“We hurt our own feelings by thinking we mean more to people than we really do.”
Those words caught my eyes multiple times this week as I scrolled social media. At last count, the post had been shared more than 1500 times in two weeks, at least three times by my own friends.
The most common comment under the shares … “Truth”.
Ever struggle with the same feeling?
I know I have. And at least 1500 other people over the last two weeks admitted to their newsfeed they struggle with the feeling.
Ready for the tough part?
When you expect someone else to sustain you, to fulfill your happiness, to complete you, to return love in the way you need love shown, to show up when you need them and they don’t … you’ve made them an idol in your life.
And that’s why you end up feeling disappointed and hurt. People were never designed to be mini-Gods in our lives. That’s pretty clear early on in the Bible.
Exodus 20:3 reads, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
We set all of our relationships up for failure when we put people on a pedestal because we worship something in them instead of worshiping God.
Psalm 107:9 reads, “For he satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul he fills with good things.”
Jonah 2:8 reads, “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them.”
While relationships with other people are far from worthless, the emotional dependency we place on those relationships is worthless. It creates an addiction in our lives that only God was designed to fill. When people fail to meet the need for our emotional dependency on them, we are left craving more. We demand it of them. We punish them when our expectations are left unfulfilled, and we sit in despair.
Philippians 2:3-4 reads, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
As I talked with a coworker this week about closing this chapter of my life and starting the next one, she said, “I wish you could hear what he says about you to others when you aren’t around. ‘She makes us better.’”
While most people might focus on the sentiments shared, I focused on the first sentence. It’s important to understand that most of the time, we never know what we truly mean to someone.
I have people I adore who have never heard me say the words, “I love you.” I have people I hate being around who have only ever seen me smile and show grace. I respond in anger to people who truly only deserve my patience and never apologize for it. I don’t tell people I appreciate them enough, and I often put the people I love most on the back burner when I screw up my priorities.
All that also sums up my daily struggle in my relationship with Christ, too.
So the next time you find yourself sitting in a stupor because you’re disappointed that you think you mean less to someone than you think you should mean in their life, recognize you’re probably wrong. But also recognize God feels the same way about you.
In the moments my heart longs for something more from a friend, my spouse, my child, a relative, or a coworker, I pause and check my pride. Pride is a sin, and when I recognize it, I can relinquish the emotional dependency I have on others and turn to Christ. By building a stronger relationship with Him, I learn to let go of the unhealthy addiction I have with emotional dependency on relationships elsewhere.
If you’re struggling to build your relationship with Christ, join us Sunday at Trinity Baptist Church in Texarkana. Our Connect Group meets at 9:00 in the Choir Room and we are studying Romans 10 (which is a great chapter I studied for the first time in my life this week). Then at 10:00, Pastor Marcus Brown will talk about ”What is the Mission of the Church?”.
I spent a decade not in church, and the church family I have found at Trinity has made me wish I would’ve taken the first step back inside the church much much sooner! Come join us in growing together in Christ!