On becoming assertive (Or learning to set boundaries) Pt. 2

It’s hard writing this post. I am coming through on the other side of this tough season, but it’s still hard to write about this. Part of me used to be ashamed that I was struggling with being assertive, but I realize that there are several Christians that are suffering in this state, and don’t want to make a move.

It was tough at home dealing with being afraid of family members (God is bringing me and a sibling back together after a long, horrible period of me hating them for no reason). It was just as tough at work. I would know a co-worker was doing something that bothered me and I would not let him/her know how I felt. If I did, it was in a roundabout, timid sort of manner, not one to be take seriously. I knew I had a straight-up, direct, fun-to-be-around personality behind the timidity, but it was not coming out on a consistent basis.

People don’t trust a non-assertive person. They trust someone whose confidence is on 100, who isn’t afraid to be themselves. I knew my co-workers and family were waiting…waiting for me to be my true self, waiting for me to take my spot as the strong person God meant for me to be, so they would no longer have to take up my role–not that they were trying to be the big sister, not at all; they couldn’t be. But they were rising to the occasion (aka being themselves) whereas I was hiding in the shadows of comfort and ease. Without realizing it, we human beings are constantly shifting power roles in whatever relationships we’re in. When I was not being my big sister self, it caused my other tough siblings to come in and fill the roles I was not fulfilling. I was angry at them, but I really couldn’t be. Someone had to do it.

And guess what? I’m still not all the way “delivered.” It’s a day-by-day, moment-by-moment process. When I win one battle, another is waiting for me. But I thank the Lord I am much further along than I was a month ago, six months ago, eight years ago.

I realize the fear was always there. It just needed fertilizer to grow, it needed situations in which I was was unsure of myself, it needed me NOT knowing what to do in confrontations, fear needed me to NOT realize that Christ was the answer, so it could fester and grow into an ugly monster that ruined my life and caused many relationships to suffer.

I’m finding out this: When you’re 100% real with folk, they end up respecting you for it. They may not like you or what you have to say, but they respect your stance. And that’s what you want. To have folks’ respect. But. EVEN if they don’t respect you, know that whatever you do, you better do it to have GOD’S approval. Paul said it best:

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10 ESV)

*I am standing in agreement with those struggling in this area. It took years of asking the Lord, walking in complete disobedience then walking in complete submission to God through prayer and fasting for the Lord to work on my behalf.

Praying always,

Janelle

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