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Steady state

Someday I'd like to stop feeling freaked out by relating with people. Not sure just what that would entail—in writing it sounds like a pretty severe problem; in practice it's both less and more than that. It's less in that, functionally, I'm pretty good with people and understand them on many levels (sometimes more than most of them would be comfortable with). It's more in that, relationally, there's some kind of blind spot that confuses me across a wide variety of people, maybe something connected with a need or want they have that's simply not present for me. I can see it and feel it in them, but I don't connect with it, don't navigate well around it, and don't feel like I can meet it.

Heaven knows that I have my ups and downs dispositionally—no way that could even be in question. But on a fundamental level, much of the time I'm OK. Not unfeeling (I feel plenty, all the time) or unaffected, but OK—my feelings often just don't affect my ability to be OK. I could speculate on why that's the case, but it's tough to explain and may be tougher to understand.

But that's not how I read others much of the time. Instead, it feels like they need or want something in order to be OK, and I want them to just go ahead and be OK. I don't mean to be dismissive of feelings; in fact, I'm terribly respectful of them in that I don't even understand why they should be changed and replaced by other feelings so urgently—feel what you feel and be OK with that. But others don't seem to work that way, either by nature or by choice, and I get more and more lost when I try to relate.

The ante is upped when I feel their want or need turned on me—it scares me on some level. I'm sure there's plenty of laziness, selfishness, faithlessness, and outright sin in my response. I'm afraid of getting used up or drained dry in someone's attempt to be (possibly momentarily) OK. Since I don't understand why they can't just be OK, I don't know what or how much I can give toward that want or need. Not giving is selfish and cold; giving is throwing myself into a relational freefall. Where's the bottom? When will you be OK?

As I get older, I get more skittish on even simpler wants and needs. Faced with some of the smallest desires from others, I'm immediately afraid of being consumed. I love focus and mission and purpose, because then I know what we're shooting for and when we'll be done. I can deal with and even enjoy being depended upon for something, but just being generally depended on scares the bejeezus out of me. I don't want to be a dependency—I don't even understand how that would work or what would ever be enough. For me, that's the equivalent of signing a blank check or the back page of an unread contract.

The disconnect has potentially monstrous repercussions—in how I view culture and politics, in my career, in my friendships, with my family, in my marriage, and in my relationship with God. No man is an island, but this man is afraid he's doing a truly rotten job of connecting with anyone else.


"I don't want to be a dependency—I don't even understand how that would work or what would ever be enough. For me, that's the equivalent of signing a blank check or the back page of an unread contract.

Well, I know there's a whole lot more to what you just shared than what I am going to tap into, but this statement of yours seems to be rather key in that I think most people do try to write blank checks when they absolutely should not, (Jesus is the only one who has that much to give) and disappointment among friends inevitably ensues when we constantly over commit ourselves to one another.

You often speak on this subject as though you are failing or have failed in some way at not being as present as you should be in others lives when it may be that you have actually succeeded at something the rest of us would do well to work on... That being our not being so present.

Imagine if everyone was only as present as God would have us to be, no more and no less. The distractions would be cut to such a minimum that whoa nellie, we might actually have to start relying on God a little more than our neighbor, friend, co-worker, husbands or wives.

I'm just saying that sometimes we can 'be there' too much for people as well, and that isn't always what God has in mind when he has us serving one another. Sometimes serving also involves stepping away from for a time.

Hey, maybe this all stems from your youth? It had to be difficult to have your cousins come in and need to deal with what they needed to deal with. I wasn't in that household but I remember mom and dad talking about the additional kids' issues that your parents voiced to them. I'm not saying that you didn't or don't care for them but it had to be hard to give so much at such a young age. Maybe I'm way off, but the dependency issue sounds a lot like it could be caused by such an event.

On the other hand, I agree with the other person that responded. I don't think that God wants us to be everything for one person. That person needs to put their "big girl panties on and just deal with it!" LeAnne and I were talking about this last night. There has to be some point in our adult lives that we grow up and stop being victims. There are WAY too many "victims" in our society. I'm at the point where I don't care what someones parents did or didn't do to them as a child. There are so many people that blame their struggles and problems on their upbringing/parents or childhood. As a parent, I know that I'm gonna screw up my kid one way or another but I'm also teaching her to take responsibility for her own decisions. I also pray for her always.

I love the idea of people having to lean on God more and more. It's a hard lesson to learn but wow, when it's in your face to rely only upon Him, it's a GREAT gift!

*God, thank you so much for this man. Give him peace in his heart that he is doing great things for you in your name. We give You all the glory, Jesus Christ. Amen.*
I've been at this ministry thing since 1976 and early on I wanted and tried desperately to meet the needs of every person that came along. I learned very quicly that it was impossible.
Only Christ can meet the needs of all persons. Learn to discern between the needs you can and cannot or should and should not meet. Don't feel guilty when the later comes along. Holy Spirit will show you. James 1
Hang tough, it ain't over.