Admitting that I’m Half the Problem {The Grove: Admit }

Based on the title of this post, it’s a long shot that you’ll read past this paragraph. But I think this week’s theme Admit creates such a powerful opportunity for us to share together the ways that we’ve been exposed to our own weaknesses and misconceptions.

Do I need to spell out the ways we’ve all been stripped of ourselves through cross-cultural work? No, I don’t think we need to go there today.

But because of that stripping—that constant cultural rub reminding us that we aren’t good enough or smart enough or have things figured out enough—I believe we get SO TIRED and worn down that we become increasingly defensive.

We surround ourselves with people who will validate us and read articles that will affirm us and even search for Scripture that will esteem us.

We cut off relationships that are *unhealthy*, another defense mechanism.

We use the word *boundaries* in excess, another defense mechanism.

We rally people to choose our *side*, another defense mechanism.

And pretty soon, we’ve reduced the number of conflict-inducing interactions we need to have every day to a minimum. Our hearts can rest easy that everyone is in our camp, that we have found the right way, and that we are free from the expectations of others.

I mean, I’m not saying all of this from experience or anything but OH MY GOODNESS I AM. 

This is me! This is how I cope!

When I’m down and beaten up and discouraged, you better believe I don’t run towards conflict and more discouragement. I find a cheerleader or two and I only talk to those people.

And I don’t mean that as a bad thing. We all need validation and affirmation and esteem.

But my fear—especially when it comes to working through the difficulty of team relationships—is that we want to stay in the camp with those who are cheering with us instead of sifting through the conflict that occurs when different kinds of people are working towards the same goals.

The irony. Same goals. Same mission. Same desired outcomes. And SO MUCH CONFLICT.

……

 A few months ago, I found myself unhealthily defensive in the midst of team dynamics. I wanted to have my feelings heard, and most of all I wanted to be RIGHT.

The validation I was seeking didn’t come. And the sting was deep.

 I found myself in a state of fight or flight. Should I throw my hands up and give up? Should I build a case in justification of self?

Or should I do the opposite? Should I lay down my defenses, listen to my mortal flaws, and admit that I am half the problem?

I really wasn’t in a good headspace, friends. And I can tell you that everything in me wanted to build a case and declare myself holy and righteous and pure.

But dadgummit humanity. I am so flawed. And something beyond the power within me allowed me to admit to myself that once again — I AM NOT PERFECT.

I’m half responsible for broken relationships. I’m half responsible for poor communication. I’m half responsible for unhealthy assumptions. And it’s my job (especially when we’re talking about team relationships on the field) to admit when I’ve done wrong and ask for forgiveness from my neighbor.

Admitting sin and imperfection? It still stings. But it is remarkable how much healing comes through the discipline of honest humility.

I know we want freedom. I know we want healing. So this week, what is it that you have been avoiding admitting to yourself and others?

~~~

This is The Grove and we want to hear from you! You can link up your blog post, or share your practices, ponderings, wisdom, questions, ideas, and creative expressions with us in the comments below.

Here’s our Instagram collection from this week using #VelvetAshesAdmit. You can add yours!

4 Comments

  1. Jodie April 6, 2017

    “Validation, affirmation, and esteem” Yes. I seek those things too, and it can be unhealthy. Thanks for your honesty in this post, Lauren.

  2. Lindsey Brewer April 6, 2017

    Oh, so much with the need to be right. We don’t really have much of a team out here, but I see this play out A LOT in my marriage! It seems like moving overseas puts lots of marriages in a pressure cooker and with all the stressors we have really had to work at not blaming each other and becoming distant. And MOST of the time I find myself not admitting that I am part of the problem there! Thanks for sharing this!

  3. Elizabeth April 7, 2017

    My goodness, yes, my pride always wants to protect itself and comes up with all sorts of reasons why I must be right and others, wrong. Mostly those thoughts are just in my head or told only to my husband, but they are still wrong. And in the end I have to humble myself (usually in tears) before God for being wrong but for being so insistent that I was right, and to confess it to the people I have wronged. You are certainly not the only one, Lauren.

  4. gail April 7, 2017

    Yes…yes…yes…my husband and I have been at odds lately over the silliest things. Both of us wanting to claim to be right when both of us are wrong. Pride and self-protection raise their ugly heads and I found myself quoting and acting on Eph 4:32 – be ye kind – yes…I can be kind, but underneath I am still seething. Tenderhearted – sure, I can listen to his side of the argument, but underneath there is no mercy, just the churning of impatience as I wish he understood and heard my side. Forgiveness – hardly! I can just gloss things over by my actions, but still be waiting for vengeance to fall on him. Then, God convicted me of my hypocritical attitude by blasting my heart with the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
    I want my husband to listen kindly, to understand with a tender heart of mercy and to overlook and forgive my weaknesses with forgiving love. Well? He deserves no less from me, because that is exactly what my Saviour offers me!

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