RELATIONSHIP PATTERNS WORTH CHANGING

2/17 What is a relationship pattern YOU keep repeating that you wish you could stop or change?

 Questions like this one make me want to look down and pretend I didn't hear. Shame lives there. But growth eats shame for breakfast. Let's choose to grow today. 

Questions like this one make me want to look down and pretend I didn't hear. Shame lives there. But growth eats shame for breakfast. Let's choose to grow today. 

In relationships I am often the one who asks a lot of questions. Is that obvious yet from the incessant amount of questioning that happens here? Therefore I have a tendency to hide behind the inquiries and only-ever -slowly (if ever) reveal my true heart or my true self. I have been the listener, the wonderer, the ‘let me pray over you’ friend for a long time. It’s in my blood and in my nature but it can also be the relationship pattern I repeat to prevent any scary places to surface out of me that I would much rather keep to myself.

It always stuns me when I sit down to lunch or coffee with someone and they stop me mid-question and say, “No, Kristin. My turn to ask the questions.” I have to say I get pretty jittery in that moment- believing deep down that what I have to say isn’t actually that interesting if it’s just about me.

I think this is part of the reason I have yet to sit through a session of counseling. I believe in it more than anything, recommend it to everyone, but have yet to go myself. Talking about myself for an hour sounds more terrifying than developing a sudden allergic reaction to peanut butter. There are patterns in me that shut down at the most casual or accidental cues of disinterest. Because I value listening so much, the minute someone glances at their phone, yawns, or looks away I stop all I might have needed to say. I retreat and quickly turn the focus back on them.

This relationship pattern may sound a bit odd to stop or change. After all, I’m basically saying I need relationships to be more centered around me. Awesome. But like my dad says, “You will never truly be able to celebrate the significance and value in another without first identifying the significance in yourself.”

If this is true, any lack of value I see in myself will only take away from the value I see in the person sitting across from me.

Feeling significant- true, lasting significance anyways- is a give-away trait. True significance multiplies itself. It doesn’t subtract or divide. Identifying the hidden places where we are unsure of our own significance will highlight the ways we could be loving others better.

So I’m going to work on this. Maybe I’ll finally go to see a counselor. Maybe I’ll sit in silence with a friend until they ask something. Maybe I’ll become brave enough to admit this relational short-coming in front of an audience in blog world. Oh wait...

This post wasn’t easy to write. It made my skin crawl a little thinking about the friends who will now be aware of this in me and call me out on it. It was safer, more predictable and routine the other way. But becoming new, getting my part right and growing has never happened in the land of predictability. 

One thing I know for sure: when we ask the hard questions, face the music and look in the mirror, God's good work of completion moves one notch closer to the end. To glory. To seeing Jesus face-to-face. This soul-stirring work is the good, good work he has given us. Becoming more like Jesus daily will be brutal and painful. It will be hard and maybe not seem worth it some days. But this is the work of completion. The sanctification process. No work could be considered more noble, more important, more necessary for the abundant life pre-heaven.

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
— Paul, Philippians 1:6

Take some time to think about this question. It took me a solid ten minutes of thought to come up with this. Let's grow together. Write below or share with your people today.