Recently I talked about Toxic Relationships — I was saddened at the amount of email I got from women who've suffered through some tough relationship junk. It's like there's an epidemic of bad girlfriend relationships — and we don't know how to cure it. Beyond that we don't even want to talk about it.
We'll admit to relationship problems in our marriage and with our children, but it's a rare thing to hear us announce “I'm having a hard time with my friend.” Sure, we'll talk ABOUT a friend (not that we're truly a friend if we're talking ABOUT her) , but to admit that we are hurt or confused in our friendships is not something we do.
I wonder why?
I didn't want to talk bad about her. Well, I really did want to talk about her. I wanted everyone to know she was mean to me, but it wasn't just her fault, it was my fault and I didn't want to talk about that part. Also, we had so many common friends that I didn't want to put them in the position of taking sides. I just kept my mouth shut. I would love to tell you I kept quiet to glorify God, but I didn't. I was just saving face.
I was embarrassed. Yes, embarrassed. I felt foolish and silly to be so hurt by a friend. It wasn't like my husband left or my kids were involved in drugs. This was just a friend. It was JUST a friendship — why was I so broken up over it? Why do I still miss the friend I thought she was?
I don't have the answers but I know that the enemy is hard at work among friendships. We, as women, tend to lead with our hearts. We love much, we are emotional, hormonal and social creatures. It's the way God created us. It's a part of who we are, but we cannot allow our emotions to control us. We can't allow the social to become our idol. We can't allow our feelings to dictate our actions. We serve a powerful and mighty God who is faithful and true to each of us. He will equip us for each task He lays before us and if that task involves a difficult relationship He will equip us for it. (Heb 13:21)
We have power, wisdom and might — we are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a woman for His possession. We shout the praises of the One who called us out of the darkness and into His marvelous Light. (from 1Peter 2:9)
That means we do not succumb to relationship junk, we step up and we step over the mess. Not hurting a sister, but not allowing her mess to mess us up.
God has a plan and a purpose for each of us. For me and for you. We can't fulfill that plan if we are bogged down in all the mess that surrounds toxic friendships.
It's not easy to walk through this junk unscathed. It's impossible to not be impacted by a toxic relationship, but let's commit to use it for good. How that works out for you is likely very different than it is for me. God calls each of us to a very individual walk.
Let's stop the epidemic. How? What are your thoughts?
How can we stop toxic relationships before they start? or recognize them quickly?