I’ve been learning a few things lately. Things like how people have experienced me differently than I intended.
It’s eye opening. And not necessarily pleasant.
I think I’m being efficient in directing teenagers to pick up the house, but they hear a drill sergeant at boot camp.
So I’ve begun asking my family how they are experiencing me. Why? Because my desire is intimate connection with my hubby and each one of my kids.
The key to honest feedback is a safe environment to share.
So, I can’t get defensive. I can’t blame. I can’t deflect.
I need to listen with my heart. With love.
Danny Silk explains how we may think we know how other people experience us, but we don’t. Not by a long shot. The only way to truly know is to ask:
- “I was wondering if you have any feedback for me about how this went?”
- “I was wondering how you experienced me in this situation?”
- “I really appreciate that feedback. Is there anything else?”
And the purpose of asking is so we become aware of what is coming out of us and landing on other people.
So we first have to ask ourselves, do we want to love people in their journey or do we want to control their journey so it matches our goals for their lives?
Especially with the people closest to us. Do we see their lives as partially ours to direct or control? Do we see them (or their choices) as an extension or reflection of us, or as a separate entity from us?
Do they have to please us or agree with us to gain our approval and love? Or can they disagree, even at a core value level, and still feel fully loved and accepted? (Acceptance isn’t agreement with their choices. Acceptance chooses to see people as capable of managing themselves without our interference—–even when we don’t agree.)
Fear and Love Aren’t Compatible
What kind of relationships do we want?
When we get outward compliance or agreement from someone who doesn’t truly agree with us, there is fear in the relationship. And fear creates distance.
So do we need things to look a certain way (i.e. kids whose values agree with ours, friends whose political viewpoints are in line with ours), or can we love people and accept where they are without getting all twisted inside.
That twist is rooted in fear. If one of our kids violates godly principles and chooses sex outside of marriage, how do we handle that?
Do we try to project enough disapproval to shame them back inside the lines of our faith, or do we trust them enough to manage their own journey and God enough to love them to Him?
Do we try to become a little god in our own home because we are afraid of a bad outcome if we don’t?
It’s fear in us that tries to control others and it’s fear in them that keeps them from being honest with us.
Jesus never dealt harshly with people who lived sinful lifestyles. The only ones He dealt with harshly were the ones who tried to control others and lacked the Father’s love. The Pharisees.
He spoke truth with copious amounts of love. How do we know this? Because sinners LOVED him. They followed Him around in droves. He never watered down truth, but He loved so well that people wanted to hang around him all the time.
Father, help me to see myself honestly, and through the eyes of Your love. I want to be immersed in love even as I speak and live in truth. Help me to understand how fear operates in me and hinders the intimacy I want with the people around me. Help me to love myself and others well. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Photos via Pixabay