You would think after my last talk with my children, they would stop picking on each other, right?:) Not so.
Lesson 2: Why do we have relationship?
I heard my son, James, yelling at his sister, Mercea the other day. For the first time, it didn't seem like my daughter was actively participating in annoying him. I asked him if he was being cranky with his sister or if they were just pretending (sometimes it is hard to tell) and he said he was cranky so I sent him to his room for a time out. Then I called my daughter in to see if she was being an instigator and she said she wasn't. After his timeout I had him come to me so we could talk. I asked him what was wrong. James said his sister was being silly. Was she interfering with what you were building? No. Was she touching your stuff or getting in your way? No, she was just being silly.
I had to chuckle to myself when James said this. In order for the rest of this post to make sense you need to know that my son and daughter have 2 very different personalities. James is the oldest and has a serious streak to his personality. He pays great attention to detail and needs to do things the "right way." Mercea, on the other hand, is very carefree. We call her "Messy Missy" because she cannot make it through a meal without creating something, and it usually is a mess. She is very artistic. And silly, well that is one of her main character qualities. Of course, it is obvious to see why these 2 different personalities could cause constant conflict, but it is also easy to see why these 2 personalities need each other.
So back to our conversation.
"So your sister was being herself, and that was bothering you?" "Yes."
So we called Mercea in and we had a chat about the purpose of relationship.
If there was only seriousness and order everyday how would the colors of life shine through? However, if there was only a carefree, messy life, how would anything productive be done? We talked about how often my son enjoys his sister's silliness and how often it makes him laugh. We also talked about the need to not always be silly all the time and how to be sensitive to what the other person is feeling.
We need relationships with others because they bring beauty and color to our life. If we choose to let the times their personalities challenge ours and annoy us define who they are to us we will soon view them as "annoying" and disassociate ourselves with them. Then we are the ones who will lose. So instead of cutting people out of our lives or trying to change their personalities we need to look at the many ways they enhance our lives. And those few times (which we tend to exaggerate to be all the time) their personalities rub us the wrong way, we need to give them the grace to be themselves.
Relationships are challenging but they are worth fighting for. Sometimes we need to evaluate what lies are beginning to dominate our relationships with others and challenge those lies. As adults, we don't have our parents to sit us down and help us talk it through, but that doesn't mean that sometimes we don't need to give ourselves a timeout and work through why this relationship is becoming a problem. If you have a relationship that is being defined more by conflict than peace I would encourage you to step aside with the Lord and allow Him to speak His truth over it.