Tough love. What a hard thing to experience. On both ends!! Being on the recieving end of "tough love" is hard, so much so, that it at times may feel that you have been abandoned. Have you ever been on the recieving end? OH I have! And it hurts! It is killer sometimes. It feels like you have been left alone and that no one cares, and if your not careful it is easy to stay in that frame of mind. But.. one thing I have learned, if I would step back and realize that those who used a "tough love" approach on me, loved me more then words could express. They loved me enough to not take care of me all the time, loved me enough to help me become independant.
I am having to use some of that "tough love" in my life, this time not being on the recieving end. Let me say, it isn't any easier. *sigh* I want to be a helpful friend, and super duper kind momma, but there are times I simply just can't do it, can't be that. Ya know, even in many ways I am learning to use some "Tough love" in my own life with myself. When I have to use that "tough love" approach on people that I have come to love, it is hard because I know they are most likely thinking I am just being mean or dont' care. But the truth is, I do. I do more then I should at times. I often care more then the people I am caring for. That is just who I am. And it is hard to say "sure okay, I will fix the problem for you" because well, I am a fixer. In a wierd kinda way, it is easier for me to use the "tough love" approach on my children rather then my friends. My children often expect it, and as hard as it is, they thank me for it later on. But ... each time tough love has to be used on friends, you run a risk of losing them.
It is in this that I am also using "tough love" on myself, knowing full well that there is nothing more I can do to help if I continue to walk in a way that enabled them to stay where they are. None of us are meant to stay at what place we are right this very minute. We were created to learn, to continue learning, to grow as humans. And it is hard for me, but I am going to totaly have to step back from some very good friends of ours. Why? Tough love. Tough love on them, tough love on me. It is hard to see other families struggle, but also be on the outside looking in and knowing good well why they struggle. When you put addictions (smoking, drinking, spending money) a priority over taking care of your children and home, there is a problem. And that isn't a problem I can no longer try to help on. I have tried. Over and over. I have suggested, I have mentored, and the worst part in all that is seeing what you can openly say you KNOW is the truth just be tossed to the wayside like it never mattered.
I am not a perfect mother and wife, but I know when to stand my ground and begin working on myself to be better at these two things. I am literally heartbroken right now, knowing that there are children that *I* know personally who are not being given the least of things, let alone what they deserve. All I can do at this moment is to stand back, and pray that this family seriously begin doing some searching into their lives, and find where the struggles are. And when they find them, to actually do something about them, not just wallow in self pitty. I am praying that the Lord begin to move in their lives, in ways that He has never been able to move. And because I am a "fixer" I have to simply let go. I can't try right now. I would try to control the situation, and then nothing would be learned. Nothing learned, but that "when we have a problem, lets go to Mrs Sheila so she can fix it". I am busy fixin my own life, my own home, my own circumstances. I don't have time nor energy anymore to try to fix someone else's.
The side effect to "tough love" is lonliness. I feel like I have lost a friend. It is something I am choosing, so why is it so hard? Because this person has been around for many big milestones in my life, but I love them too much to allow things to continue as they are. I love them, and it kills me to see them struggle so much every single day, with NO break. It is times like this that God can do some major buisiness in lives such as these, that is another reason I am stepping to the side. I don't want my flesh and my emotions to hinder His work.
Have you had some "Tough love" times? What did you learn through those? I would love it if you would share either in the comments below, or simply via email.