Your Heart is Trustworthy
Why would God give you a broken inner compass?
I used to be friends with someone who bragged and called it an invitation to celebrate with her or catastrophized her losses and demanded that I be someone who would not abandon her when things got hard. I felt bad in this relationship all the time. I have always found it easy to celebrate my friends and also to mourn with them, so this sense of dis-ease in our friendship made me feel ashamed. It felt as though there was something wrong with me when I felt uncomfortable celebrating the inflated wins she’d gush about or have difficulty finding empathy when her normal aches and pains were spoken about with life-threatening severity.
Living with this sense of dis-ease began to eat at me. I’d see her number on my phone or hear her name in our group of friends or see her in a hallway and feel an overwhelming sense of failure, like why couldn’t I just be happy for her or sad for her? Instead, I felt this growing distance between us because the more I resisted her invitations to celebrate her or mourn with her, the more she’d insist I show up for her in these ways and accuse me of envy or not giving her the space she needed to take up in our relationship. It was exhausting. It turned into this monster inside of me that I felt in no other relationship. I felt raw from scraping away my innards, trying to find the source of my sin in this relationship.
Years later, it turned out, I was one person in a long line of people who’d been used and swindled by this person.
I’ve thought a lot about this friendship over the past decade because it had one particular marker in it that became a foreshadowing of sorts for other relationships in my life. It was a relationship that finally taught me to trust my gut. The marker was this: our very first meeting, our first conversation, I had this flutter in my innermost being that said, “Warning. Warning.” I ignored it.