Here we go a-jostling

We talked a couple posts ago about a pretty tough reality in relationships:

“Sometimes setting boundaries clarifies that you were left a long time ago, in every way, perhaps, except physically.” (Boundaries, 109)

There is certainly a lot of pain and a lot to grieve in that relational reality.  But this quote has also challenged me in an interesting, almost freeing and enlivening way.  Weird, huh?

You see, I don’t really want it to happen again.  I don’t really want to end up in a place again where I find out that not only has a friendship ended, but it actually ended years ago.  I want to know that my friendships are solid.  That the people who love me actually, well, love me.  Not that they love that I do what they want or comply with who they think I should be.  But that they love me – strengths, weaknesses, similarities, differences, yeses, nos.  *All* of me.

“Will some people abandon or attack us for having boundaries?  Yes.  Better learn about their character and take steps to fix the problem than never to know.” (Boundaries, 109)

I am blessed that I have friends that I know do love all of me.  So blessed.

How do I know?  Because we’ve jostled… and come out clean.

To be sure of a friendship requires jostling.  If I’m ‘compliant’ me and they like it, well, do they like me or my compliance?  Those are two very different things.  But if we’ve jostled and come out clean ~ now that’s the good stuff!

“You’ll either come out with increased intimacy—or learn that there was very little to begin with.” (Boundaries, 108)

Now there is certainly a caution here.  I shouldn’t go around a-jostling just to jostle.  Jostling isn’t an offensive tool:

“Boundaries are a defensive tool.  Appropriate boundaries don’t control, attack, or hurt anyone.  They simply prevent your treasures from being taken at the wrong time.  Saying no to adults, who are responsible for getting their own needs met, may cause discomfort.  They may have to look elsewhere.  But it doesn’t cause injury.” (Boundaries, 110)

I don’t jostle just to test friendships.  Friendships are more precious than that.

But our opening quote does still inspire me in an oddly freeing way.

So what does this inspire in me?  To be me!  To be fully, unabashedly, wholly me!  To do more things freely.  To do less things compliantly – reluctantly and under compulsion.  To be freely and wholly me!

Why?  Because I don’t need to sneak around trying to avoid jostles.  Instead, I welcome them.  I embrace them.  I don’t seek them or intentionally try to cause them, but I also don’t veer around them.  I welcome them because they show me the verity of our friendship.  They distill true relationship.  And that, I love!

Accepting jostles frees me to be fully me. Fully, freely me.  How enlivening is that?

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. ~ Romans 5:3-5