individuals who, in our mind, rightly judge us based on our actions. This is how it should be right? We all know actions speak louder than words. It makes sense why those in our lives wouldn’t want to be with us when we are less than perfect.

We think we deserve such treatment when we “fail” at life. When we “fail” at relationships, “fail” at decision making, “fail” at _________.

When someone comes along though that doesn’t fit into that mold, what do you do?

This person, instead of passing judgement on us because we didn’t measure up, because we didn’t give more than we took, instead shower love and acceptance.

And we don’t know what to do with it.

I’m just starting to realize this pattern. As humans, we get so accustomed to what we know. If “what we know” is people deserting us when times get tough or we get tough then the resulting belief is that, “I’m hard to deal with. I’m unlovable.” After it happens enough times, we start making the decision for people before they have a chance to abandon us.

It’s a defense mechanism, and we hold so tightly to it so we don’t get hurt. The thing is though, it’s preventing you from having full, life-giving, rich relationships.

When we encounter someone that goes against that grain, we tend to reject it or not trust it. Experience teaches us that people aren’t going to stick it out if you can’t always give too; that love is conditional, “You do this, and then I’ll do this.”

It took me awhile to figure out why some people didn’t trust me at first. I was either “too bubbly” or “too nice” and they instinctually assumed I was being fake or in-genuine. I would get so hurt by it at first until I realized over time that it’s really not their fault. They just have learned to protect themselves in this way, because after all, the world isn’t nice, it just takes and takes until you’re empty.

I would like to throw a wrench in this life philosophy. Can I interrupt your regular broadcasting to bring you a better version of what life and love and friendship is supposed to be like?

I have friends that don’t include me in special gatherings because they haven’t reached out in so long that they assume that I couldn’t possibly want to be their friend anymore. “Hello, I’m Bri, I don’t just dip out because you don’t hold up your end of the 50/50 friendship bargain.”

Guys, hear me on this. True relationship will not be 50/50 give and take. There will be seasons where one friend is stronger than the other. Sometimes this friend will always be the stronger one.

True friendship is not what you can get out of the relationship. True friendship is what you can give.

When both people are operating in this manner, you have a pure example of what relationship was intended to be when both individuals are healthy and whole.

That just doesn’t happen very often in our world. We all have brokenness and baggage and I would venture to say, we need Jesus to truly overcome that.

I have Jesus, and a lot of those in my life didn’t trust me for months in the beginning of knowing me until they saw that I truly just loved them for who they were. I didn’t put expectations on them. I didn’t make them sign an invisible contract of, “I will only be your friend if you hold up your end of the bargain.”

Granted, I will be a human until the day I die and have my less than perfect human moments like the rest of us.. But, I just loved them, because they deserve to be loved. Because they intrinsically have worth and value and I just simply delighted in who they are as a person.

Yes, there is a time for give and take and if a friendship only takes and is quite toxic, I would say putting up boundaries is a wise move.

Toxic relationships aren’t what I’m getting at here – it’s the normal, everyday life ones.

My long time friend who I don’t see very often seemed surprised that I showed up for them when they asked me to. They hadn’t “given” anything to me in a long time, but I showed up. And they were so thankful and quite astonished. They had counted me out and expected me to not show up. In my head though I thought, “Where else would I be? I love you.” I’m so thankful they actually invited me.

Guys. This is how God feels about us.

No matter what we do or don’t do or say or don’t say, God is always right there, ready to give and pour out and love.

We don’t deserve it. Yet, he does it anyway.

Why? Because his love for us isn’t based on us, it’s based on who he is. His love isn’t conditional.

A.K.A. you can screw up big time and he will still show up and show out for you because you’re his and he loves you unconditionally.

You can throw your life away and then when you reach out to him he will still be there waiting for you to come to your senses and run back to him.

You can continually reject him and not include him and he will still come when you ask.

That’s what true love looks like.

It’s now my delight to interrupt people’s false ideas about love to show them a small taste of how God loves. I don’t do it perfectly, but I love to love people. It’s easy now to recognize when people are counting me out because they think I have or will reject them. It’s easy now to recognize when people are isolating themselves because they think no one wants them around.

It’s easy because, I’ve been there myself and God loved that out of me. Now, it’s my genuine pleasure to partner with God to love it out of other people too.

You get up to leave after sharing a hard story about your past – “Oh, wait, I’m not done getting to know you. Please sit back down.” You reach out after so many months of no contact and expect me to not respond only to see me move heaven and earth to be there for you.

Friends. It’s time to do some personal inventory. Stop making people’s decisions for them. Invite, ask, include yourself.

What decisions are you making for people today? How about we just show up as we are and let people make the choice for themselves.

Oh, and know that you’re valuable and have worth and it’s not dependent on your past actions.

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