I wrote a mini series earlier this year on our time living in New Jersey.
Left off thinking I might come back to it, but then I wonder, who is really reading this stuff.
I do appreciate all of you that take the time to read and interact. It’s one of the highlights of my day.
But then this morning I was thinking about my most recent interaction with the lady whose roof I wrote about in my last post...Michelle, made a comment about me being direct, and I thought, you know, that is one of the fruits of our time living @ Gilgal.
The importance of addressing issues head on.
Bible calls it “speaking the truth in love.” Not going to go and quote verses for you on it. You’ll have to trust me on this one…but they are there. It’s a part of the Christian life .
There are two parts to that life skill…
Speaking the truth.
Doing it with love.
If either part is missing, you have a problem.
When I say things that may have truth in them, but don’t do it out of love, it’s like someone trying to prune me with butter knife. I’ve had that happen. I don’t like it.
The other extreme, is thinking we love someone, but we’re not honest, that too is a perversion.
Give you an example.
When we moved back to Iowa, I was not the same person I was when I’d left. When we left. I would say I was pretty passive. A doormat. Not only hated conflict but didn’t go there. I would keep quiet if someone tried to manipulate and or intimidate me. Had that type of relationship with one of my uncles. He didn’t know what to do with me when I no longer took it. It’s taken about 25 years, but I think he finally gets it. 🙂
There was also a re-calibration of my relationship with my dad, whom I genuinely respect and love. I’d put up with a level of sarcasm for 40 years, until that one morning (after we returned to Iowa). I’ve mentioned it before.
He called 6:30 one morning to touch bases about a job. In the context of our conversation, he sarcastically said “Don’t you listen to the radio?” (Had to do with me not knowing the weather forecast for the day)
Probably had something to do with me just waking up, but out of my mouth came the words, “I don’t like it when you talk to me like that.”
Dead silence on the phone.
Took both of us by surprise.
I didn’t say it, disrespectfully, but I didn’t pussy foot around either.
I just said it.
It was a watershed point in our relationship. Happened 25 years ago. He has never used that sarcastic tone of voice with me since. Couple of times, it was close, and I found myself push back.
Told my mom about that conversation later that week, and do you know what she said?….
“I’ve been waiting for you to do that.”
So there you go. One of the biggest life lessons I came away from that season of my life living in New Jersey was how to cultivate, authentic, deep, honest, relationships with other imperfect people. And less you think, it only happens in the context of your family..
Works just as powerfully on the job, with your kids, with the guys in the lumberyard, and even in the blog-o-sphere, it can happen.
Do I do it perfectly.
But the quality of my relationships as a whole are on a whole different level than they used to be.
If you’ve read this far, thank you! DM