cycles…not bicycles

I’ve been thinking about cycles a lot lately. a lot of us have our same day, week, and month patterns – get up, get dressed, shower, school/work, come home, watch TV, eat, go to bed, and repeat.

 but then there are the other kinds of cycles – the ones where we repeat mistakes or go through cycles with friendships and other kinds of relationships. why do we do things the way we do? what is ingrained in us that makes us interact the same way over and over, even if it brings results we don’t like?

 I have a really bad habit of getting in too deep, in general. friendships, school, extracurricular activities, you name it. if I decide to participate in something, it becomes my goal to be COMPLETELY invested. when I become friends with a person, I become their best friend. when I joined my youth group, I joined worship team, became a student leader, etc. I mean, I LOVE it! I’m not doing it because I feel obligated to do so; I just can’t help but go ‘all out’.

 however, more often than not, this comes back eventually to bite me. I realize that I’m spread too thin, and I have to cut some things out of my life. I realize that I’m too deep in an unhealthy friendship where the other person is completely dependent on me for their existence, and I have to pull away. but then I simply repeat the same mistakes – getting involved in new activities, getting too deep with new friends, etc. it just keeps happening. why?

 maybe you have an answer; I don’t. there’s a verse in Proverbs that says “above all else, guard your heart, for it is the offspring of life.” I’m not very good at this – and even though some people would assume that this is related to romantic relationships, I’m talking about in ALL relationships. especially with friends that are girls, I end up damaging the well-being of my soul when I give more than I’m capable of. I’m the type of friend that gets used a lot, because I willingly become someone else’s carpet because I view it as “serving them” the way Jesus would. it’s not. it’s not what’s best for them, or my own emotional health. I sit and listen constantly as they simply moan and groan about how terrible their lives are, thinking that I’m being compassionate and kind. to an extent, everyone needs to be heard. but people do need to be told when enough is enough.

 maybe you’re a really outspoken person who can just tell people the way it is – honestly, I admire you. often the things I leave unsaid are the things that cause the most scars.

 another problem is I have this desperate need to be helpful; to know that other people walk away feeling encouraged by my presence. and while that’s good, I also take that to a ridiculous level. so I feel obligated to be reachable 24/7 by whoever needs me. I’m sure all of this sounds really sugary and “nice”, but honestly it’s deadly. what ends up happening (more often than I’d like to admit) is that spending time with God gets bumped, because I over-prioritize other people’s need for someone to listen. and so I listen. long through my bible study time and homework time and prayer time and family time.

 my word of advice to you is this; other people are extremely important. but you can’t do them any good when you begin to shrivel on the inside because you’re not doing the things that – to you – make life worth living. those matter. and so do you.

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