A few weeks ago, a close friend of mine admitted to me that she had found it hard to be completely honest with me when we first met. We had been talking about life and its ups and downs, and I had just told her that I was learning more & more to take people as they are - when she confessed to me that she had had to filter a lot of what she said to me when we first met.
She said that it was because she was afraid of the way I'd respond - or react - to what she said. Her statement caught me by surprise, seeing as we've been friends for a while; and judging by where our friendships is now, I never imagined that she had ever felt that way about me! 😮
After our conversation, I couldn't help but think about what she had told me. I tried to remember who I was when I first met her; and slowly, I began to understand exactly what she meant...
I can't remember the exact details of what we used to talk about then, but I remember being very much against a lot of what I saw around me at the time.
I had just moved back to Europe after four years of being away, and was now living in a more liberal country than the one I'd lived in before. It was a whole new world to me, and I shared a lot of what I was feeling with her. Based on this memory, I can see how she came to that conclusion. And in the end, I was happy that she had chosen to share how she'd felt then with me now. Because it forced me to take a long, hard look at myself...
I've always been the type of person who says exactly what I think or feel in the moment - especially when I don't agree with something or someone else's opinion - and it was no different when I met her. I'm aware that it might rub some people the wrong way sometimes, but I'd never thought that it might portray me as a judgemental person.
The conversation I had with my friend that day brought something important to light - how we come across to other people matters more than our intentions do. As Christians, it's so important for us to create a safe space where others feel comfortable being themselves, rather than one where they constantly feel like they are walking on egg shells.
It's hard enough being yourself in this judgemental world, but it shouldn't be that way when you're among people you call friends.
With that said, my new goal is to not only take people as they are, but to also try to create a safe space where they can feel free being themselves around me.
'If God speaks softly, perhaps we should too. If God does not rant at the world, neither should we.' - quote from the book Gracious Christianity: Living the Love We Profess by Douglas Jacobsen and Rodney J. Sawatsky.