Living in relationship with people is an essential part of life. Due to fear or experience some of us tend draw back from relationships – worried that we will get burned. It is essential that we do not allow fear or any other factor to keep us from engaging in that which we were created for – community. God created us with the intention that we would be interconnected with others. He created a beautiful scenario where we need others and are able to help meet the needs of others.
Living interconnected is a wise choice for each of us. That interconnectedness also makes it highly likely that at some point we will get burned. I’m not talking about actual fire or heat, I am talking about the relational fire that comes from being hurt, let down or betrayed by people close to you.
People are imperfect. I know I am far from perfect… the people closest to me are DEFINITELY aware of it. While I might not know you I am CONFIDENT you are far from perfect as well. Here is what I find interesting – while I know that I as well as the people around me are imperfect I still find myself surprised when I am burned by imperfect people.
Pursuing a healthy life in relationship with others seems to put us in a unique place. We could avoid the relational burn by avoiding people – but we will miss out on the best experiences God intends for us to have (being connected community with others). Therefore the question we must answer is not “how do I avoid getting burned” but rather, “what do you do when you get burned?”
The answer is simple. It is also pretty frustrating. Getting burned is frustrating. Getting burned hurts. Getting burned costs you something.
But getting burned does not change the way God wired me. You were created for community, and so was I. Getting hurt or wronged by people does not mean you can pull back from community and become a recluse. Being burned by people does not negate our need for healthy relationships found in community.
So what do you do when you get burned? You get up, dust yourself off, clean your wounds and keep engaging. Do not allow a relational breakdown to change your whole outlook on community.
That does not mean you should allow yourself to continually get burned or hurt by the same people. Use wisdom to discern the people you should draw near to and the people you should create space from. The point is you cannot allow hurt to push you away from people as a whole.
We all have some work to do. Each of us have been burned at some point. Consider today where you might be pulling back relationally. Think about what relationships you need to intentionally invest in even if you are scared. Lean into the beauty and tension of living interconnected to imperfect people.