There is someone in my life that is here to stay.  She is not going anywhere and neither am I – we are linked for at least the next thirty years.

The big bummer of it all is that, try as I may, she is someone that rubs me the wrong way.  She has had a broken and bumpy childhood that has an impact on her actions and words today and while I have compassion for her because of this, it is still difficult for me to let the snide comments, rudeness and demands slide off my back.  Truthfully, what I WANT to say and do when I am around her does not align with what Jesus would want me to say and do.  My sweet JJ has heard one too many earfuls on this topic, too.

I love the human race.  I love people. I love to hear their stories and listen to their hearts.  Therefore, this challenging relationship has caused some heartache and made me feel a little conflicted to say the least.  I have never really met anyone that I struggle to get along with so intensely until now.

I decided that the best way to handle this particular person was to set healthy boundaries. When I had an opportunity to exercise these healthy boundaries, to say it didn’t go so well would be an understatement.  The last time I saw her after such encounter, she refused to speak to me.  Lovely.

I would like to state for the record that I am not at all a drama diva.  I have had enough drama in my life thank you very much.  Click here to read some of it.  Not enough for you?  Click here for some more.

I really don’t have much drama in my life now (Well. Maybe it’s just a different kind of drama like “MOMMY! Sawyer. Is. Trying. To. Play. With. My. Leapster.” Be sure to say it much like Scarlett O’Hare and include tears and a statement about how hard it is to be the only sister with two baby brothers.) I like a drama-free life these days. I avoid it like the plague.

A few Sundays ago, JJ and I awoke to get the chillens ready for church.  After we had all been up and moving for about an hour, it was clear we would not be attending – two of our three children had the stomach flu.  We would be staying home.

In an attempt to fill our waning spiritual cups, we decided to watch a video from Rob Bell’s NOOMA series entitled “Luggage.” If you don’t know about Rob Bell, he is a young (almost 40) pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  He has a gift of taking scripture and applying it into our contemporary life in an artful and thoughtful manner.   He is uplifting and modern and he appeals to the masses. I recently heard him speak and the audience included people wearing all black including black nail polish (both genders), various piercings, and spiky hairstyles.  You could also see 65 year old women wearing denim jumpers and about to serve us all a casserole there as well.

LOVE. IT. This just makes me think that Jesus would be so very happy to see such a wildly diverse group of people coming together in His name.

I digress. “Luggage” is about the wounds we carry when someone that we have loved has hurt or betrayed us.   It’s not always easy to forgive these people.  In fact, sometimes it feels like it is downright impossible.  Our natural human reaction is to seek revenge and let anger overcome us. We falsely start to believe that revenge is our only hope.

What we can’t always see until later is that granting forgiveness actually sets us free.  Free of the burden of hurt.  Free of letting someone else control our thoughts and outlook.

I know. MUCH easier said than done. I have carried the grudges.  I have thought that I want to poke the eyes out of those who have hurt me revengeful thoughts. This is natural. But just so we all know, forgiving is not necessarily forgetting.  As Rob quotes from Proverbs 26:11, “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”  He went on to discuss the idea of forgiving but not forgetting by stating “Sometimes forgiving is remembering and some people are going to keep returning to their vomit, and we don’t have to be there when they do.”  In other words, forgive, yes.

But you don’t need to stick around for the dysfunction junction anymore.

If it’s a toxic relationship and the pattern of behavior continues repeatedly, you have the prerogative to set love-soaked boundaries.  “Love-soaked” is the key because of course, healthy boundaries can become unhealthy if what needs to be said is not done so gently.

Let’s not add to the drama, peeps.

Reassuring?  Yes.  It doesn’t make the conflict any easier.  I still get angry.  I still cringe when I know I am going to have to see her.  I still allow her to get under my skin.  That’s my issue, not hers.  I have to own it, too.   As God tells us in Romans 12:19, “Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. I’ll do the judging. I’ll take care of it” (The Message)

Whew.  I was a little too busy today anyway.

Her wounds, her hurts, her sadness will be taken care of by God.  The good news is that mine will as well.  My responsibility is to handle her with love – even when I don’t want to do so and even when she has made a biting remark that has hurt my feelings.  Sometimes I’ll have to do it kicking and screaming and other times it won’t be so tough. My compassion for her will prevail.

Seek and you will find.  Take it to Him and He will guide you.  Maybe not in the way you would have planned but He will.

So…do you think I would have gotten the message I needed to hear at church that Sunday? I would have, no doubt, heard a great sermon and perhaps another message that could have reached me on a less-pressing topic, but this shattered relationship had been weighing on my heart. God knew I needed some direction.

Isn’t it kind of funny that my kids had the flu and I was guided to hear His message somewhere else? And, may I mention, it was precisely what I needed to hear at exactly that moment.

Huh. Funny guy.

Click on the below YouTube options to see Rob Bell’s “Luggage”. Please note that the first option is Part One and the second is Part Two. I am thinking for copyright reasons they cannot post the entire video together.

It’s so worth your time BUT…I must warn you that the ending shocked me. Not in a bad way – it just wasn’t how I was expecting it to end AT ALL. Would love to hear any thoughts you may have!

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