Living in the Light

By Steph

Can I be real with you for a minute?

This is going to be an odd Works For Me Wednesday.  It’s not about cleaning, or organizing, or any sort of “how to” that will make your life more simple.  Actually, if you take what I say to heart, it will make your life more difficult, initially at least.

Let me back up and share some background information first, though.

Recently (and I use that word somewhat loosely) Matt’s and my families have said some pretty hurtful things to us.  All of these comments were said during conflict, and only a couple of them have been resolved.  Most of these wounds are still open. 

Here are the messages that have been spoken into our lives by the people we love:

Quit trying to act so perfect and like you have done no wrong.

I don’t want a sister like you.

It’s bullshit that [Steph] should want a response [to her email].

You use high and mighty words.

You may think that you have righteous reasons for doing that, but…

You little shit.

I don’t EVER want to be part of your family.

For awhile, I handled the verbal/written attacks well enough.  These comments were made by several different people, none of whom spout verbal abuse non-stop.  It’s just that they lose control during conflict and think that it’s acceptable to say how they feel no matter the cost.

Well, the cost turned into this:
I have become paranoid about what people think about me. 

As our families have continued to hurt us with their words, it’s made me start to wonder what other people I love might think about me.  Out of the blue I will wonder if a friend is thinking that I’m bragging about something or that I was being rude, and the list goes on and on.

I’m not one to avoid hard conversations, so I decided to take these feelings head-on. 

For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord.  So live as people of light!  For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
Ephesians 5:8-9

I decided to bring my feelings to the light.  I started sharing my paranoia with my friends, my family in Christ.  I opened myself up, repeatedly, and shared that I was worried they might be thinking something bad about me.

The result?  Most of the time, they say, “No, I wasn’t thinking that at all!”  And that opens a door for them to speak truth into my life rather than hatred.  One conversation at a time, they are defeating the lies that have been planted in my heart.  Lies that say I’m a crappy family member, a crappy friend, and a crappy Christian.

And occasionally, it provides an opportunity for a friend to say, “Actually, I meant to talk to you about this but I didn’t know how to bring it up.”  Those conversations are hard but worth it.  Because with those people, they aren’t verbally abusing me.  They have my best interest at heart and they want to keep a healthy friendship.  At the end of those conversations, conflict is resolved and the relationship is stronger.

But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.
Ephesians 5:13

Healthy relationships allow you to express yourself, even if what needs to be expressed is paranoia about what the other person might be thinking about you.  I encourage you to strive to have healthy relationships even when it’s hard to bring your feelings to the light.

It’s not easy.  In fact it’s pretty hard sometimes.  But It Works For Me.

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