I used to be a runner.
No, not the kind that wears shorts and runs around a track. A runner who fled from confrontation. I would get just far enough away to complain about the way I was treated by others. I didn’t know that the real confrontation needed to take place within me. How do you respond to circumstances? Do you run from them? Or do you embrace the process where you are? Here are four scenarios to look at.
“That’s it, I can’t take it anymore. The boss pushes my buttons. My co-workers are mean. I was never trained properly. Nobody will miss me anyway. I’m outta here!”
“I am looking at another career that will be a better match for me. It’s tough to risk job changes. I learned a lot about myself over the years I’ve been with this company. I’ve done a lot to get ready for a career change.”
“This is the third church that has hurt me. It makes me mad. They don’t recognize my calling. I’m leaving!”
“We are excited about the new direction we have! We are taking a big step with lots of encouragement from our church family.”
“Who would’ve thought we would grow apart? You fight me with me over everything. You’ve become a crazy person. I can’t keep doing this! There’s no other option but to leave!”
“Who would’ve thought we would grow apart? We fight about everything! It hurts me. I can’t keep doing this! We need to find help. Are you willing to find help with me?”
4. Compulsive behaviors
“You can’t control your (drinking, anger, weight, mouth, womanizing, etc…) You’re stupid! Just screw this whole thing, you can get out, and leave us all alone!”
“You have issues that are hurting me. It’s painful for me. This (drinking, anger, weight, mouth, womanizing, etc…) has changed you. I need to be safe. I want to stay with you but not like this. If you don’t find the help you need, then I’ll look at what’s best for my own health and welfare. But I'd rather work on this together. Are you willing to get help?
Each one of these four situations has two responses to a situation. A run from and a run to.
Life does take many turns. There are thousands of scenarios that happen every day. I know these stories are generalizations. I understand that there are times when it’s too dangerous to not move out of a situation. But, for most of the other times, when change is made there are two important questions to ask;
Am I running from something?
Am I running to something?
What do these questions indicate?
Let’s start with “running from something”.
When running from something there are times we are running from an inner lack or need. Inner pain, woundedness, low self-esteem, or situations where your “buttons are pushed” are a few of those. These are real and unwanted realities. But what is seen is the presenting situation, not the inner lack or need. It’s the tension that comes with relationships that spur us to action. Our personal filters hide the inner pain that is activated by the tension. The pain is now present and can be seen by others, but not by us.
As we get away from the person or situation we pack up the inner needs with us. As the tension is moved farther away the inner needs are folded back into our lives. They wait for another opportunity to make themselves known. It’s our “normal” so we think nothing of it. This type of life will become a life that is on the repeat cycle, over and over again.
I personally know this life well. It was how I lived for a number of years. After cycling through this time and time again I would conclude that people can’t be trusted, all churches are harmful, nobody will ever understand me, and that I am profoundly and permanently broken.
The cycles were like a centrifuge that spun my life around and around separating out anything worthwhile and leaving me with only the ability to see the worst in me and others. It also had a profound effect on those who were closest to me. Yes, I took all my pain and would run.
Running from something is a sprint, and then another sprint, and another sprint,.. on and on. You get my point. It cycles throughout life until you or I take intentional action to work through our own brokenness. These cycles are ugly. Devastating. Loss of friends. Loss of you are. Loss of hope for a better life. A path of hurt in the wake of our life.
Let’s look at “running to something”.
To run to something is to acknowledge that a situation is less than ideal, even painful and then choose to take action towards getting to the reason why. To patiently stay near the activated pain until there’s a resolution about it. Maybe the other person really is a jerk? But, I have some issues too.
Maybe this person reminds me of another person who caused deep hurt. But the situation now is different; This person values me but I can’t see it. Why do I have buttons and then I react the way I do when they are pushed? Why do I feel like someone just hurt me? Or “made me angry”? (hint-We choose anger) Why do I not trust anyone?
Have I expressed fully to another that their actions or words are harmful and we can work to find change? The point is, when the pain is activated by the present relational tension then that is a good time to look behind the true cause of it. It’s an intentional decision to find inner health. Run to it.
................This bears repeating; Actively working on inner pain is an intentional decision.
Seeking healing from woundedness is a choice to patiently work on your own health.
Learning about who you are, walking through healing, and growing in self-esteem brings wholeness. It also allows a person to love themselves, just as they are. Seeking healing also means that we must seek out others to help us. It can't be healed privately.
Relational woundedness is healed relationally.
The wound lives there, so the healing must take place there.
I learned to “disconnect my buttons” so that when people and situations push them they have no control over me. I found that they didn't 'make me angry'. I found that I chose, at some point, to become angry.
What is the process of “running to something”. The process begins as choosing to seek personal change and encouraging others to do the same. It is a longer “run” than running from something.
Running to something is, first, turning to find personal growth and healing. Then, it’s finding that doors to a new life begin to open up. It’s a marathon. But it’s a marathon, with a team of people that grows as the marathon is run. It gets easier as the weight of pain, brokenness and personal doubts are cast away. The baggage is slowly left behind. It's is redemptive, and restorative.
I now have the experience of running to something. The marathon that is full life lived with others. Lived fully loving and honoring who God made me to be and honoring those around me who are also running towards something.
Are you are sprinting through life on the same track over and over again?
If so, tell me what that looks like in your life.
Have you found your way to a redemptive and restorative Life?
I'd love to hear your story.
June 12th, 2019
Selma, CA 93662-0297