Disappointing Others

I hate disappointing others.

If I feel like I have, there is a big, icky feeling in my stomach that doesn't want to go away.

I am all about encouraging others, being there for people, and cheering them on.

But sometimes, my actions disappoint.

Sometimes it is intentional.  I get too lazy to follow through on a promise.

Or I am just stubborn, and don't want to do something.

Or maybe someone else's actions made me mad, and I don't want to be of help.

Or I really don't care at the moment.

Sometime it is unintentional.

I do something that is perfectly innocent, but it is taken the wrong way.   It is misconstrued.  And someone is disappointed in me, even though my motivations are pure.

But this is part of life.  I handle these situations better than I used to when I was younger.  I think I have developed more grace, and more patience.  And more love.

Sometimes I realize I am not always reading a situation correctly.  Sometimes I may think I have let someone down, or disappointed them, and the way they are acting actually has nothing to do about me.

I call it the "it isn't always all about me" syndrome.

I learned this about 20 years ago when I was reading a situation wrong with another person.  This person had just moved to where I was living, and acting strange and was acting strangely toward me.  I, of course, thought it was something I had done.

Months later, I learned that this person was sad about having to move where I was living, was missing their previous town and life in that town, and was dealing with the emotions that went along with the move.

And it had nothing, whatsoever, to do with me.  That was a great lesson to learn.

Sometimes we have no control of how others are going to react to us.  Because we are being ourself, someone gets disappointed, and we can't always please everyone.  We have to be true to ourselves, and be who we are created to be, even if others don't like or appreciate that in us.

This summer something happened in our neighborhood, and I was certain one of the neighbors was mad at me and avoiding me and not talking to me.  I was sick about it.  I often felt trapped in my own home because I didn't want to be confronted or ignored by this person.

The other day I walked past their house, and my neighbor was as friendly as can be, acted like nothing happened and all was fine.  It probably all was fine, right from the beginning.  I probably imagined a conflict that was not there, and misinterpreted things going on that weren't really happening.  I am glad I had patience and waited until the situation played out on its' own, and didn't confront the neighbor about it.  Yes, I was uncomfortable for a few months, but it all seems fine now. 

God is always teaching me things about loving others, and loving my neighbor.  I often get it wrong, I often mess up, I often make decisions based on fear. 

But I try and keep learning, and try and keep trying to be loving.  Even though I disappoint others, and often just want to crawl into a ball and cry, I make it to another day, and start anew.

To me, life is about relationships.  And one of those relationships is with myself.  I need to learn to love me sometimes, even if I do disappoint.

I need to love others, even if they disappoint me, or I disappoint them.

Love your enemies.  Pray for those who persecute you.  Those are the words of Jesus, not me.  Jesus challenges us to go beyond loving the lovable, and loving the unlovable.  And He is there to help us love...so we don't have to do it all on our own.

What a world we would live in if we lived by these words.

But it is kind of hard.

And we are all kind of selfish.

But God knew that, and that is why He had Jesus share the teachings He did...to show us there is a better way.

The religious leaders of Jesus' time asked Him what the greatest commandment was...and this was His reply:

36 “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[d] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Which, to me, means if we follow these two commandments, everything else will fall into place.  It almost seems too easy. 

But we aren't meant to muster enough strength and good will to do this on our own.

That is why Jesus is with us, to help us love one another.

But, even when the Son of God is right next to us, helping every step of the way, it is still hard.

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