Day Fourteen // For the Love

Difficult People // For the Love by Jen Hatmaker - Online book study hosted by www.imperfectvessel.com

Chapters 18: Difficult People – Pages 130-139

I fully believe in embracing your weird (shout out to Felicia Day) and the quirky eccentricities that make up your being.  After all I write a blog called, The Imperfect Vessel.  I get it!

We do different here.

“We could learn a lot from crayons.  Some are sharp, some are pretty, some are dull, and some have weird names, but they all have to live in the same box.” – unknown

Different is beautiful.  It means that you were fashioned to be a wonderfully unique individual.  One who has a special set of gifts, desires and things that make you tick.  And that oneness of you, added to the oneness of others can create a beautiful portrait of God’s greater purpose.

And then there are those whose oneness tries to subtract from your own.  Instead of being a positive influence on your story, helping to shape it into a colorful narrative, they take an eraser to your vibrancy.

We all know people like this, emotional vampires, if you will, that drain the life right out of you through their negativity, their overwhelming neediness, their unrealistic expectations, or cruel and biting words.

Without much effort, I can think of three people in my life right now whose presence present these draining qualities, and so the wisdom that Jen imparts in chapter 18 felt like a life jacket for my soul.

“Come near, dear one, and listen: You are not responsible for the spiritual health of everyone around you, nor must you weather the recalcitrant behavior of others. It is neither kind nor gracious to enable.” {For the Love}

She reassured my heart that it is okay to establish solid boundaries for myself of what I will and will not put up with, that it is okay to walk away, and that it is not me who needs to step in to save these individuals.  I cannot be anyone’s Savior.  Only Jesus has that written on His resume.

In relationships, romantic or otherwise, it’s often difficult to follow through these steps.  It seems harsh and as if we’re giving up too easily.  Don’t be fooled by these traps.  No one will ever fault you for caring, but to do it at the expense of your health, sanity and especially your safety, is a risk that you should not consider taking.

“There is a tipping point when the effort becomes useless, exhausting beyond measure. You can’t pour antidote into poison forever and expect it to transform into something safe, something healthy.” {For the Love}

So how are we as believers supposed to exemplify Christ when dealing with these difficult people?

We love, fight for truth and forgive like Christ would.

Dear friend, listen well to my words; tune your ears to my voice.  Keep my message in plain view at all times.  Concentrate! Learn it by heart!  Those who discover these words live, really live; body and soul, they’re bursting with health.  Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.  Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.  Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.  Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you.  Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.
– Proverbs 4:20-27, MSG

Until it is apparent that it is time to walk away, we need to show love for one another.  There is enough toxicity in the world and so we need to love our neighbors as ourselves.  But at the very same time, we need to be careful to guard our hearts, not only against the negativity of others, but also against the toxic self-talk that many of us are so prone to.

So show yourself some grace in recognizing that it is not your responsibility to fix or save someone from the destructive path they’ve chosen, but at the same time, be attentive to lacing your words with grace when interacting with this difficult one, because after all they are a child of God too.

Do you have a “difficult person” in your life?  What are some ways that you’ve dealt with the burden of their negativity?  What are some more life-giving ways that we can relate with one another?


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Bree Blum is a just your average single thirty-something book loving, oil using, cardigan wearing blogger who loves Jesus.

You can connect with her on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Bree Blum
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About

Bree is a recovering perfectionist, whose weaknesses include the clearance rack at Target and anything pumpkin flavored. Though she is an introvert, she has an insatiable craving for community and desire to bring light to God’s purpose in the imperfections of life. Read More