I love sports, always playing for one team or another growing up. And when my boys were younger, I had no greater pleasure than sitting on the sidelines watching them play. Therefore, it comes rather naturally to reference defensive and offensive terms when talking about life. It seems there are those people always hunkered down in protection mode, guarding what they have (defense), and others who engage a more forward stance, aggressively forging headfirst into life (offense).
Which are you? Do you vacillate back and forth depending on the situation?
When it comes to relationships, I’m going to argue that many of us operate in a defensive posture, but an offensive one is far more advantageous, as long as God is kept in the center of your words and actions.
Have you ever felt like a ping pong ball, vulnerable to the whims, insinuations, attitudes, and missiles launched in your direction from the people around you?
If so, welcome to my world.
I never used to be this way. It was easier to be hard, calloused, and not care what anyone said, thought, or did.
But then I got soft.
Now I’m trying to find my middle. That healthy place where I evaluate the source, investigate the situation, speak up when required, and take decisive action if necessary.
Perhaps you feel like a victim. At someone’s beck and call. Completely vulnerable to how people are treating you.
For instance, you’re having a good day. Things seem to be relatively balanced and in order. Then you have an encounter with a good friend that just doesn’t feel quite right. You’re left concerned, confused, sad. Are they mad at you? Did you say something wrong? Did they take something the wrong way?
Instantly the world shifts.
The birds that were singing before are still chirping their lovely tune, you but can’t hear them. The warmth of the sun is radiating down from the heavens but you can’t feel it. The world is just as it was a few seconds ago, but your heart has been pierced and it feels like instant doom and gloom.
Until the situation is resolved. Or you figure out you were mistaken and all is well.
And then you can hear the birds again and feel the warmth of the sun.
It’s like a Yo-Yo.
Up and down. Down and up. Constantly reacting to the force that’s being placed upon you.
But it can be different.
With a few offensive moves, you can substantially limit that Yo-Yo action and enjoy a more even keeled approach to relationships.
- Walk with confidence. Chances are you don’t going around trying to intentionally hurt someone’s feelings or offend them. Someone who loves and respects you is going to discuss any issues with you before making judgement. If they don’t, is it really a friendship you care to keep?
- Communicate. If you have concerns with the status of a relationship, talk with the person eye to eye if possible; by phone if necessary. Avoid text and email unless you’re convinced it’s the best way to communicate with someone. Hit the situation head-on.
- Think logically. When trying to evaluate if there’s anything to worry about or not, removing the emotion will allow you to analyze much more effectively. This doesn’t negate the feelings you have, but making decisions based on feelings isn’t always a wise choice. Are you being overly sensitive or paranoid, or is there truly an issue? Use your head to decipher, then let your heart participate with whatever action is necessary.
- Ditch the drama. Discussing an issue is one thing, but arguing over petty issues, engaging in gossip, allowing feelings of jealousy to run rampant, holding grudges, or being hyper sensitive is no way to nurture a healthy relationship. Don’t settle for less from the other party either.
- Pull the plug. Instead of tormenting yourself with draining, destructive, and unhealthy relationships, pull the plug. What do you have to lose except for strife, frustration, wasted time and energy. Declutter, if warranted, the people continually spoiling your opportunity for peace and joy.
I’m going to tell you something right now. It’s hard. REALLY HARD. Addressing the awkward, standing up for yourself, reining in your emotions, and stepping away from the victim mentality takes determination. And strength. And God.
Ask God to be part of your journey. He’s always ready, willing, and able, but invite him along for the ride. Hold verses of strength close to your heart. Allow God’s word to shore you up. Right is right and wrong is wrong. We are to call it for what it is. God wants you to be happy. Healthy. Whole. He desires you to keep company with those who are wise, loving, and compassionate. And to make the tough decisions when necessary. Here are a few verses to get you going:
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
“Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.” Proverbs 14:7
“So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” James 4:17.
There are far too many more to list, but take the time to create a list of verses which speak to your heart.
I hope you enjoy this song and adorable video about friendship by Bruno Mars.