Something must seriously be in the air lately because this is a topic that is coming up WAY too much and not just in my life!
I have a very dear friend who is in a relationship with a guy that can be a little, shall we say, smothering. At a quick glance he is a great guy who would do anything for her and at times I've felt bad for him because he just does so much. But then you stop and look and you realize that it's not as sweet as it seems.
When she asked for a little space because she was struggling with some very serious issues within her family and in her personal life, he would show up with food, flowers, drinks, etc. Okay, not a crime. Then he would continually ask if he could come over or if he could be involved with things that she had clearly told him no to but he kept asking. When she finally got fed up and said "Enough!" and that she needed to not talk to him for a little while, he would text her constantly begging her to just call him. Then he would change his Facebook profile picture to one of them together and make his status' things that he, I guess, hoped would prompt her to call.
Then, in my own life, I am dealing with someone who CLEARLY wants a huge say in my spiritual life and quite honestly, I'm a little fed up. You know that I left my church and have been church hunting. Not as diligently as I should, but we're looking. It's rather draining. I do not talk to anyone really about this search because I don't want anyone's opinion on where I'm going so that I am not swayed. I need to make my own decisions and base them on MY spiritual life - not theirs.
So this person is sort of a contributing factor to my leaving my church in the first place because of their constant "You should be doing this..." or "you need to be doing that..." and their refusal to understand that my FAMILY comes first. So now, several months out, I'm starting to get text messages and emails that are geared to guilt me in to something. I know, I know, no one can make you feel guilty but it's the only way to describe it.
I am not a retreat person. I've gone, I've tried, I HATE THEM. I have stated this for YEARS and yet people are continually badgering me that I need to go. "Why don't you go?" "We really want you to go!" "It'll be fun!" Um, you know what? NO, no it won't! I don't enjoy them. They annoy me. While a room full of women will be in tears over someone's long winded testimony, you know what I'm doing? Plotting ways to throw my chair through a window so I can escape and shooting mental daggers at the speaker in hopes that they will shut up. Not a spiritual experience ever.
So why do I have to walk my spiritual walk by someone else's standards? Why are my desires and wants and needs being ignored? What someone may see as concern, I'm seeing as manipulation. Since leaving that church, I feel closer to the Lord than I have in YEARS. YEARS! I spend more time in prayer and listening to different pastors and seeing how different church's operate has been a pretty cool learning experience.
Don't text me about how I should be at the retreat. Don't send me emails telling me that I should continue to come to...whatever! I have made my break and I wish people would respect that. I don't respond to these things mainly because I know that I will be hateful (like this ranting blog!) and I don't want to lose this person as a friend but at the same time, what kind of friend continues to badger someone about things that have been clearly stated? Where is the line?
I don't like it and I'll tell you what, if I were not a firm believer/Christian, this person's behavior would make me run in the opposite direction. Your "encouragement" is manipulative. I'm not going to live like you, pray like you, walk with the Lord like you. I am my own person and since I HAVE read the Bible in it's entirety, I am confident that God loves ME for who I am - after all, HE created me.