I had a thing happen between me and another person. I did something that damaged the relationship. This other person let me know what I had done wrong in ways that really threw me.
I felt shame. I felt guilt. I felt remorse. I felt sorrow. I cried for about an hour-and-a-half. Like, sob-cried.
And then I did what I do a lot when I feel stuck or don’t know how to handle something even after talking it through with Jesus…..I met with my mentor.
I told her everything I had done and then how it was handled. I said all this through tears, clutching tissues and feeling so ashamed for my behavior. So ashamed you have no idea.
And she looked at me and said, “You know, sometimes the other person might be wrong.”
She pointed out that sure, I was wrong to say the things I had said that got this whole ball rolling, but then she pointed out that I had apologized – maybe even too many times, that I had owned it, that I had agreed, that I learned something that I intended to work on and put into practice. She pointed out that the way it was handled was not alright.
And I sat there, the shame dissipating. “I was wrong for what I did,” I told her, “but you’re right…it was wrong how it was handled. That wasn’t okay.”
Here’s the thing though that blew my mind the most.
Last summer, I led a small group of precious women through a study on how to get our shut-down, broken-down hearts to open back up, and how to guard them and protect them, as Proverbs tells us to. And it occurred to me that it took me fifteen years to realize that what was going on in my marriage was truly wrong. And it took me fifteen years to realize that some advice I had gotten along the way on how to fix my marriage had unintentionally done more harm than good.
But that night – from being yelled at to realizing being yelled at was wrong – was only five hours.
It used to take me fifteen years to realize someone else might be wrong in how they’ve treated me. Nowadays it takes me five hours. My mentor told me, as I continue to heal and grow, there will come a point when in the middle of the actual conversation, I will know it’s not right – that the other person is wrong – and I will even know how to handle it right then and there.
I’m totally not there yet. But fifteen years to five hours is some pretty amazing growth in my book. And I’ll take it.
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