Friday, September 21, 2012

Burning Bridges

My oldest daughter is a cheerleader for her middle school. {I still can't believe I'm old enough to have a 7th grader!} I attended the homecoming pep rally at her school yesterday, and the football game last night, and was met with a rush of emotions at both.

My daughter has friends that she will likely carry into her adult years. As I watched her with them, I remembered my school days in what seemed like snapshots...from elementary through high school. I changed schools quite a few times due to moves. I switched between Christian and public schools throughout the years. The common thread that ran through all those years and schools for me was that of burning bridges.

I realized early in my childhood that my classmates usually had histories together. I was often "the new girl." And since we mostly lived in small towns, new kids often weren't easily accepted. The bigger the school, the easier to find acceptance. The smaller the school, the more difficult to fit in. Either way, I learned to hold friendships loosely, assuming I'd leave them at some point.

I rarely treated relationships with importance, though I craved them desperately.

Those childhood memories of leaving friendships and moving on to others didn't end there. I carried that trait with me straight into adulthood. I was desperate for deep, meaningful relationships, but didn't know how to cultivate them.

You see, people-pleasing people like me tend to gravitate toward the idea that if we can't please others, we leave them. We look for someone we can please. Fortunately, I've come to realize nobody is going to be pleased 100 percent of the time, including myself. Learning that about myself and others is freeing me up to set boundaries for myself and expect others to respect them.

I'm also learning that some bridges were built in such poor fashion that they can't withstand weight. It's scary to say, but I'm finding it true, that it's okay to burn those bridges, as long as the intent is to allow God to rebuild them properly if He so desires...to withstand weight and pressure. Who's to say how long that rebuilding may take {if at all}? For sure, building a bridge is not an overnight process.

Don't think for a second that I've got this relationship thing figured out. I struggle greatly with them. A battle rages within me: please to be accepted, or burn and run. This setting boundaries, and this hanging close by to see what God will do is new to me. But I have several people in my life who have taught me what it means to stand on the bridge, and meet in the middle. In fact, there have been times when they've even crossed it to my side and chased me down! I'm thankful. And I'm learning.

6 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. I think it's more of us than we admit.

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  2. So true for me too Rebekah! I miss our friendship!!! I really enjoy reading your posts and agree that I can't believe we have 7th graders who are cheering! Seems like just yesterday we were preggers together...

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