I see you trying.
I heard a sermon last week by Steven Furtick that caused a major shift in my perspective. I should mention that the YouTube video linked is of his first sermon for that Sunday. I attended the second and something about the selection of the words used gave the second sermon more of a personal power punch.
The heart of the message which drew upon the story of the paralytic in John 5, is to trust rather than try harder. Like the invalid that tried for thirty-eight years to reach the healing waters of Bethesda, many of us try with our own strength or knowledge to overcome circumstances that keep us paralyzed in one form or another. The story ends with the man healed. The game-changer was when Jesus came to him and he seized to try and instead trusted.
There are many nuggets of wisdom to digest from the sermon but what resonated the most for me was the reminder that just about everyone is trying. Why that matters is because just that day and a few weeks before, I experienced a torrential rain of disappointment from family. In hindsight, maybe disappointment could have been avoided if I recognized they’re trying.
I wrote a piece on the struggle I faced finally confronting my narcissistic family. I wrote it as a way for me to process my feelings and hopefully close a chapter that I felt finally needed closing. As I reflect on what I gleamed from the sermon, I realized there was still a wedge at the door.
I’m giving up on my family.
I used to feel my family was incomparably dysfunctional. It’s suffice to say we can successfully check off all the…
Giving up versus letting go. That was the wedge.
Giving up meant settling in a bed of resentment towards them. Letting go meant settling in a bed of hope and freeing myself of the burden to “fix" things. I was sure I settled on letting. But it’s hard to deny that I just want to avoid them. Frustration creeps up if I dwell on their shortcomings. Is that resentment? Have I actually given up?
If so, I find it very uncomfortable. I truly want to be comfortable with letting go so I’m hoping this shift in perspective will help me get there. Despite their denial, I have to believe that just maybe they’re trying.
Maybe they sense the dissonance in their souls between the unloving words they speak and the Love that defines their existence as image-bearers of God. Maybe they want freedom from thought patterns that have kept them shackled in the cycle of verbal abuse.
I won’t claim to know the answers to any of these possibilities but one thing I do know is that I don’t know. I don’t know what thoughts they are warring with in their heads. I don’t know what prayers they cry out when they are alone. I just don’t know.
For now, I’ll place myself in their shoes. I’d want my husband to know that I’m trying to affirm him even though I’ve laid on him a good layer of criticism. Just like he’d want me to know he’s trying to be supportive of me even if he grudgingly helps with the kids after I’ve asked.
So family, I see you trying. I’ll aim to be patient as we eventual move from trying to trust.