Weekend links

October 25, 2014 — Leave a comment

weekend links

I’m in the middle of a 31 day series on love over fear in relationships. Here are a few things I read online this week loosely related to the topic that I think you’ll enjoy:

To read the other posts in this series, head here.

tbw.bb

As I get ready for a weekend with good friends and Making Things Happen next week, I’m making a promise to get uncomfortable if that’s what it takes to be vulnerable and tell the truth.

Our strongest moments happen when we put down our weapons and open our hands. That’s priority number one for me right now.

Have a great weekend!

This post is part of a 31 day series on love over fear in relationships. To read the other posts in this series, head here.

Image by @jensane

The root of people pleasing

October 23, 2014 — 3 Comments

people pleasing

I’ve read that many oldest children have my problem. Something about that alone time with our parents makes us acutely responsive to parental disappointment.

We hate it and go to great lengths to either hide our mistakes or avoid doing anything that might garner their disappointment. Their disapproval was the worst punishment I received in my moments of teenage rebellion.

Whether it’s because of birth order or something else, I know I’m not alone in fearing disapproval from certain people in my life. On a really bad day, I even care what strangers think of me.

As it goes with these type of fears, we can turn them into imaginary prison cells- we’ve got the keys, but we’re trapped there as long as we submit to the fear.

I’ve struggled with this forever – trying hard not to disappoint, feeling disproportionately grieved when I make a mistake – but I never really knew where it was coming from, or even that it was a weakness.

As I’ve examined relationships where I feel safe, it’s the ones where I have disappointed – and been forgiven. When I let someone down and she doesn’t flee, the horrible feeling passes and in its place I find room to relax. I learn that this person cares enough about me to accept my flaws, that I’m still worth the time even when I’m not perfect.

So what is it I’m really afraid of when I disappoint someone? At the root of people pleasing is a fear that I’m not worth a relationship when I’m not perfect, that I’ll lose my relationships if I make mistakes.

I’m tired of treating my relationships like a tight rope, expecting to fall into loneliness and rejection at any moment. It’s so exhausting that I keep a lot of relationships on the surface, because it’s harder to disappoint someone who isn’t really counting on you.

Now that I see where it’s really coming from, though, I really can’t stand it. We were not created to live from fear.

If you’re a people pleaser, will you let go with me? There are people who’ll accept us as the imperfect people we are. Can we just let the others be?

We’ve got the keys to the prison, and freedom is ours if we’ll just let ourselves go.

This post is part of a 31 day series on love over fear in relationships. To read the other posts in this series, head here.

Fear is motivated by scarcity

Image by @jensane

The language of “too late,” “not enough,” and every limited supply ad campaign tap into our fears.

I’ve seen myself act from the fear that someone will get there before me: greed, bitterness, and selfish ambition prevail. And I’ve crumpled into hopelessness when it feels too late.

I’m old enough to know that not every dream comes true, and sometimes, it really is too late. What surpasses our broken dreams and missed opportunities are new mercies every morning.

It’s not in the abundant though still finite universe that we find consolation but in the infinite God with whom are infinite possibilities.

This post is part of my 31 day series on love over fear in relationships. To read the other posts in this series, head here.

bear one (1)

In an individualized culture, we learn to make our own way, to bear our own burdens, and to loathe asking for help. The most stressful parts of trip planning for me is finding a ride to the airport and finding someone to keep my dog.

Asking for help is uncomfortable simply because self sufficiency is a deeply rooted American value, and we aren’t practiced at relying on others. Most of us can’t stand feeling like we “owe someone,” either.

Whenever I’m uncomfortable asking for help with something logistical, like the airport ride, Mike reminds me how quickly I’d say yes if the roles were reversed.

But here’s the thing: I’m willing to help, but I still have to be asked, most of the time. My schedule and plans don’t have enough margin for me to think proactively about how I can offer my time or help.

This verse haunts me sometimes, because it doesn’t say, “Say yes when someone asks for help.” It says, “bear one another’s burdens.”

For someone who’s had an agenda since I could walk, this doesn’t come easily to me. I usually call it “drive” or “ambition,” but it can also be selfishness.

I have room to grow on both sides. I’ll do anything I can to carry my burdens entirely on my own, to avoid admitting weakness to even my closest people. On the other hand, I’m usually too focused on my own needs and priorities to proactively ask those same people how I can help bear their burdens before they ask me. In all likelihood, they’ll never ask if I don’t offer first.

If I’m uncomfortable asking for a silly ride to the airport, how will I ever let anyone help with the weightier things, the ones threatening to crush me?

Here’s how I think most of us feel about community and friends:

  • We want to be fully loved, but fear being fully known.
  • We’re willing to help, if it fits within our busy schedules.
  • We don’t want to ask for help unless we’re desperate.
  • We want close friends, but we also want privacy and space – we don’t want them to look to closely.
  • We love to laugh and celebrate with people, but crying together is awkward.
  • We want to carry our own burdens, and carry theirs when it’s convenient.
  • Not only do we not want help, we don’t even want anyone to know that we have burdens.

I’m tired of patting myself on the back for helping people with things that don’t matter, and leaving the heavy things for them to carry alone. I’m tired of keeping such a busy schedule that I feel interrupted by a phone call.

There’s a flip side to this, one I feel strongly about: we can’t bear everyone’s burdens. Energy and time are limited resources. I’m just tired of using them all up on my own stuff, bearing burdens I could really use some help carrying and keeping the people whose burdens I should be sharing at arm’s length.

I have no idea how to start shifting this, but like with most things, I think it starts small and it starts with vulnerability. If I want people to trust me to help carry their burdens, and trust me when I say I want to, I have to go first.

I have to ask for help with the burdens I’m carrying. I have to overcome the fear that they won’t want to help or will think less of me. It’s time to stop hiding and make myself available to carry and be carried.

This post is part of a 31 day series on love over fear in relationships. To read the other posts in this series, head here.

the burdens we carry and ignore