Confessions: Walking a Mile in Her Shoes…

DanHerringPhotography

Something has really been on my heart and mind lately… I feel like I need to share it with you, whoever you might be.  I am on a long journey, and maybe you too, are in the same boat with me. Or maybe, my story will let you in a secret that I am just now learning. These are thoughts I am still working through. Maybe I’m being insensitive to some… or maybe you think I’m overly sensitive. These words aren’t meant to hurt or condemn. I’m not pointing fingers or judging. Rather the opposite. And I hope you can come to see why…

I’ve been mulling over quite a few decisions the past few weeks. They are sensitive in nature. Being that many people I know have opinions that are stronger than my own on such subjects. Convictions they hold very highly, and I respect that very much. However, I am timid, scared even, to freely speak my mind with them. I haven’t share my struggles, the longings of my heart that are in such turmoil, for fear of hearing what they would say.  I realized though, I may have been that person not too long ago. What if a dear friend has come to me and felt my judging glances as she tells me of troubles she is struggling with. Even worse, what if I have friends who feel the same about me? Are there people who wouldn’t tell me about things about their lives because they think I would disagree with them? I’m not talking about encouraging someone to turn from sin or something that could be harmful to them.  I’m talking about difference of opinion on a much simpler level.

I feel like I am walking a mile and beyond in someone else’s shoes. Realizing that the tone and things I say, which aren’t meant to hurt, can be hurtful. From parenting decisions, favorite color or maybe someones  preferences on the weather. I’m sure surprise has overtaken my face in some conversation or another that may have made someone stop and think. Maybe they were hurt by what I said. Maybe they no longer feel I am a safe person to talk about that subject or even more.

I want to take a deeper look at my heart. I realize the feelings I feel today, I may have imposed on someone else. I don’t know how or where to start.  Old habits die-hard, as the saying goes, and it is more than true. Habits become part of you. Even w hen you don’t realize they have.  Maybe I am making a bigger deal about this then it is… But it still weighs heavy on my heart.

I want to be a beautiful shining example of Christ’s love. I don’t want others to feel condemned by me. I want to be a welcoming, loving friend. I want to be accepting of different ideas or differences of opinion {Again, not taking about anything along the lines of Marriage, ok?}   I don’t want to pop off with right or wrongs. Pro&Con lists. “Maybe you should think about…” or the like. I want to be a friend who people come to when their heart is hurting. There is struggle and frustration, and they choose to call me for coffee and a chat because they know I will listen with an open mind and heart.

I want to be this, and so much more. Hold me accountable to this. Encourage me when I do not say something that is uplifting, or maybe even hurtful. I haven’t walked in your shoes. I don’t know all the ins and outs that make you the person you are today. God is continuing to refine me. Teach me. Grow me. Forgive me if I have hurt you, friend. With what I have said, or didn’t say.

But why “walking a mile in her shoes”? What does that have to do with anything??  There are so many things I think, “Duh, why wouldn’t you do this?”  or “What are you thinking, that isn’t the best idea…”   But far too often most of the time I forget to think that there is so much m ore going on in other’s lives that I don’t know about.  Your past, experiences, friendships and so much more shape our lives and decisions. I forget to put myself in other’s shoes and think about what I am about to say. Could it hurt or hinder? Could it be taken the wrong way? Sometime a simple conversation can hurt because I am unaware of past hurt. Although I can never truly know what is always going on in friends lives that may hurt them, before I speak, I want to be aware of the fact that I need to be more cautious, positive and encouraging when speaking my mind, even in the simplest of conversations!

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