I’m on the edge of a nightmare. Seriously, it’s even given me nightmares the last couple of days. Friday, my daughter will be 11. No longer a small step away from childhood, such as ten felt like. No, she’s on the edge of adolescence. Barbie dolls have been replaced by purses and cute boots on her birthday list. I’m freaking out just a little. Not to mention that with this new phase of life comes hormones and mood swings and all that jazz. I may have gotten my first taste yesterday of what this could look like: she voiced her displeasure with me for well over an hour after I made her come hang with her brother and I outside. Playing games in the backyard used the be our favorite thing to do. Instead, we played while she ranted about being “forced to come outside.”
As time wore on and I remained happy despite her best efforts, her mouth became less and less kind until I finally just stopped trying to coax her into playing and we did our thing without her. After an hour or so, I let everyone come in and I sent her to her room because she was still not over her attitude. I went in to explain to her how her behavior was not respectful and godly, and she continued to pour out her anger, so I left her to fume over it. About twenty minutes later, she said she was done and wanted to come out and join us, so I let her. She picked up her phone and began to text and my phone went off …. It was my daughter. Her text said, “Mom, I really need a hug. I’ve been trying to tell you that for the last fifteen minutes or so, but you weren’t listening.”
Um … I heard everything she said, and that was nowhere in there. So I sent back, “All that was just to say you need a hug?” Her reply was, “I don’t know, exactly.” So while hugging, we discussed how she could have communicated more effectively her need.
I’ve been thinking about this all day: how hard it was for my daughter to tell me, whom she shares most everything with, that she needs a hug. And I wonder … how many other people out there are communicating in such detrimental ways because they don’t know how to say what they really mean. What really hurts the most is that she most likely learned this communication skill from me … I am afraid I’m guilty of saying things to hide what I really want to say. This is something I work on all the time, because I believe that “you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.” Lies, whether blatant or borne subconsciously from some deep-seated fear, put people in bondage. I hate bondage. Been there, done that and NEVER want to go back. But I understand the fear of rejection and feelings of worthlessness when you are vulnerable to someone who doesn’t reciprocate or respond to your feelings. But do you know what else I have learned? There are people out there who can help you heal from that if you will just trust one more time … or maybe a few more times. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? Amen!
Back to my point: everything she said to me was lost in translation. She was trying to say something without really saying it, and instead, she was saying other things she didn’t really mean to hide her real need. I told her afterward, “You can’t draw people to you by pushing them away.” And that’s true. You can’t keep people at arms’ length and expect them to hear the very quiet cry of your heart. Let them close!
And, I know now that there are people I am around everyday who have a heart cry that I can’t understand, who are saying one thing and silently screaming out another. I’m usually at a loss. I can’t understand and do not discern the deeper needs most of the time. I am really naïve, I think. But, the Holy Spirit is faithful to provide discernment if we ask for it, and I know that I will need it now more than ever, and even more so in the upcoming years in my life.
Come, Holy Spirit, I need You! I want to be less inclined to listen to what I hear, and much more aware of what You hear. Be my translator in all my relationships so that I can know what people need and respond in the way the need me to respond. Teach me, open my ears and be my guide in the days ahead. I trust you!