I dreamt that I ran into Beth Moore and she suggested we have a slumber party. Obviously. And as we were lounging around in our pink matching jammies (because why not?), she asked me, “If you could have anything in the world right now, what would it be?”
My automatic, knee-jerk, heart’s deepest subconscious desire: RELATIONAL PEACE
Deep down, I am just a little girl in a middle-aged woman’s body who has always, always just wanted everyone to like me, who never, ever wants anyone mad at her.
And there are, if I’m counting correctly, ten people who have at one point known me well and loved me, who are no longer in my life, who are disappointed in me, who are judging me, who have distanced themselves from me, who have un-chosen me, who no longer love me. TEN. And that’s just who I know of.
(That number does not take into account my naysayers and critics, those who don’t know me in real life but who sit in judgment upon me and write mean things to me and about me. But, and no offense to those, I don’t count you. I don’t have the emotional bandwidth to carry your judgment on my shoulders.)
I cannot remember the last time I had NO ONE upset with me. (I’d have to go back to my childhood and I wish I were kidding.) And I am a little bit sad about it all the time.
But here’s the thing.
When I mess up, I know that I mess up.
When I mess up, I am a woman who owns it.
When I mess up, I apologize sincerely. And my apologies hold weight. They mean something.
If I hurt you, I will apologize to you from the bottom of my heart. But I will no longer apologize one thousand times as I used to. You will receive one genuine apology.
What you do with it is up to you.
And if I hurt you, and you push me away, I will pursue you. I will make it clear that I love you and I want you in my life. But I will no longer chase you down and try to convince you that I’m worthy of your love. I I will no longer beg for the affection of anyone.
If you have walked away and then decide you want a relationship with me, that will be up to you, I will welcome you back into my life with open arms and a God-protected heart.
If you have walked away in a way that was hurtful and you then decide you want a relationship with me, and if you have owned your part and sincerely apologize for how you hurt me, I will prayerfully consider whether to welcome you back into my life with open arms and a God-protected heart.
But if you have walked away in a way that was hurtful and you then decide you want a relationship with me, and if you have NOT owned your part and sincerely apologize for how you hurt me, I will not be letting you back into my life or heart. I just can’t. At this age, I do not have the time or energy to allow people who have hurt me to just keep hurting me.
I falter between the following two states, when I’m faced with this kind of situation:
utter despair, crying, grieving, obsessing, rehashing, begging and pleading, over-apologizing, apologizing for parts that aren’t even my responsibility
you know what?? I’m a darn good person, friend, mother, wife, fill-in-the-blank, and if you walk away from me, you will be missing out because I added love and support and prayer to your life and that’s your loss
Neither camp is healthy or Jesus-y. Neither is sustainable.
So, if I hurt you, I will say I’m sorry. And then I will let you go. And then I will love the people in front of me who want my love.
Relational peace is my dream. One day. When we’re all with Jesus face-to-face, he will somehow make it come to be.
HOLIDAYS FOR THE HURTING: 25 Devotions to Help You Heal is available in THREE FORMATS this season:
-25-day e-devotional sent to your email every morning in December: https://elisabethklein.com/product/holidays-hurting-daily-e-devo/
If there were a person I would love to sit down and chat with, you are my girl. I feel lost in a sea of emotions. Battling the ups and downs in warrior clothes protecting my childlike heart. I have become a horrible individual in the face of pain. Bitterness is my wilted flower in a garden of beauty. And yet, I lavish in her, refusing to cut her down. She is my only strength. A shield that protects me against the enemy of selfishness, harshness, lies, deceit, and indifferences. I fear her death because that is where I become vulnerable letting every foul thing break another piece of my heart. A sensitive heart that screams for protection and kindness and love. I need these three things in order to let go of bitterness. I would love to chat.
Sweet Patti, I do not believe that you have become a horrible individual in your pain. And even if bitterness is sneaking in, there is still hope and time to turn things around. I emailed you about working together.
This spoke to me Elisabeth. I love how you are not afraid to ‘lay it out there’, not pretend that everything is perfect. I’ve learned from you over the past couple years, that life is hard and messy, and won’t ever be perfect this side of heaven, and that gives me peace to know it’s okay if my life isn’t what I thought it would be at this age because God knew how it would turn out, and if we keep our eyes on him, He will keep our paths straight and we will follow his plan.
I appreciate you and your writing so much, thank you.
Ellen, thank you for reading (for years!) and thank you for these sweet, sweet words.
Kind of confused. At one point you say you will pursue the person you hurt, then later you say you will let them go….
I mean that I will let the person know I love them but I will no longer be a woman who begs for affection from someone who doesn’t want it. My pursuing will not last forever (like it perhaps used to).