I can never take your place. I don’t want to take your place. But if you fear that I will…your actions can prevent me from fulfilling mine.
Maybe you have wanted to say something like that to someone who (on some level) feels threatened by you. Maybe someone wishes they could say it to you!
Why can’t we trust God more with the variety of (often challenging) relationships that He has allowed in our sphere? Of course there are some who are clearly unhealthy but how many do we eliminate or avoid because of our own selfishness?
Maybe you have a friend or relative who feels threatened by you but doesn’t think you notice. When you are interacting with her children she jumps in to whisk them away or just interrupts the sweet flow of conversation to keep them from connecting with you.
Maybe you are the one who feels threatened! You may have had an experience with this person that leads you to believe you should be threatened. Perhaps you just see the other person as smarter or prettier…more charismatic.
It could be that your own spouse threatens you at times. You just feel like you have to compete!
On the other side of this, you may feel like you are being forced to withdraw in order for your spouse, sibling or friend not to feel you are competing. You can’t have easy, natural conversations with those in his or her sphere. She thinks it is subtle. You think it is obvious…she wants to keep you at arm’s length.
As the one feeling threatened, it is your responsibility to analyze the situation. Your part is to ask God to open your eyes and help you correct your feelings and actions. Very often it is your own insecurity and lack of faith fueling this need to distance yourself. Maybe it is your “good cop” husband (or wife) that makes you feel less than. Maybe the kids just seem to like him (or her) better!
As the one being pushed away, you must also analyze and ask God. Don’t give up. Maybe you open up the conversation with the one doing the pushing. Maybe that is impossible right now but you can sure pray and ask for that opportunity. In the meantime, find the place in space where you can develop some measure of friendship that falls within the bounds of comfort for your threatened friend, sister or daughter. Don’t walk away.
If the problem is with your spouse, talk it through…as many times as it takes. Help each other!
No matter who is involved or which side of this you are on…ask God for wisdom and sensitivity and keep trying. Do all you do out of love…not out of a sense of entitlement.
If you do this…someday the balance will be better…the boundaries broader. In the meantime, you will be making memories and breaking down walls.
Philippians 2:1-4 (MSG) 1 If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— 2 then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. 3 Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. 4 Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.