Vulnerable – capable of being physically or emotionally wounded. Open to attack or damage. Comes from the Latin ‘vulnerare’ – to wound.
My blog is and has always been about being honest. Real and honest words. Today I’m taking it one step further and I’m making myself vulnerable. Please be gentle – my skin thickening process is still a work in progress.
When I was student one of my dear Pastors, with the most loving and kindest of hearts would talk about ‘extra grace required’ people. Or EGR for short. She coined this term to describe the people in our lives…that stand out from the rest…that possibly drain our emotions..they don’t always fit in so well. Sometimes they seem to suffer from the same ‘affliction’ over and over again. They seem to listen but not hear.
I think we all can think of at least a few people in our lives that fall under this EGR category. Maybe you’ve dealt with them in the past, or are currently navigating doing life with them now.
Sometimes people are very happy to be takers. They turn up to events that they haven’t helped set up, they leave without doing their bit to help pack down. We can take take take in any areas of our lives. It is easy to be spectators in this life.
What happens when we constantly have people in our lives that want to take, take, take from us?
How are we to react appropriately when friendship is NOT reciprocal?
What is the correct response when communication only happens when the other party needs you?
Yes, this is a real situation in my life. And to be honest and vulnerable with you, I have had trouble knowing what my response should be. As a women desperately seeking to become changed and moulded into Godly ways, into thinking of others and putting others first…..how can I outlive this in my own life? When I hurt. When I feel used and abused. When there is a cycle going on.
I’ve swayed in my responses so far. I’ve done the rescuing thing. I’ve done the create some distance thing. And neither option seem to help. To my shame I have harbored real anger and frustration and I’ve thought such thoughts as ‘Why can’t I fix this person when I’ve invested so much in her’. Yep. Not my finest moment. Not the ‘better person’ option and I’m ashamed to admit it.
I’m used to liking people. I’m used to getting on with a wide variety of people. At the risk of blowing my own trumpet I think my people skills and communication skills are ok.
Then why does it hurt so very much, to be in friendships that are not reciprocal? To feel like I’m taken for granted?
Here’s what I’m trying to do to help myself…..
* Recognize that other people’s expectations of a friendship may be different to what my expectations are.
* Sit down and really look at the person’s strengths. Focus on the positives. Not dwell on the negatives.
* Verbalize to others the positives this person has. It does something in your heart when you jump to defend someone who needs defending – especially when they are not there.
* Make sure your EGR people know you are there for them – but know it is ok to remove yourself a little. Even Jesus took time out from the crowds to spend time with the Father, but he was still accessible. Now I know I’m not God – but I am trying to be like Jesus, so I want my friends to know that at the end of the day I still care and I still want to be there for them.
I’m still working out how best to honour and love on Extra Grace Required people. It isn’t the easiest of things. I believe strongly in loyalty to friends and that my word is my word. How do you love the extra grace required people in your life? How can you be Jesus with skin on? How can you allow yourself to be vulnerable – yet still take some responsibility and not enable further behaviour that is going to harm your friendship?
Extra grace is certainly required of me. The challenge is how to outflow this grace in a real and even a tangible way.