When people show you who they are, believe them, the first time. Not the 29th! In Oprah Winfrey’s Commencement Address to Wellesley College, May 30, 1997, she reference Maya Angelou as the one who taught her this great lesson. I first heard it in one of Tyler Perry’s plays. He too referenced Maya Angelou. It took me until now to realize how deep this thought is.
Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” So, when I hear people say “just follow your heart”, I know that’s a bunch of crap. Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Always check your motives to know why you do what you do.
I have constantly struggled with knowing when enough is enough with people I don’t want to let go off. One one hand, I am very good with scissors. I can cut you off and not think twice about it. On the other hand, I don’t want to give up on someone. When does giving the benefit of the doubt turn into making excuses for people? What is that fine line? I don’t know. I have learned to take each and every relationship to the Lord and seek His direction on what my role is in that relationship.
I have to remind myself that just because it is popular to follow the dictates of your heart doesn’t make it right. I have to remember Jeremiah 17:9 so I don’t fall into the trap of leaning on my own understanding (Prov. 3: 5-6). I have to remind myself that I’m not fooling God (Gal. 6:7). He can see why I am doing what I am doing even if I haven’t acknowledged it yet. He knows if the only reason I am attempting to contact someone again is because I don’t want to lose that person’s “friendship”.
I get so discouraged when I realize that is has taken me 29 times (and that is being really generous because typically it is way more than that) to hear what people are showing me. It really breaks my heart because I desperately want that person to be more mature than what they are showing themselves to be.
This entire awakening reminds me of a lesson Brian and I were taught in pre-marital counseling about expectations. If you have not clearly stated your expectations in the beginning, how can you expect your expectations to be met later?
I have been lax with what I expect; making excuses when there is no excuse. I chose to reject the obvious truths.
That being said, let me say this. EVERYONE IS GROWING. Everyone is growing, all the time. Some are stuck on a level while others are always advancing. I am growing…everyday. However, allowing room for people to grow does not mean that my role is to stand by and participate. What a relief.