Saturday, December 14, 2013

disappointment, love and being an INFJ


It’s been a while since I've talked about disappointment in a post. And I’m experiencing it in spades right now, so that usually means I needs to write about it. So I can figure out how I feel. Yes, this is how an INFJ works.

I have a friend in my life that regularly disappoints me. Not because of unrealistic expectations, but because he says he is going to do something and he doesn't do it.

It ranges from telling me, “I’ll call you tomorrow.” to “We are going to watch that movie together. I can’t believe you haven’t seen it.” To then things like, “I’ll come by and see you.” And other kinds of statements. Nothing huge. But little things add up to a lot.

Oh, there is that evil math again.

It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. -1 Corinthians 5:13 (NIV)

NERD ALERT: I prefer the ESV most of the time, but with the Greek word, I think the NIV is a bit more faithful to the original meeting.  Logizomai means to reckon, count, compute. The ESV translates it as irritable. Keeps no record seems more faithful to me. But then again, I’m not a bible translator.

So I don’t want to keep a record of all the times he has said he was going to do something and didn't, (though, obviously I have) because we’re told that’s not how love behaves. But I also wonder about keeping my friend accountable, wanting to be his sister in Christ. I know he wants to be a better man, but I am also asking myself, “What is my responsibility here? What is the right thing to do?”

I am grieving today. And in the last 48 hours I've had to tell a number of congregation members about the death of an entire family that is a significant part of our church. There were dearly cherished and loved by many. So I grieve. But I've had to grieve on my own. I've had to be pastoral to those with which I’ve broken the news, and in the process have not been able to break down with someone with which I feel safe.

I recognize this is part of being in ministry. But that’s also why I cherish the small number of friends I do have, because I can be safe with them. These are the spaces I need to grieve in – in places of love and safety and comfort. Because my friend did not follow through with a promise, I haven’t been able to grieve with someone safe today. I am leading worship tomorrow, singing the matriarch of the family’s favorite song. I doubt I will get through it, and I was hoping that safe place would help me prepare. But my friend disappointed me today.

This is a wrong I’m keeping track of, and it doesn't feel like love. It feels like a sacrifice I don’t want to make. Sometimes I would like others to sacrifice for me. And when I ask for it, I try not to ask for too much. But I’m often let down.

“Consequently, most INFJs are protective of their inner selves, sharing only what they choose to share when they choose to share it. They are deep, complex individuals, who are quite private and typically difficult to understand.” (From the above link, profile of an INFJ.)  

This makes it really hard for me to find friends, which is why I am so careful with the ones I do have. This kind of turmoil is my least favorite kind, because I don’t know what to do. And I long to know what to do.

5 comments:

KC Bob said...

First off, I am sad that you are having to deal with these issues during Advent. Sometimes this can be such a difficult season. I pray that God will help you.

Secondly, I think that we are somewhat alike Stephanie. People, especially church types, disappoint me all of the time. It has caused me to rethink the importance of "church" in my life.

All that said, I want you to know how much I appreciate you. It took a lot of strength to share here in such a vulnerable and transparent way. I am cheering you on from KC.

Blessings, Bob

stephanie said...

Thanks, Bob. I've always felt a kinship with you from afar, no matter which 3 states I've lived in since our paths first crossed. I am so thankful for your writing, your ministry, seeing how much you love your wife... You inspire me more than you will ever know.

Holly said...

Oh, friend, my heart hurts for you. Being married to an INFJ, I know how important safe confidants are...and I know how lonely ministry can feel....oh how I know it. Its been awhile, but please feel free to contact me when you need someone. I promise to be there.

meredithsterk.com said...

Beautifully written, Steph. While I'm an extrovert, I can so relate with the struggles of disappointment with friendships. I am so sorry that in your time of need, there wasn't that trusted friend. Praying for you right now as you walk through this grief, both personally and professionally. I can't even being to imagine. Hugs.

stephanie said...

Thank you Holly and Meredith for your words. I so appreciate them.