November 7, 2015
"It is never wise for us to punish the weak for the injuries the strong have done us."
-"Taming Fire" by Aaron Pogue
As a child, I was extremely shy. My family moved around quite a bit, and having to make new friends tended to feel more like a burden than a privilege. Since I knew I would be leaving eventually anyway, I didn't bother to share my feelings with other children or adults, and many times I chose to be alone in my own world. The swings on the playground were my friends, and I felt as though I could soar into my dreams, ones of stability, safety, and a family that didn't have the issues we had. I wanted acceptance from everyone, but kids can be cruel, and life isn't easy for anyone. I was too busy worrying about what others thought of me instead of seeing myself as a pretty cool kid, one who got up in front of a whole auditorium of parents, teachers, and students to sing a solo. Now that's amazing for such a shy girl! Still, I felt weak and unsure of myself. When I became an adult, I ended up getting into an abusive relationship that lasted a couple of years. It took a lot of time and God's grace to help me become the person I am today.
Unfortunately, I developed a deep dislike of weakness. Growing up, I learned the weak were picked on and not respected, and I learned not to cry. For instance, to this day, I automatically expect certain things from my mate, namely his total protection, and when I feel I don't have it, I lose respect for him. This has also affected how I view others who seem weak to me. The reason I am this way is because I never want to feel like a wimp, get taken advantage of, and have a low self-esteem again. Anything that reminds me of the things that once brought me low makes me lose trust in that thing or person. Incidents I've gone through and people I've interacted with in my life have made me develop a defense mechanism enabling me to keep what used to haunt me away from me as much as possible. (Obviously, I'm still a work in process).
I watched the movie "The Mocking Jay, Part 1" a few months ago, and I believe it was the Director who said, "People don't always show up the way you want them to." The point is that people will disappoint us because we expect them to be what we need them to be, not thinking about the fact that nobody is perfect and has their life altogether. We all come from something that has shaped us into who we are. Nobody escapes life's lessons, but some do adapt to them better than others. But, just because we can't escape lessons, it doesn't mean we need to hide in the shadows from the ones that bring out our deepest fears. At times, we don't have a choice when we'll face those fears, so all we can do is put on a brave face and step forward. That alone is the first step toward freedom.
I am ashamed to admit there have been times when I've held another person's weaknesses against them. I only let people into my life who I can count on to be there for me, and I know I'm not alone in this. I have gotten angry at loved ones because of what I perceived as their inadequacies because I got hurt by them. I wanted the pain to stop, and I wanted to be in control of what I was prepared to deal with, regardless if the other person had their own personal hell they had to fight. I've held those closest to me responsible for not understanding what I needed from them. I was punishing them for their weaknesses because of things that happened to me that were out of my control long ago, things that stronger people than myself did to me.
I am truly sorry for ever putting my own issues onto the shoulders of those closest to me. I expected them to carry what I couldn't. It is unwise to expect the people we care for to unravel our past and fix it for us. In reality, it takes a lot of work, prayer, and the grace of God's healing power to help us face our fears and move forward, leaving the past behind. People can play a part in the healing process, but they cannot become the process for us. Laying down my weaknesses at the throne of God is the only thing I have done that actually helps me heal when all else has failed me.
We all have shortcomings, and many times our shortcomings become our crutches, ones that are visible and felt by those closest to us. Instead of blaming someone for something we don't understand, we should give them a break (as long as it isn't endangering anyone of course). I think if I had given myself better than I thought I could have received when I was younger, things would have probably turned out differently in my case. I wouldn't have had a reason to develop the unhealthy views that traumatized me for so long. Now, I state my mind and know my worth. The point is, we don't have to accept our limitations. Our weaknesses don't have to define who we are. God, Himself, knows where we are weak. It's much better to trust Him to use His strength in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9), and it's best to open up and let people in, let them understand your motivations for acting the way you do. It's the way to prevent many misunderstandings. Just because someone who was stronger than you took advantage of you at one time in your life, doesn't mean it has to be for all time.