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Thursday, September 08, 2011

Thanksgiving Thursday: Delayed Answers

Today I am thankful for delayed answers. Which is kind of weird, because I'm the most impatient person I know. However... yesterday I had some wonderful quiet time in which God showed me the joy in the delayed answer to a prayer I prayed several years ago.

Rewind a few years. I was in a semi bad place, and I really needed someone to come alongside me. A really good friend knew someone in a similar place and tried to connect us. On the surface, this person and I had so much in common, and we really appeared to be a good fit. But time passed, and the connection never worked out. I prayed a lot about it, and I really prayed for this connection, because it seemed so perfect. I wondered why the only answer I received was silence.

Fast forward to recent months. Over the past few months I learned some things about this person that have made me realize that we would have had a very toxic and damaging relationship. I know that I would have taken a lot of it personally and having a relationship with this person would have really hurt me. I know this because of some things that happened to a friend of mine with this person.

My friend called me yesterday to apologize for saying bad things about this person, and as she apologized, I started to realize what a gift it had been. First off, my friend had nothing to apologize for- she had merely been talking about her experience with this person and trying to figure out the right thing to do. But secondly, as I saw the behaviors this other person exhibited, I realized how I would have been affected by them. It would not have been healthy for me. So I thanked my friend. Because her words gave me the clarity to an answer I'd been looking for about this person.

Why couldn't we connect?

I think God prevented us from connecting, because He knew that we would have connected, but ultimately, the differences in our personalities would have created a toxic relationship that would have been damaging to me, and maybe even both of us. I am learning that I don't always know my limits when it comes to people. I let in a lot of bad people and I don't have good enough boundaries to keep them from hurting me. I am learning to have better boundaries (but still need a lot of work), but back then, my difficulty in maintaining boundaries would have made the situation really bad.

I also realized that the reason God didn't just say, "no," is that back then, I would not have understood. I didn't know that I had a problem with boundaries, and I would have pushed myself to do what I thought was the right thing, even though it was the wrong thing. Please don't misunderstand and think that I think this person is a bad person or that I'm judging this person for what happened to my friend. I truly believe this person was doing what s/he thought best. I just saw a pattern of behavior and reactions that I know would have been a bad situation for me. I had observed these behaviors over the past several months without my friend's feedback, but my friend's words provided confirmation.

So I have been sitting here, sad for my friend and the hurt she is feeling, but also grateful that God protected me from what would have been worse hurt. I didn't understand my lack of answers years ago, but today, I get it. And it's helping me to think about all the other delayed answers, the longings in my heart that I don't understand why God hasn't clearly told me anything other than wait. I don't like the waiting, and I don't like the thought that perhaps in the end, the answer will be no. But I see how God has protected me in this situation, and I feel strengthened knowing that my other delayed answers may be more about my protection and growth than it is about God being a big meanie.

What about you? Are there answers you are waiting on? Is there something in that wait you can be thankful for?

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