As a person who wears my heart on my sleeve, the people who remained on my friend list were able to see exactly what I was thinking and feeling at any given moment. In the beginning, it was a lot of rough stuff. I was feeling lost, hopeless, and very down. But as the days went on I was able to see how God was using all of it to shape me.
One day, I got a surprise FB message from someone who I had considered a friend. She is a fellow Christian aspiring writer who had contacted me years ago for some Christian writing advice. We became friends and I let her in my inner-circle, even made her a beta reader for me. However, I removed her from that circle awhile back due to something that happened between us. I removed her to protect my heart using my boundaries. I forgave her and didn't kick her out of my life completely, just used my boundaries more wisely. People show you where they belong in your life. All you have to do is watch and listen.
Here is the message she sent me:
But I wanted to use it, dissect it on this blog to share a few things that I think people, especially Christians, should be more cognizant of as they express themselves to others.
1) "I really thought you had all your shit together"
There is a very incorrect perception of Christians that the fact we are Christian means "we have our shit together". This is laughable. The truth is, being a Christian is all about NOT having our shit together. I for one need Jesus BECAUSE I am far from having my shit together. Yes, I fall apart. Yes, I fail. Yes, my life can be overwhelming and frustrating. Yes, I behave poorly at times. Yes, I find it hard to trust God sometimes when things are hard. But my faith in God assures me that I don't HAVE to have all my shit together. He's got it in His hands. I am so grateful for that.
2) "even with all of your SUPPOSED mental health issues"
The word 'supposed' indicates that this person has some qualms about whether my issues are real or not. To that I say, wow. I do not need to prove anything to anyone. I am open about my mental health issues for the purpose of education, and letting others know they are not alone in the world. That is my choice to be open about and it is my hope that someday the shame that goes a long with mental health troubles can be lessened.
3) "I'm realizing now that you don't"
Um, duh. Yeah, if you have the perception that ANYONE in the world doesn't have issues - you're delusional. There may be people out there who pretend really well, but guess what... it's pretend. Everyone has problems. Everyone has issues. I choose to share mine and be open about them for the purpose of helping others who deal with similar. God actually calls us to do this in the Bible:
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. James 5:16
James 5:16 is one of my life verses and I will continue to share myself with others, especially my sins and failures, until the day I die.
4) "I can't handle all of the negativity and depression you bring with you"
I can absolutely understand this! Negativity spreads and if someone is constantly negative, it can suck the life out of you. If I am causing someone to feel heaviness, then by all means... delete me! PLEASE! The Bible says this:
Above all else, guard your heart Proverbs 4:23
Guarding your heart in this way is something that can be done quietly. Why not delete and move on? In my opinion, sending a message like this has one purpose: to cause pain. Purposely causing pain to someone is not an act of friendship or love. It is selfish and unnecessary if your goal is to guard your heart. And just for fun, I would like to share with you the posts on my wall from that day so you can tell me if you think I was being overly negative.
5) "I wish you the best and I will be praying for you... I will pray for you that you find a way to become a stronger person."
Okay, so this is a huge peeve of mine. HUGE! I call it "Biblical Weaponry", using the Bible or your prayer life to insult someone. If you are earnest in wanting to pray for someone, you do not need to tell them about it. You just do it. And if you are earnest, you certainly don't want to insult them if you DO choose to tell them about your intention to pray for them. In my opinion, Biblical Weapontry is one of the ways the devil tries to divide God from His creations. If satan can get you to wield a Biblical dagger, he succeeds in perpetuating the hypocritical vision much of the world has of Christians.
6) "I wish you the best and I will be praying for you... I will pray for you that you find a way to become a stronger person."
Lastly, when I look back at my life and all the things I've been through, I am aware that I am one of the strongest people to have walked the planet BUT I am also aware that that strength is not my own. It is God within me. I myself am weak, very weak. And I like it that way. It is not my goal to be a strong person. It is my goal to let God lead me with His strength through my weakness. The world thinks that weakness is bad and strength is good but in my opinion, the world is wrong. It takes great strength to be weak.
He must become greater; I must become less. John 3:30
In closing, I just want to say I am proud of myself for not letting what this person said to me upset me. Yes, I forgive her. No, I'm not planning to let her back within my boundaries system. Sometimes the best way we can choose to love someone is to love them from far away.