Many years ago, I believed if I just had enough counseling I could overcome my dysfunction and be a normal person. Now don’t get me wrong, I strongly believe in therapy. And when you come from severe dysfunction, sometimes it’s your only hope. But it’s not like taking a pill when you have an infection. Therapy doesn’t just make it all go away.
And who wants to get counseling when it forces you to look at yourself. For in that looking, you see all the ways you self-destruct your own life and those around you.
For most of my adult life, I’ve fought against my own dysfunction. To know me, is to know my struggle. I’m outspoken, controlling, and driven to get my own way. And I don’t struggle in silence. I tend to openly reveal my battles, and I expect others to do the same. To me, intimacy involves a deep down sharing of the wars that rage inside us. I believe it’s where I begin to understand you and you begin to understand me.
And in that understanding, deep relationships bloom. For if I know the source of your struggle, and I see you fighting against it, I can respect you. I can join you in your fight. And cheer you on to victory.
It’s true, the closer someone is, the greater they can hurt you. That’s always the risk. Let someone in, and the pain door flings wide open. But when I know your challenges, it makes it easier for me to apply grace.
On the flip side, I don’t share my struggles so other’s can use them against me. I don’t reveal them as fuel for someone to build up their own distorted view of themselves.
Over the years, many well-meaning folks have tried to fix me. I guess it goes with the territory of having a soap opera caliber life. Perhaps it makes them feel better to help a sloppy soul like mine. But their pity makes me feel worthless. I wanted friendship, but it was clear that was never their goal.
It’s so cliché to say life is not fair. But there’s no phrase that says it better. I celebrate those who had great childhoods. It’s wonderful your dad invested in you or your mom was the model for June Cleaver. Maybe you’re not a self-saboteur like me. But I’d almost bet you struggle with pride.
That’s what’s so great about Christ. He never let anyone off the hook. We all have something to own in this great big battle against sin. And our only job is to turn around and take a look at ourselves. Examine our own hearts. It’s all there waiting for us to unravel.
But there’s nothing like great friends who are willing to chug alongside us as we face the worst parts of ourselves.