How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? -Matthew 7:4 NLT
I want to take a moment to talk about something we all struggle with: the blindside of our lives. As a woman in leadership, it is hard to build authentic relationships. Sincerity seems to be on a decline on a daily basis and has become what I refer to as the "unicorn" trait. I can think back to times where I felt caught completely off guard by a betrayal, trial, or dispute that seemed to erupt out of thin air.
In a recent conversation with a trusted confidant, I asked if my expectation of authenticity was realistic, or if I needed to make adjustments to the way I saw others and engaged in the world. I asked: How do I build genuine connections when I feel I need to be suspicious of others?
My friend kindly responded with the notion that it is possible for people to have weaknesses in the area of authenticity without intentionally meaning harm. Similar to my challenges with procrastination, and at times, anger. Just because someone has a weakness I don't doesn't give me permission to zero in on their shortcomings.
My response to my friend was: Then how do I engage with people when their weakness grinds my gears?. "You put up with them like your friends put up with you.", answered my friend.
The truth is, there are certain traits I have struggled with the vast majority of my life and even with the best of intentions, these behaviors have a tendency to resurface. However, my truest friends have accepted me, corrected me, and loved me for who I am. In reality, if I focus enough attention on my own issues, I really have little to no time to poke at the shortcomings of others.
There are some things we can all keep in mind as we learn to bear one another's betrayals:
1. Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. - Matthew 7:1 NLT
This little one-liner is harder than it appears, but I think there is value in suspending judgment for merely personal reasons...you don't want the same harsh criticism you dole out to come back on you. If you dish it, be prepared to take it.
2. Focus on yourself.
Had a fallout? A relationship or business deal went sour? Study your own behaviors, missteps, and shortcomings. I believe within the details of every failure, betrayal, or loss are the keys to winning and success. If you spend less time studying others and more time studying what you missed, you can make mental notes so you catch yourself when the situation arises again.
3. Trust God's wisdom
Unless the Lord watches the city, they that watch it, watch in vain. - Psalm 127:1
Unless you want to walk around paranoid, you will need to let God be God and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you. As I said before, as authenticity becomes rarer in our world, the more we have to depend on God's wisdom to lead us away from traps. We may not catch it 100% of the time, but we want to be sure we are living our best life--and we can't do that if we are suspicious of everyone.
I'll never forget reading the passage in Brene Brown's "Dare to Lead", when she talked about making people earn your trust. The idea of the invisible jar is that every person in your life gets an invisible jar. As they do things you consider trustworthy, they get a marble, when they do questionable things, they lose one.
Over time, you will learn to trust the individuals with full jars and gracefully accept or step away from those who do not without overexposing yourself. These boundaries are essential if you want to guard your heart.
5. Lean on trusted friends.
Lean on the ones who have proved themselves year in and out. Talk to them when something is triggering your spirit. Talking through your concerns with someone who loves you and wants to see you win can help you catch the warning signals on your blindside.
Truthfully, I am learning to live with the reality that even if I fast and pray 24/7, I won't catch all the foxes. The good news is, I have a maker who calls me his own and he is watching my back.
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