This week I want to explore the topic of communication within our inner circle. This Includes friends and family that fall into a “tribe” category. These people have your back but also aren’t afraid to call you on the carpet (hopefully in love). If you were imprisoned and had a chance to make one phone call, you would pick from this small group.
I think we can all agree with this statement, that our tribe should include people with whom we can COMPLETELY be ourselves. I wasn’t in a marriage where I felt like I could just be myself and that was a very difficult place to live. I didn’t feel comfortable coming home, kicking my shoes off and letting my hair down because I didn’t feel like I would be accepted for who I was. Here’s what that looked like (note that these were MY feelings and I own them, I cast no blame):
-I felt insecure (this developed over time).
-I didn’t feel like I would be accepted for who I was.
-I didn’t believe I was loved unconditionally.
It took me years of counseling to get to a place where I truly felt secure and fully loved in my relationship with God, and I understood and was okay with the fact that some people will accept me for who I am and others will not. I have embraced that I am not perfect, and I have also learned the value of daily introspection and I understand that I am a work in progress. I now look for and WELCOME opportunities to change and grow. I have learned a new way to function and I’d like to share it with the hope that it will bring truth and freedom to those who feel stuck in this area.
All of this centers around Jesus’ final command that I touched on last week: Love one another. I’ve been chewing on this so much lately and am just finishing a Bible study on 1, 2 and 3 John. I have gotten so much truth and revelation which can be summarized in three short sentences:
We understand God’s love by allowing Him to love us. We show others love by sharing God’s love. We show God love by loving others well.
I am learning that I can only truly love others well if I allow myself to feel and understand God’s love. This is so freeing because it removes the pressure of performing or being good enough for God to simply allowing Him to love me and then passing that love along to others. It literally makes me feel like I can kick my shoes off, sit by the fire and get comfortable when I’m spending time with Him. He has a never-ending amount of love for me and His one request? That I love others well (I added the “well.”)
I’d like to bring this back to our relationships with those in our inner circle. For me, it’s no longer enough to say, “This is how I am, take it or leave it,” as it relates to interactions with the people closest to me (and, quite frankly, people in general). The way I respond and relate must be authentic AND loving. This takes some work…a lot of work if you are a direct person who sometimes lacks filtering (preaching to myself here). This way of communicating is basically mixing “who I am” with “what it means to love well,” meaning that I can no longer just say, “Well, I’m a frank person and the things I say just come out the way they do.”
Can anyone else relate to this?
It is VERY healthy to communicate things that have deep meaning to us with great conviction and passion. But our messaging needs to have an underlying theme of love.
Here are some examples of things we can blend together and then pepper with love:
Conviction + passion + values
Non-negotiables + facts + truth
Enneagram traits + personality + upbringing
This topic of loving others well is so big but can actually be broken up into digestible chunks. Loving others well means putting their needs before our own. It means getting our hearts right and approaching others in love with a motivation of repairing a relationship rather than a motivation to make a point. It means pausing to select our words carefully before opening our mouths and just rattling them off.
Because don’t the people closest to us—the ones we love the most—deserve our best love? And yet sometimes we only offer them the leftovers.
I invite you to join me this week as I challenge my own heart to grow and focus on loving others as God loves us. Let’s be very intentional with our motivations and words. Be open to sharing with someone that you recognize unhealthy communication patterns in your relationship with them and that you will work on making changes. I try do this regularly with my kids and with my tribe and it always opens the door for healthy change and growth, two words that have absolutely revolutionized my life. Let’s grow through what we go through, and let’s do it together.
If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share. God carved out a path of intense healing for me and I would like to share it with as many people who need or want to hear.