When your world turns upside down- practically and relationally- you need ways to right your world again.
The unfortunate truth about community is the mess of the mass. When we are attempting to live in close proximity to anyone- our lives will smack – shoulder to shoulder in a crowded room. I must confess as much as I would like to navigate my relationships free from this bump and jostling- I SIMPLY CAN’T. Our will is strong, our hearts soft. The same relationships that bring us great joy can bring us to our knees. How do you handle the hurt? How do you repair the mistake? How do we move forward- without moving apart?
The restored covered bridge stands out as a worthwhile investment of time and energy. Without repair, the road ends. Not only was it repaired it was restored. Here are found- four ways of restoration to keep moving forward.
1) Repair Quickly
When my husband and I have had a challenge or difficulty I often will present the question, “How do we move forward?”
Recently my car broke down in Bend Oregon and I’ve been stranded here, and am writing from the road -my routine could not be resumed until my car was fixed. This has served to teach me a valuable lesson when relationships have broken down we can often find ourselves stranded in the last place, the last words, the last conversation, the last event, the last hurt, you get it right? And we should work toward repair restoring the key relationships in our life. Working towards repair isn’t ignoring the wrong just as my car underwent diagnostics and the mechanic’s careful examination. Grace works towards mending rather than blaming. Start by asking ourselves what worked what didn’t work and why? Look for the good and then sort out the negative.
With our car we had to decide whether to repair it or to get a new car. At the end of the day I really love my car and the repair would take a while but it would be worth it.
Before you throw the relationship out recount all the blessings and all the good that you have found with that friend, that co-worker, that church, that family, that husband, that child.
In our culture today we easily throw away many items that could be repaired -work towards simplicity and start appreciating what you do have. Gratitude makes forgiving the other party much easier. Many times the problems we face, are found in the greatest gifts we are given. Recall the prayed for moments- I asked God for this man, this daughter, this work place, ect.
Attempt to understand the dynamics of each person. Start, with how you both can be a blessing and a benefit to one another in the future.
Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. (Proverbs 4:25-26 ESV)
2) Let it Air
This point is simple, know when to stop talking about it. Ladies, let it air. Intentionally, take a break.
I couldn’t stay on the phone with the car repair shop every day all day had to let them do their part and be patient. My point here -God’s into the restoration process- give him some space to work.
3) Speak the Truth in Love
The third helpful way is to make sure the next communication is positive, truthful, and loving.
“Make honesty and integrity the distinguishing characteristics of your speech.”
Excerpt From: Richard J. Foster. “Celebration of Discipline.”
Healthy communication is foundational. We do not hide from the negative, rather we address it like teammates trying to tackle the opposing offense. (NOT one another)
This is also the part where I pay the bill for the repair- I make the effort. I speak words of life full and brimming with affirmation and appreciation.
4) Follow up
Having consistent healthy communication as you move forward shows the strength of the repair. Don’t avoid contact, push through the awkward.
Follow up with grace, this means that as you reflect on the conflict -you reflect on it as individuals -who have forgiven the matter. Bring a gift, write a note- send a text, hug it out!
Bonus, when your not sure your next move let love lead.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV)