I have a “peacemaker” in me, which is not to be confused with “pacemaker.” My physical heart is just fine, but it tends to beat faster in the midst of conflict. When there is tension in a room, I just want to shrink and do a magical disappearing act. If only I could wiggle my nose and teleport to a place of peace. I find that when someone is in conflict with me, receiving that truth is hard to bear. It calls me to face the fact that I don’t always get it right, despite my desire to do so.
I hear the pride, so I see the irony: I think I can get it right and because of that I get it wrong. Somehow I think should be able to “get it right,” and by this I mean to get it right relationally. There is a deep desire to please–and maybe an expectation–that I can score a 100 since I am a counselor. Somewhere lodged into my heart is the belief that self-awareness gets me righteousness. However, it seems that the more self-aware I become, the more I see my idols and my need for grace. I see how I desire to not need. If I don’t get it wrong, then I don’t need grace and I am not dependent on Jesus or another to receive forgiveness. Because it is a powerless position to wait on another to be forgiven.
The other night my husband spoke to me the truth in love. He spoke of how he was hurt. It was the same song but a different tune, and I could not claim that I had no idea because this was a conversation we have had countless times before. My self-awareness of the past and present couldn’t deliver or save me. I couldn’t promise that I would never do it again, because I knew better. A powerless feeling enveloped me. He’s been gracious in the past, but would he forgive me this time? I wanted to wiggle my nose and go back in time or skip ahead into the future where all was well between us. Yet, I was stuck. I had to face my need and there was no way around it and no place to hide.
In the moment it feels like death. And yet, on the other side, there is more life and love than before. When I get it right I may feel powerful, safe, independent, or self-righteous, but I don’t feel met by another’s love in the same way as when I get it wrong and am forgiven. If I am loved for getting it right, is that really love? I’m not sure it is. So I am thankful that I need grace. I am thankful that another’s courage to speak the truth in love means that I am given an opportunity to both repent and receive love. This is powerful, growth-inspiring, unifying, and rich, and it leads me to a deeper peace that I can’t achieve on my own.
Mollie Souza is a Counselor for The Barnabas Center. She has her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Tennessee where she majored in Spanish as well as her Master of Arts in Christian Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She is especially passionate about helping individuals who are working through grief, doubts, trauma, relationships, anxiety, depression, self-esteem/identity issues, seasons of loneliness, family of origin issues, and divorce.
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