How are you today? Hope you had a fab weekend. Mine was pretty interesting as well.
It’s our third week together. How’s your #GrowMyFire journey coming along?
Today, we’ll be handling a question raised by a fire grower at the #GrowMyFire Café (our WhatsApp group). I’m sure this will benefit you as well. He wrote:
So for me, I’ve been following all the posts closely. Growing my fire and letting it burn brightly would take me away from the norm, my immediate behavioural circle and the people within it.
I just realised because since this week, it’s been like I’ve backslidden…to them. They find it hard to accept what’s happening and for me, that’s a big challenge.
Do I really need to convince them that I’m on the right path? Or do I just leave them to think whatever they want? Now it’s not that my behavioural circle is a bad one…nah….it’s actually good but that’s all it is – good… and comfortable.
But somehow I want more. I desire more for myself than just this level.
I fully connect with this season you’re in.
First, you must accept that ultimately, after all of life’s drama, you are SOLELY responsible to God for how you live your life and how much you discover, develop and deploy your fire.
You must not just know this somewhere at the back of your mind; it must graduate into a realisation that rules your choices and actions. When the full reality of this truth settles inside you, it becomes a bit easier to make the tough decisions that confront genuine fire growers repeatedly.
You described your present circle in positive terms. So you’re doing okay presently. But you want more than ‘okay’. This is where the journey starts.
A basic truth about growing your fire is that it will demand changes. It will compel new patterns of thought, perspective, actions, habits and yes, associations.
Every new season WILL command a change. Sometimes, all it takes is an internal, personal adjustment. But most of the more radical changes extend beyond an internal adjustment – they break to the external realm.
Okay, let me be straight with you here. Most of the deeper changes in life can be so radical that they make or break relationships, dissolve friendships and sometimes even demand a complete change of geographical location. Prime examples are Abraham (left his Father’s house and the prospective inheritance) and Paul (departed to Arabia for three years).
This is the truth. Not every person presently in your circle can survive the transition. Not every one should.
Your core question, if I get you correctly is “how do I manage old relationships while processing the new things happening internally?”.
A few tips.
#1. Realise that they are not ‘lesser’ people. You are not ‘better’ than them.
Therefore, maintain humility of heart in your interactions. I emphasize heart because it is easy to fake humility.
You may bow your head to greet, address people with respectful titles and display a form of politeness yet deep down, you think you are better than them because of your new desire for more expression of your fire. You must guard your heart against this.
Realise that everyone is on a journey and just because you’re at a phase of new growth, doesn’t mean they too won’t experience same someday.
#2. Realise that not being friends doesn’t make the other a bad person.
Not everyone will transit with you. But that doesn’t make them bad. It just means (at least for now), your journey together is over.
It’s just like trying to fit into a size 14 shirt when you’re a size 16. The shirt is good. You’re good. But together, you’re not working out. Does that make the shirt bad? No. Does that make you bad? No.
#3. Don’t burn bridges.
Distance may widen but cordiality must be maintained. Remember, these same people may become major characters in your life’s story in later chapters.
Look at Paul’s relationship with Barnabas.
God specifically handpicked them to work as a team:
As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul (Paul) for the work whereunto I have called them. Acts 13:2
Perfect match, right? Think again. Few chapters later, see what happened:
And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other… Acts 15:39
They grew apart!
But hear what Paul said later about his former teammate.
…and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come to you, receive him;) Colossians 4:10
Learn from Paul. Cross over – but leave the bridge intact.
#4. Explain – when asked.
Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15)
Do you really need to convince them that you’re on the right path? Absolutely no! Do your best to explain what’s happening in your life and leave it at that.
Also, not all inquiries are genuine; some are sarcastic, aiming to ridicule and puncture your drive towards your fire. Apply personal discretion in spotting such requests and wave them off. A simple “I’m doing fine, but you won’t understand for now” is sufficient.
Of course, I admit that it is near impossible to prescribe a response for every situation you’ll face. Only endeavour to maintain respect and a ruthless resolve to grow your fire no matter what.
Building up to the #GrowMyFire journey, we warned that it’d make you look at yourself in ways you’ve probably never done and make some tough decisions. One such decision is choosing to let spent associations end peacefully and move on with a clear conscience towards what you know must be done.
Hope this helps.
I welcome contributions, comments and questions on this subject. Let’s meet up in the comments section below.
Live by Design.