REALationships

The Fall of 2006 brought many changes. At The Water’s Edge was worshiping regularly on Sunday evenings and while it was such a place of comfort for me, we were about to experience our first set of growing pains. We were intrigued by a conversation to partner in helping start an extension of Ecclesia Houston, but while all of this was swirling in the air of change, there were personal undercurrents for each of us as individual leaders. In the time of my life when I was the most open to God and what I was being called to, I was also confronted with a big demon.

Authenticity. This word that we valued as a community began to haunt my soul. I longed for people to know me, but only the parts of me that were nice and neat and pretty. Developing and thriving in honest relationships with women, in particular, has always been tough for me. I’m not feel-ey. I don’t like hugs and Vera Bradley and I hate all things kitchen related. The passions and interest areas that draw many women together are not appealing to me. And then there is the drama. I cannot handle it. I don’t want to have to work at being close to people. As an introvert, I’m really quite content to be alone. But at 31, I had not yet embraced that reality.

I found myself time and time again trying to put my square non-conforming girlfriend needs into round wanna-talk-about-all-the-things relationship. And when I could not figure our how to do friendships well, I would run or combust. Either option was a safe bet. What changed in this season was that I found partnership in the shared vision and mission for the Church. It was out of the pain of past wounds that I can remember standing in a dear friend’s house one afternoon and saying the words, “I will push you away. So, please don’t let me.”

But the truth of the matter is, when you want to hide, you can…try. And I wanted to hide. In my attempt to hide, I pushed and shoved and wiggled my way to shutting out the people that were the closest to me. I had spent my life in full time ministry managing my emotions, hang-ups and issues in an attempt to create the facade of a shiny happy Jesus loving leader.

Until this point in life, I had never had a friend that could call me on my spiritual shortcomings and drive me towards my strength. And the truth was, she knew me. She knew there was more to my story in this season of life, and I can remember the day that I made the conscious decision to push her away. No one else was on to me, and I was not ready to give up this double life dance that I was leading. I disconnected. I did not fight or intercede to salvage some external factors that caused stressors on our relationship. I walked away never admitting what was really going on.

This relationship was but one example of the division and heartache and separation that exemplifies an addiction that was spiraling out of control. There are signs. There are the ways that addictions are portrayed in the movies. Then there are the insidious, many times unnoticed, and emotionally devastating components of the disease that make those around you think they are at fault. Especially when the addict is a on a cover-up mission.

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