When Friendship Hurts

Friendship has always been at the forefront of my life.  My weekends revolved around where my friends were, my biggest anxiety about college was meeting people, my ‘career’ goal is really just to be in a position where I get to hang out with and know people deeply.  I’ve basically decided friendship is my vocation.
So what happens when it doesn’t go well?  What happens when you get hurt by a friend?  What happens when someone who has held a very big spot in your heart suddenly causes it to crack a little? (Or a lot?)
I’ve been spending a lot of time experiencing and pondering all of this and I have a few things to admit.  I have phrased them as “When someone hurts me” statements so as to not group you all in with me – but go ahead and personalize it if it resonates with you.  Maybe we can move away from these ugly habits together.
When someone hurts me, I tend to project that hurt onto everyone else. 
I realized that because someone who was close to me proved themselves capable of causing me pain, I all of a sudden believed that everyone in my life was capable of that.  And that they just might do it.  So what is my response?  Put up walls.  Hide away where no one can hurt me. (Yet, as I’m learning, this tends to hurt us more.)
I also think I might have started to project this onto God.  It is the same idea – if someone who loves me is capable of hurting me, God probably is too.  I mean, He allowed it, didn’t He?  How can I trust a God who is capable of hurting me?
When someone hurts me, I suddenly feel guilty.
I admitted this to my roommate and said, “How crazy and ridiculous is that?!  To which she responded, “At least you realize its ridiculous.”  But who knows how long I have been functioning this way. 
I walk away from a situation where I am the victim, and somehow in my mind convince myself that I am the perpetrator.  Am I the only one being this ridiculous?!  Instead of understanding that I have been hurt and working through it, I find a way to tell myself that I am deserving of or did something to deserve that hurt. Now that my eyes are open to that hideous lie, I have to figure out how to shut that down. (I’ll keep you posted.
When someone hurts me, I lose my JOY.  I have been frustrated with myself for a season now because I feel like I’ve lost my JOY.  Sometimes I get out of the practice of looking for it and resting in it, but often it is because my hands are too full with something else for me to hold any JOY.  When we fill our hands with anger and bitterness, we don’t leave any room for contentment and JOY. 
The response to these ugly pits of deceit? 
When someone hurts me, I need to remember Who’s I am and what He did for me.
Jesus will speak over us every day that we are His Beloved; His beautiful child.  Just ask.  He will remind us that He would (did) literally die for us, and would never leave us or cause us pain.  Yes, He allows us to experience pain for our own growth and learning, but He never inflicts it on us maliciously.
I also remind myself of the beautiful friends who have stood by me for a decade, half a decade, or even just a year – but who have all proven themselves loyal and faithful to me time and time again.
When someone hurts me, I cannot let it speak lies about my identity and value. 
It seems like when someone does something hurtful, suddenly I question everything about me.  (Sounds like a crazy girl thing to do, but its true.)  Just because someone caused me pain does not mean I have no worth or purpose.  Just because a friendship is struggling doesn’t mean I misheard God’s calling on my life.  I have to be so confident in who God created me to be that my worth is not defined by how someone treats me but by how He sees me.  Which leads us to
When someone hurts me, I have to release my bitterness and learn to forgive.  Sometimes I dislike the idea of forgiveness because it looks like excusing what the other person did.  But really it does not justify the hurt, it allows me to let go of it.  If we hold onto hurt, it takes us over and makes us bitter and resentful.  To forgive is as much for our own health as for the other person.  I’m still learning what this looks like, so all I can say for now is that if we really want to experience God’s JOY we have to live with open hands.  We have to release it all into His control and let Him work in our hearts and the hearts of others in order to bring restoration and peace.  I haven’t accomplished this, not even close.  But my search for JOY is more important than my grip on bitterness, so I’m going to try to let go. 

God is always in the business of redemptionIn our lives and the lives of others.  He wants us to be a part of it, to experience it.  Because once we learn His love for us – once we experience His redemption in our identity and hearts and souls – maybe the hurt of others won’t sting quite as much.

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I write to process, and sometimes send those thoughts out into the void. Passionate about Jesus and people and bringing those two together. Living in and loving Denver. Working with college students, who are the coolest. Seeking Jesus and JOY in everything.

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