Recently I walked through a tough situation that had me stressed for a week straight. It also had me in tears more than I would have liked. I won’t go in to the details of that situation, but let’s just say…it was unfair. My actions were interpreted in the wrong way, I was severely misunderstood, and therefore; I was judged for those actions.
The whole incident shocked me – it came seemingly out of the blue – completely unexpected. One day everything was going great, and then the next day, one phone call changed everything. During this phone call, I was so shocked and caught off guard by what I was hearing that I was unable to accurately defend myself. I was barely even able to get out more than “Yes.” or “I understand. Absolutely.”
When I woke up the next morning and realized it hadn’t all just been a bad dream – but was real, I wanted to run. These were people I didn’t have to see ever again if I ran. They weren’t super close to me, and I didn’t “love” any of them. They were little more than acquaintances. I became set in my heart that I was going to see them one last time and let them know I’d be leaving – and that would be it. Problem solved. I’d go on with my happy life and forget those people and that place and those memories forever. I’d also be burning bridges and not leaving on good ground.
In that moment, I heard the Lord whisper to me, “What if you didn’t run?”
I thought about what He had just said, and then immediately after, thought back, “Haha. No – I’m definitely running. I don’t have to deal with this problem. I am powerful. I am able to remove myself from situations that I don’t like.”
I had every intention of removing myself from the situation.
As I went about my day, however, those 5 words kept coming back to me. I thought more about it.
What if I actually didn’t run? What if I stayed, continued to be around these people, knowing they’d forever see me differently because of one tiny, very unfair misunderstanding of me? The idea sounded like the hardest thing I’d ever do. It was the last thing I wanted to do. Thinking about staying just made me want to run even harder in the opposite direction and make this whole thing disappear. After all, it wasn’t fair that this happened to me. It wasn’t my fault. I never asked for this and I sure as heck never saw this coming. So removing myself wouldn’t be that wild, would it?
Then I heard the Lord say, “Do the hard thing.”
I immediately complained to Him. Why? Why do I have to do the hard thing? I don’t want to!
Thinking more about it, I realized that what I was feeling, the desire to run, was the typical response. It’s typical to move away from hard things. It’s typical to leave when things get difficult or messy. Anyone can run. In fact, lots of people do. Relationships are ended all the time because it got difficult. The people involved in the relationship didn’t feel it was worth it to walk through the difficulty. They deemed it easier to run away and forget the problems. Anyone can do that.
But what if I didn’t run, like He said? What if I stayed? I started thinking about what would happen if I did stay. It would be so hard. Every day around these people would be difficult – awkward, even. But what else would happen? It would prove to them that I deserve respect. I don’t run away and hide when I’m misunderstood. I’m strong enough to handle difficulty, and courageous. I can do hard things. And also – that it’s worth it to pursue reconciliation.
The Lord asked me to confront. I HATE confrontation. I am NOT courageous when it comes to that. I’ve always struggled to be bold and say what I need to say. I’ve always struggled with speaking to someone and making sure they understand what I’m thinking and feeling. For some reason it always sounds so much better in my head. I’m not the greatest communicator. But God asked me to confront someone. To pursue understanding. To pursue reconciliation.
2 days went by before I was able to find the courage to go to them.
All my insides felt as if they were shaking and trembling as I went to this person and said, “Hey, can I talk to you for a second?”
I felt as if I could barely breathe. All I wanted was for this person to understand and realize my heart in the situation. I tried as hard as I could to say some words that might get them to understand.
They took it ok – I guess. I’m still not entirely sure what they are thinking.
But I didn’t run. I stayed. I confronted, and I pursued reconciliation. I did my part, even though I felt it was unfair that I even had to do it. But I did it. I did the hard thing.
What happens when you don’t run? You grow. You conquer fears. You become resilient and strong. You prove that you deserve respect.
It doesn’t all go away after one conversation. It’s still hard. But you keep going. You keep walking through it and you don’t run. You stay.
And eventually, your wisdom will be justified.
God enables you to face things you’d rather run away from. I had no strength or desire or drive to do this. But He helped me. He gently pushed me over to the table where this person was sitting and enabled me to have a conversation with them without my voice cracking or ending up in tears. I did cry all the way home in my car, but that’s not the point. The point is – sometimes it’s painful to be brave.
But if you say yes to what God asks of you, instead of taking the easy way out, you will be rewarded and honored. And you’ll grow.
Maybe just for today, you could find the courage and be brave? He’s with you.