When People Drive You Crazy
“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18 (NIV)
Live at peace with everyone? Easier said than done, right? Especially when that one person is pushing their agenda (and your buttons) and becomes upset if you don’t embrace it. But our key verse, Romans 12:18, encourages us that as far as it depends on us, we’re to live at peace with everyone.
One way God’s helped me do this is regularly placing ‘grinders’ in my life. Grinders are those people who grind you until all of your shine is worn away! They drive you crazy and drive you far away from their friendship.
Not long ago I met Sue at a friend’s house. She followed me from room to room and decided she must become my best friend. We didn’t have much in common but that didn’t stop Sue from calling, texting and emailing—first occasionally, then constantly.
For some reason, she thought I could fill a hole in her life. Unfortunately, it began to wear a hole in mine.
When I didn’t have time to talk or respond she became agitated and hurt. It was obvious this friendship was capsizing and in need of a check up.
When a relationship like this one begins to wear me out, absorb my life, or create chaos, I try to check three things:
Have I listened with compassion and responded in love? It’s important to evaluate my own behavior to see if I am contributing to the toxic relationship. Every situation has many factors and owning my part is key.
Set limits. People can only get in your space if you leave the door open! Decide what is healthy for you and draw a line there. How much time can you reasonably give? What are you willing to sacrifice to invest in this relationship? Pray that God will help you establish boundaries. Discuss and define them with your grinder.
Know when to walk away. Our key verse clearly says if it is possible, live at peace. That means there may be times when it’s not possible. We may need to part ways for a season. God can redeem anything and often He brings folks back together after a time of separation.
As for Sue, I asked myself if I’d listened with compassion and responded in love. I prayed for God to highlight my behavior and point out any flaws in my reactions. He showed me some boundaries I needed to set with Sue in order to live at peace with her.
I took her to lunch and apologized for not being clear with the limits and time constraints in my life. We prayed together and asked God to fill the empty places in both of our lives. She appreciated the honesty and promised to honor our newly set boundary lines. Instead of sinking, our friendship became a sweet treasure.
Confronting difficult people is hard, but important, so you can control how much of a negative impact they have on you. And to live at peace with them. Our first step is adjusting our focus on the Prince of Peace and then our own behavior.
Want to take a personal challenge with me? Instead of avoiding our ‘grinders’—let’s grind to a halt, drop to our knees and pray for our friends today.
Dear Lord, how easy it is to fall into relationships that absorb our strength. Refocus our attention on You and how You want us to behave. Teach us how to set healthy boundaries in all of our relationships. May we always reflect Your Son. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.