When Friendships Hurt

“….[love] keeps no record of wrongs” 1 Corinthians 13:5.

I tend to make a big deal about birthdays and holidays. I throw parties, plan surprises, and/or carefully select presents for my loved ones. So when no one planned anything for my birthday last month, or gave me a thoughtful gift, or even called, I was terribly wounded. They all just so happened to forget and/or be busy at the same time. It’s incredibly easy to overlook others’ birthdays, and as a reasonable person I know I can’t expect tit-for-tat. But it hurt.

The pain made me re-evaluate my friendships. Why didn’t they put in the same amount of effort for me as I did for them? Did they even really want to be friends, or was I forcing it somehow? Did they love me? It honestly didn’t feel like it.

Soon, not only was I feeling awful about my own self-worth, but I was deep into psychoanalyzing the people around me. I found myself combing through our interactions over the past few years and noticing each time they had let me down in some way. The list grew and grew, and brick after brick, walls grew around my heart. Walls of self-protection. Walls of self-imposed loneliness.

Keeping people out stops me from feeling disappointed, but it also stops me from feeling connection and love. Sure, some of these friendships are not equal. It’s okay for me to let them go if need be, but I need to stop pushing them away in retaliation.

I want to extend grace to these people like I would wish for them to extend grace to me in the same situation. No doubt I have let them down in many other areas, and still they choose to love me. They didn’t demonstrate it specifically through celebrating my birthday this year, but they have before in their own ways. Their love isn’t less than mine- just different.

I’m still struggling to completely forgive and that makes me feel foolish. I desperately desire to be low-maintenance and not care about things like this. But I do. I care deeply. Despite my desire to pretend otherwise-- there it is anyway—my ache and insecurity in full vulnerability.

If I could just lay down my list of wrongs, put away the brick in mortar in my heart, and take a step back from licking my wounds, I might see from the larger perspective of how God is working outside of my immediate wants and needs. Human relationships are tender. They are beautiful in their imperfection, each one unique and truly stunning in its ability to overcome life’s bumps and bruises.   

God, please help me to move past small hurts and stop keeping a record of wrongs. I can’t do it on my own- I need your grace to overflow, so that I can give it to others when I feel dry myself.