Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fresh Eyes

Do you have someone in your life who you love dearly but s/he also drives you batty?  I do!  Before I get into this post, I want to emphasize how much I do love this person and how I recognize his many wonderful qualities.  He is extremely generous, quick witted, hard working, helpful and fun.  I mean no disrespect to him and am sharing this here for two reasons: to sort out what God is teaching me and to give/receive support and encouragement from others in similar relationships.

My certain someone has that "I am always right" thing going on.  And nothing gets my goat more than the "I am always right" thing.  When I was younger, I felt it was my duty to let Mr. Always Right know when he was quite wrong.  But Mr. Always Right doesn't take criticism well.  (I know, big surprise, right?)  However, that did not deter me back in the day.  Now that I am older, wiser and most importantly saved by grace, I have done a 180 in this relationship.  I choose not to engage in debate with Mr. Always Right.  I choose to value relationship over truth when it concerns things that do not matter.  (Of course, with issues of faith, I still share the truth in love when I am led to do that.)  I choose to keep my mouth shut instead of becoming sarcastic and emotional.  This approach has served me pretty well for a couple of reasons.  First, I don't see Mr. Always Right too often.  Second, when I do see him, it is usually in group settings when he can spread his always-rightness around and so I only get a small dose.

However, for going on two weeks now, I have spent time with Mr. Always Right almost every day.  My threshold for always-rightness has been surpassed and my grin and bear it approach has been worn  dangerously thin.  Although I have not had a confrontation with Mr. Always Right in the course of these two weeks and have, for the most part, refrained from debate or sarcasm, I have felt totally stressed out in his presence.  He can be really relentless when he wants you to agree to something he thinks/wants to do and in the face of this constantly, I have been really angry and frustrated inside.  I've been confronted with the truth that I really have not resolved the tension in this relationship.  The peace that I believed I had achieved in the face of all the always-rightness was false.  When it was tested, it burned up in the fire.  It wasn't peace after all but denial.  It lacked power because I had been operating from the flesh and not the Spirit.

I shared this anger and frustration with several people this week.  One of the insights that was shared with me has stayed on my mind.  Perhaps Mr. Always Right, who is older, set in his ways and does not know the Lord, has little choice but to behave the way he does.  Being an unbelieving man from a generation that rarely seeks professional help for psychological/emotional issues, perhaps Mr. Always Right is a prisoner to his behavior, which appears to be obsessive and anxiety driven.  He does not have access to Power or even worldy tools to change.  But I do!  I have full access to POWER and GRACE and a PEACE that passes understanding.  So I am trying to look at Mr. Always Right with fresh eyes- with eyes of compassion.  I am trying to operate in the Spirit in this relationship and to seek after God's peace in it. 

Can you relate?  Do you have a difficult relationship in your life that needs fresh eyes?  If you've navigated one of these difficult relationships well, can you offer advice for the journey?

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