Real and honest relationships are messy. If you take the chance to be known and get hurt it is easy to build a wall. If you take another chance with the same result it is easy to build a fortress around your heart. And that is tragic.
Sara Groves is a powerful lyricist with a great voice. That’s a very appealing combo plate. Her song entitled “It’s Me” is amazing. She captures the insecurities, old stories about our past and selfishness that leads to relationship meltdowns. And those moments seems to come out of nowhere.
weather came and caught us off our guard
we were just laughing and feelin’ alright
had such a great time just last night
we walked into a minefield undetected
you took a tone and I took offense
anger replacing all common sense
oh run for you life
all tenderness is gone
in the blink of an eye
all good will has withdrawn
and we mark out our paces and
stare out from our faces
but baby you and I are gone gone gone
I am sobered by the imagery of the minefield. Hidden among the flowers and grass are deadly relationship mines. A misstep here and you explode my insecurity. Over here you detonate all of those old hurts and shame from my past. Step here and you get wounded from the shrapnel of my selfishness. And all it takes is a tone or not meeting a need to blow up all tenderness.
God designed us to travel this journey in community. My friends at Truefaced say that you mature as a Christian when you trust God and others with what is true about you. That means taking off the masks and shining light in the dark places. That has always been scary for me because I imagine I am uniquely sinful. That others have it more together than me. But as I have begun to trust others with me and they with me I am convinced there are no together people. C.S. Lewis made this observation. “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one” That is what you find out over and over when you find trustworthy friends and let them know you. Really know you. We are all messed up.
Sara Groves writes about the sad pattern that most of us follow when we hurt or get hurt.
incomprehensible layers of isolation
now your the man with a heart of stone
making me pay here by being alone
seemingly justified righteous indignation
now I’m the woman who holds all her pain
looking for somebody else to blame
It makes me sad to hear those lyrics because I have been there so many times. But it doesn’t have to be that way. I have read and struggled with words from Paul that says we are to love our wives as Christ loved the church. Sure. And I will then run the 100 meters like Usain Bolt. Same chance. I enjoy reading The Message especially for passages I have read dozens if not hundreds of times. It often gives me a fresh perspective. Here is that verse from The Message.
Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. (Ephesians 5, The Message)
A love marked by giving. Maybe that is possible. A love that extends grace that is unmerited. Just like I received from Christ. A love that refuses to stay hidden even when that feels like the safest place to be. A love that expresses needs as a sign of strength and not weakness. My friend Bill Thrall says that the phrase “I don’t need you is the mantra of the wounded.” I do need my bride’s affirmation and love. I do need friends who know me and still love me. I do need a Savior who patiently molds me without condemnation. Yet I walk through a minefield of lies and past hurts and self-doubt every day. But that is not who I am anymore and I am trusting this truth.
This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! (2 Corinthians 5, NLT)
So when I step on a mine and get wounded I call out to Jesus. “It’s me. Your child. I need you to love me so I can love others out of your amazing love and grace.” And that is the first step to healing.