Expired Relationships…Read the Label

October 8, 2008

I made it to church last Sunday. Dare I say the message hit me smack dab in the chest. It’s Wed nite, and I told myself I wasn’t gonna blog about it lol. Heck, my human side (flesh) has been trying to fight and deny it for days. However, my Spirit is ready and willing to embrace and apply its Truth.  And that pretty much amounts to a warring within that has been rather uncomfortable, to say the least. Looks like I have to write about it…cos the gravity of these emotions won’t turn me loose otherwise. I’ll feel better, as usual, after I ride this ramble like a Harley…rant and get it out. Gotta feeling, though…it ain’t gonna be too nice.

Pastor shared…

“There was a time when you couldn’t just open my refrigerator, and grab something to eat or drink…Not without looking at the expiration date.  Cos the meat or milk that would have otherwise done your body good BEFORE, had foregone its usefulness, and would now do you nothing but harm.  Sure, it’s still meat…it’s still milk, but it’s unhealthy.

Likewise, some of the relationships we’re in have long foregone their usefulness, their benefit.  But we hold on to them, ignoring their toxicity, doing ourselves more harm than good.

Take inventory of your close relationships, your friends, the one’s you’re intimate with.  Know that there are no ‘neutral’ relationships…the crew around you is either bringing you UP, or bringing you DOWN.  Write their names down..put a plus or minus by their name…be honest…there are no neutrals.”

I’ve written before about my extremely anemic ‘gift of good-bye’ (read fear of abandonment).  Over the past few years, I’ve had to cut folks pretty deep.  And I’m not just talkin’ bout a co-worker, or a fellow parent at the school….I’m talkin’ years of friendship invested, one even from childhood.  As toxic as some of those relationships were, there are times I find myself missing them.  Wanting to go back.  I read the date loud and clear, right?

So, I made my plus/minus list.  “If after you make your list, you have very few to no pluses, you’re in an excellent place!  This is the place where you get to nurture your vertical relationship…That relationship between yourself and God that may be lacking in some areas…some places may need strengthening, some places we need to show Him, let Him in…cos alot of our horizontal relationships became unhealthy replacements or counterfeits to what our relationship with God was ordained to do, give, be for us.”

Ouch!  Dontcha just hate the Truth sometimes lol.  While I sat there in my seat listening, Son nudges me and says, “Ma, every time I come here, he talks about something I’m going through.”  I could only smile and say, “Me too, baby….me too.”

While I’ve had to let a few of my “forevers” go, I realize my hands weren’t that squeeky clean either.  The revelation came during therapy.  I wanted to talk about what this friend did, what that one did.  It was hard to swallow that, yeah, they chose what they chose, they did what they did — but it’s not about them…it was about Me.  What pattern did I have on repeat that kept me in Special Ed regarding my relationships.  Answer?  The notion that I had to prove myself worthy of others’ validation…I’m worth something if you say I am.  What madness!

The root of this, also revealed on my journey to me, stemmed from a childhood decision, where I chose not to prove my worth…anymore.  See by age 9, it was seared into my mind that I was worth it…love (or what I thought was love), affection, connection — if I pleased others.  Having been groomed for sexual favors, if I refused them, I would be disowned, rejected.  Frankly, I loved them soo much, I trusted them, looked up to them, they made me smile BEFORE…but here I was at 9, having to ‘let them down’…I had to say ‘no’ and face every consequence of that choice (to be worthless).

It’s really not a cool thing to come to the realization that…I’ve lived a lifetime of pleasing others close to  me, subconsciously trying to make up for that pain.  Trying to do-over.  Trying to prove I’m worthy of their love and friendship.  “See, I’m loyal!”  My ‘ok, I’ll be a good little girl’ grew into showering friends with time, money, gifts, favors….anything they asked me for…ANYTHING, just don’t leave me — like they did.

Now, I’ve found the strength to get up and leave myself (again).  I wasn’t used to it, but I stopped taking anything people give me.  Stopped letting people use me.  Stopped accepting their personal motives for a friendship that had nothing to do with what they were willing to give.  But honestly…since I’ve been in this healing solitude for so long now, without an ace-coom-boom sisterfriend at my fingertips…sometimes I miss them so much, I hate that they said good-bye, or that I had to leave…and remnants of nine year old me want to make it up..I want to go back and try to fix it.  Give or do whatever it takes.  But I read the date loud and clear, right?

“This is not the time to run out and find you some pluses.  When your vertical relationship with God is in-line….HE will align you with the few pluses He has for you.  And as for the minuses?  Love them, God bless them, but you have to distance yourself from the toxicity…to make room for the purposed good. Those who will benefit your life and where you’re purposed to go in this season.  They’ll appear in purposed time…too soon, and we’ll mess things up again.  So keep your focus upward, grow vertically, and horizontal relationships will take care of themselves.”

As much as I miss frequent hang time with ‘my girls’, I have a life to help rebuild by making wise choices.  I have a marriage that is re-aligning after the turmoil.  I’m learning to be an active Mama again.  I’m rebuilding my financial stability.  I’m getting to know, and learning to love and respect my Mom like I never have before.  I really do have my hands full with what really matters right now.

I think things became such a struggle, cos I’m sooo close to wholeness in my mind and spirit.  Lifelong, hurtful patterns take time to heal.  But the fact is, I’m not nine anymore.  And I’ve got to keep moving away from old patterns, no matter how comfortable they feel, and no matter how challenging this new life is for me to grasp.  Wow.  My life is on total REBOOT, relationships and all.  Ashe.Selah


5 Responses to “Expired Relationships…Read the Label”

  1. Manchild Says:

    Hello Ashe,

    Wow! As a sign of respect, I tip my hat to you for your honesty and willingness to stand “naked and unashamed” before your peers instead of “faking it until you make it.”

    I applaud you and celebrate you for “facing your fears and embracing Change.”


  2. ashe.selah Says:

    Hey there Manchild…I really appreciate your encouragement and cheers bro! We’ll never heal from what we won’t face, and facing those things butt-naked is serious business…scary, but so beneficial I believe.

    Hope your work continues to soar…take care :)!

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