I watched my daughter come home in a tangled mess of emotions: angry, hurt, confused, sad. Once again “friends” were being cruel. What should have been a fun summer afternoon turned into a wound on her soul because someone else thought it would be funny to be cruel. She’s 7, but I’ve also seen it with my sons ages 12 & 15. And it doesn’t seem to end with childhood, because I’ve seen it and experienced it with adults as well.
We are born with a selfish, sinful nature. The battle to eradicate that nature is never-ending.
So what do you do when you’re on the receiving end of someone’s self-centered, insensitive behavior?
Well, here’s what I told my kids yesterday – sometimes you need to choose to walk away. You do have a choice. For my daughter, I told her that she could choose whether or not to continue to play with this unkind friend.
I asked her to check her own heart and make sure that she wasn’t misreading what was happening. All of us can be overly sensitive at times, was this one of those times? And then I told my daughter to really think about what she wanted. Did she want to continue spending time with this person who brought her to tears every.single.day. or would she rather take a break from their time together.
I think that sometimes we subject ourselves to other people’s disrespect and us being their back-up plan because we feel like we have no other options. We’re afraid of being alone. More times than I can recall, I was the back-up plan, the after-thought. I was the one who found out on Monday what all my “friends” did over the weekend because no one thought to call and ask me to come.
When this happened over and over it instilled a belief in me that I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t desired, I wasn’t wanted. I was a tag-along at best. These beliefs are damaging. I do not want any of my children to feel that they need to tolerate someone’s bad behavior towards them. No one should be treated that way.
I do not believe for a second that everyone can get along. It’s just not possible. I also don’t believe that you should always run away when you are on the receiving end of disrespect. I do believe that you need to understand when to stay and be light in the darkness and when to walk away.
Sometimes walking away is the best form of protection for your soul.
I’m going to be honest – I’m 40 years old and still praying for that “bestie” that I see others post about. (I honestly hate that term, probably because no one has ever viewed me as that and it churns up all those lies from childhood about being a consolation prize.) There is something inside of us that longs for connection with others, we long for community, we desire to be known and accepted. I do believe that is a God-given desire.
I’m asking you, whether it’s for yourself or a friend or a child – be ok with walking away. Don’t settle for a counterfeit of what God wants for you. You are too valuable to be surrounded by those who don’t see your value. Will you pray for God to bring you and your children friendships – the kind that brings joy? The kind of friendship where individuality is embraced and differences are surmountable. The type of people who, when they fail (because they will) don’t laugh it off but rather recognize and learn. Will you ask God to help you be the kind of friend that when you fail (because you will) you take responsibility and grow. Will you ask God to help you teach your children how to be a friend and how to honor all, even those who rub them the wrong way?
The righteous choose their friends carefully – Proverbs 12:26
Praying for and with you friends –