Watchers

I overshare. I freely admit it. The pros to oversharing are that you are able to encourage others in your vulnerability. The con is that a lot of people assume the worst of you when they don’t understand what you are saying. It is a human condition and the Bible addresses it in Philippians 2:3-4.

I‘ve told my story for years, shared my hardships and my triumphs in Christ. I’m so thankful for those I was able to help encourage towards Christ, God is so good, you guys. But I’m exhausted now.

Last week, a dear friend took her own life. She had mental illness as I do. We took many of the same medications. The loss is heartbreaking, but I am thankful to know that she rests in the arms of our Father now. Free from pain and suffering (thanks be to God). I am grieving, but I am ok. I’m thriving even now in this loss, in the midst of my hardships there is glory and God’s grace is forever overwhelming — far surpassing the reach of every hard
providence.

Recently, a former pastor wrote some cruel words publicly about people like me. He didn’t mean to. He doesn’t seem to even comprehend what he has done, what he said. He never confronted me privately about his grievances when I was under his care. He did not engage in Biblical protocol for calling someone out when you believe they are in sin. I’m not angry, I’m hurt. And I am thankful I never told him my whole story, even during counseling. He isn’t a person who Dr. Henry Cloud would identify as “safe”. Safe people don’t do that. He is young and I am confident God is at work in him and his congregation, but given where God has me (living in a different town and in a different church for unrelated reasons), I don’t have the responsibility to deal with that kind of immaturity right now.

When you are sick in your head, when your brain isn’t fully functional anymore, by and large, Christians are ungracious about it. They don’t get that mental illness is real and this evident by the way they talk to you. Can you imagine walking up to someone with a broken leg and being saying, “I don’t think your leg is broken, you just aren’t being a very good Christian. Get up, walk, run, help yourself.  Just do it and you will be magically better.” But that is what they tell people like me all the time and when you point it out, they jump all over you, refusing to acknowledge that maybe they don’t understand. It wouldn’t bother me so much if they were just strangers, but these people call themselves friends. Friends! Even when the only times they ever talk to me is to disagree. Incredible, right? They wave at me from a distance and pick fights from the safety of their wifi. I’m so tired.

When you have 500 friends on facebook and a blog, you don’t really have that many friends.  They know your name, they know parts of your story, but they don’t know you. They peep through the curtains of your life and consider themselves “in the know”. They make judgment calls on fragments of information.  They don’t call, they don’t message, they don’t offer to help, they just disagree when they think you are wrong.

I am blessed have a few real friends. I know what friendship is and it isn’t what hundreds of “friends” practice publicly online. I am thankful for the people God has brought into my life, but I don’t have any desire to debate anymore — I’m busy living my life. I want to bless others, not provide entertainment to the masses.

I’ve never unfriended someone because they were annoying me. I’ve always encouraged different perspectives. I still do. But I’m setting boundaries now. I want to talk to people to actually care, who aren’t just looking to mark up my life with a red pen.  I tell my daughter not to hang out with people like that.  I’m going to take my own advice.

So if I unfriend you and you think that is unfair, feel free to re-friend me. Maybe we don’t interact much, but if you really want to be a friend, maybe we can be. For the rest, though, I don’t hate you. I just need to conserve my energy for things that really matter. This is progress for me. This is what growing up looks like sometimes.

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