Friendships / Relationships

When Support Systems Break Down

Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

Watching God move is powerful, but at times incredibly isolating. To personally experience Gods’ greatness is almost indescribable. Doors open where they should not exist. Obstacles are solved with little to no effort on our part. New paths appear, taking us places we could not reach on our own. But all of these experiences do not come without their own challenges. One of the hardest challenges for us to face is the breakdown in our support systems. As we discover the good that God has brought into our lives, we might notice that people “love” us more when we’re in need. Sometimes, however, they resent you when you begin to shine.

Some people just aren’t ready.

As difficult as this may be to comes to terms with, not every person in your life is ready to see God show up for you in unimaginable ways. Our own situations and experiences can block us from being able to fully embrace the concept of joy for someone else. In addition, not all of us have dealt with our own toxicity and pain. Such darkness will cause us to drift out of alignment with God. When this happens, the support and advice we give can come from a place of pain and resentment, instead of hope and righteousness.

Furthermore, if our self-worth is tied to the importance we have in other peoples’ lives – we’ll seek more if it. We will want to have more of a say in someone’s life than we should. We’ll become offended when others don’t see things the way we do. And it’s not that they are right, and we’re wrong – it’s more of the fact that they have a choice. It’s hard to watch someone make decisions we think are bad, but ultimately, we have to respect the concept of choice. It’s a God-given gift, and we must all answer to God for how we decide to use that gift.

Abraham’s Choice

One of the greatest examples of choice takes place when God called Abraham in Genesis 12:1, telling him to  “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.” It was up to Abraham to comply, but I’m not sure that all of his family thought this was the best idea possible. How could they? God didn’t speak to everyone – He only spoke to Abraham. And the same goes for us today. It’s unrealistic to expect everyone to understand your journey when God has only given the vision to you.

Nevertheless, that shouldn’t stop you from pressing forward. We aren’t called to operate in this world based on the expectations of others; we’re called to rise to God’s standards. And for those of us in the position of Abraham’s family and friends – the people who did not receive the vision – remember this: others don’t have to live life in exactly the way you think is best. The moment we expect others to always see and operate in the way we want them to, we have effectively removed God from the equation. It’s not up to us to determine if someone’s next steps are valid; those choices are up to the individual.

Nevertheless, I know it’s tough on both sides. We want to provide good counsel, but know this – discomfort doesn’t mean anyone is making the wrong choice. For those who need support – God will provide it to you, but it may show up differently than what you expected. For those who are supporting – your own shortcomings may stop you from seeing God’s light in others. Yet no matter which side we are on in a situation, we are left with a choice. We can show up for God, or we can show up for ourselves. In the case of Abraham, he chose God.

When Envy Shows Up

It’s easy to think that we’ll be a great support system to those who are fulfilling their dreams, but that isn’t always the case. I’d like to point out one of the greatest roadblocks to being supportive.. and that is the feeling of covetousness. It enters into the most unsuspecting, including ourselves. We’re all at risk to experience moments of covetousness – which is why I believe God gave examples when issuing this commandment. Found in Exodus 20:17, it reads:

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Additional examples might include coveting someone else’s accomplishments, their job title, salary, family life, self-confidence, looks, or flexibility. When this happens, emotions will flood the system. We are human… this is normal.  What we do next with those emotions, however, speaks to the soul of who we are.

If we allow covetousness to grow in our hearts instead of working to resolve our internal pain, we will downplay the success of others. We will discount the ability for God to move in their lives, because we’ll be coming from a place of limitations. When questioned on our feedback, we’ll simply say we’re coming from a place of “experience”. Not so. In truth, we’re operating from a place of resentment, and where bitterness lies – God cannot. We cannot be the support system we need to be for others when envy becomes a dominant emotion. Nor can we expect to not be disappointed when we recognize covetousness in others. Envy breaks down relationships, but I’m thankful that with God, we can still build them back up.

Spiritual Community

Knowing roadblocks exist might cause us to want to block everyone out, but spiritual community is important. In Proverbs 13:20 we read: “He who walks with wise men will be wise.  But the companion of fools will be destroyed”. Nevertheless, wisdom and perfection are not synonymous. Those we love will let us down, and we ourselves will also let others down. That, however, should not stop us from trying to resolve all that we can within us to be better support systems for others, and more importantly – ourselves.

As we grow in our walks with God, He will call out to us, asking us to shine our lights brightly. Such a request will mean we walk down new paths as our characters are renewed. Others will be empowered by our choices, but this will also leave us in a place to be judged. In this world the two will coexist. Yet, our goal in this life is to not stay hidden. We cannot let the disappointment push us back into a corner, blocking us from where we need to go next. Light will attract darkness, and the darkness will try to snuff us out. Don’t let it – shine bright no matter what others say. God will build you the support system you need… just make sure you’re okay with it not always being who you want.

Thank you for reading. Please share your thoughts below, and if you’ve enjoyed this devotional, be sure to share it with others.

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