See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.
~Deuteronomy 30:15 NIV~
Sometimes what we think we see isn’t what is happening at all. We cannot ever know a person’s true motivation for the choices they make. Most often, our anger or frustration with someone comes from our perception of why they have done something we didn’t like or agree with. In reality, their decisions likely had nothing to do with us. In reality, they are choosing a particular option because of something they are feeling or based on what their experience is telling them is the best way to go. It usually doesn’t have a thing to do with them not loving us enough or with them discounting our great, expansive knowledge about something. Yes, although we may think we have all the answers, our answers may not be the right answers for anyone but us.
I’ve experienced this in many different situations. I’ve been in relationships with people who, for whatever reason, decided that they didn’t want to stay with me. My first thought was that I was not enough. I didn’t have what they needed. I wasn’t attractive enough. I wasn’t successful enough. I wasn’t good enough. In reality, I was actually too much. I had already cleared the hurdles that they were still stumbling over and my willingness to help them make it over was just too much for them to take at that moment in their journey. And even though I have made some good progress in my own struggles, the fact that I’m not willing to accept that I no longer have to live in the struggle in order to keep my relationships going shows that I still have a long way to go myself. Maybe I shouldn’t be so helpful until I get past ALL of the hurdles? Or maybe I just need to learn which relationships are supposed to make it over the hurdles with me and which are supposed to be left on the track? This remains to be seen, but I think I already know the answer…at least as it pertains to me.
Other situations where I’ve had to back down some have been with family. There have been many times when I thought I knew what was best for a loved one and they had already made up their mind to do something else. When I was younger, I didn’t have the experience to know better. Now that I’ve gone through some things, I still have had only my own experiences. So, yes, while our experience qualifies us to give advice or offer suggestions, it does not give us authority over someone else’s choices. We can only hope that their history with us and our past interactions have instilled in them some level of trust in our motives for offering advice. After all, when we love someone it can be difficult to know or think we know what would be best for them and watch them take off in a different direction. We really don’t know that our way will bring the best possible outcome…we only hope that it would.
The key in all of these situations is that we trust that God’s hand in the matter will guide it to a favorable outcome. Sometimes we have to lose people. Sometimes, they weren’t supposed to be with us in the first place. Sometimes, we have to let God walk people through the most difficult situations they are dealing with. He won’t lead them down the wrong path. So, even if someone else has greater influence over them than we do, we cannot discount God’s influence there as well. I don’t agree with every choice my loved ones have made. They haven’t agreed with all of mine either. But we can only go as far down the path with someone as they will allow us to go. It is their choice whether or not they try to do the rest of it on their own or if they allow God to do what He needs to do to get them to their destination.