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the_line_in_the_sand-e1284565465608I have mastered the art of ‘arm’s length’ relationships. I mean I am seriously good at this. Drawing lines in the proverbial and letting people get only ‘so’ close.

I love people.

I need people.

I very rarely allow people ‘in’.

I am not just talking romance, I am talking friends, family, colleagues. Too close and you get hurt.

The problem is of course that there is a part of me that longs for deep connection with other human beings. We are hard-wired for connection with one another, even if it is just ONE other.

And so I struggle …  or God struggles …  to wrestle my barriers away from me – to blur the lines I draw around myself.

You can imagine my annoyance when last week I read words which spoke directly into this need for protection. Words which have played over and over and over in my mind, words which have challenged me and which I am trying to use to make me brave…

All relationships are painful. The more we love another person, the more vulnerable we become, and the more likely it is that they will hurt us. In our fear of being wounded, we often approach others cautiously, waiting for some guarantee that they will be safe for us before we commit to relationship. But, rather than guarantee our safety, this strategy simply guarantees that we will never find the community we long for. In order to find a safe place, we need to become a safe place for others first.  If we allow our fear to keep us from love, love will never find us. But, if we allow love to drive out our fear, we will be hurt – that much is inevitable – but love will “soothe what love has burnt.”

Love will soothe what love has burnt …

Enough said.

My thanks (I think) to John van de Laar whose words these are. I am reading his book ‘Learning to Belong’.

I am going to learn to ‘belong’, one tiny little hurt at a time.