In the obstacle course that is our lives, God seems to lead us to the same obstacles over and over again until we master them. I've noticed that there is a certain kind of person that keeps popping up in my life, at various ages I've been, in various locations I've lived in. A type of person who consistently cuts me to the core, so apparently I haven't mastered the obstacle of this relationship yet.
They don't necessarily hate me, although I'm not convinced they like me very much, and I seriously doubt they have much respect for me. At best, they tolerate my necessary presence in their lives, though some of them have tried to avoid my presence as much as possible, too. They aren't out to get me or to pull me down. But by no means are they interested in giving me any kind of boost.
Mostly, they observe my doings with an ubercritical eye, watching for the inevitable errors I commit, small and large, ready to make mental note of them to add to their mental list of the reasons they feel they way they do about me. My successes go unnoticed or unnoted, while my failures seem to be exaggerated. They don't usually communicate any of this verbally (at least not to me), but they don't have to because their non-verbal communication screams to the high heavens.
And unfortunately, they are rarely people that I can just avoid or ignore. They tend to be people of significance, people who have influence over others, particularly others who are around me. They are often the "larger than life" types whose lack of respect for you looms over you like a shadow. At least over me, the girl who feels an organic need to have everyone like her.
There is always somebody like this in my life, often more than one at a time, like there is now. They drain me -- exhaust me -- sometimes paralyze me -- make me question everything I say, everything I do, everything I am. And I'm tired of the power they have over me. I want to master this obstacle so I can move on in the course.
What is it God wants me to learn from these relationships? To trust my own instincts about when I'm doing the right thing? To not care about others' opinions of me? To see these people through His loving eyes and not my own offended ones? I feel like I've already grown in all these areas over the years . . . and yet one semi-sneer from one of these semi-tormentors still puts me in tears. Maybe I just need to gather more "cheerleaders" around me to counteract them. But that seems a little pathetic, too.
SIGH. Anyway, I could certainly use a cheerleader today. And some sunshine. And a good night's sleep. And a hug. Can't wait for Keith to get home from his business trip.