When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a woman, I put the ways of childhood behind me. – 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NIV)
When I was four, I told my aunt I couldn’t wait until I was 29 so I would be older than her and could then tell her what to do. She laughed and said, “Sweetie, that will never happen.” She had given me a correction I didn’t like. Instead of finding the truth in her correction, I decided to try time travel or science fictional age progression.
When I reflect on that moment, I think I responded so strongly (and so illogically) because my feelings were hurt. I love and respect my aunt so much, and four-year-old me couldn’t compute how she could both disapprove of my behavior and still love me.
Sometimes, adult me isn’t so different. I’m quick to react before I engage the truth in critique. I get defensive more than I’d like to admit.
I don’t think this defensiveness comes from a desire to feel perfect. Instead, I think it is difficult for me to believe those who love me could find fault in me and still love me anyway. I look at my flaws and can’t imagine someone would love me in spite of them — let alone, someone wants to love me through the messiness of working through them.
Thankfully, my aunt keeps loving me as I make mistakes and grow from them. She taught me a lesson at four that I keep relearning. People who love me won’t shield me from the ways I need to evolve.
Prayer: Thank you for surrounding me with accountable love. Melt my defensiveness away so I may learn to be a better me. Amen.
This reflection was written by Marchaé Grair, a spiritual director, facilitator, and director of public relations and outreach at the Unitarian Universalist Association. Follow her work at marchae.com. It was part of the Daily Devotional created by the StillSpeaking Writers Group, a ministry of the United Church of Christ.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: If you hear a voice within you say, “You cannot paint,” then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced. — Vincent VanGogh