Relationships: Why Do Some People Focus On Other People’s Problems?

Even though one will have their own life to lead while they are on this planet, it doesn’t mean that they will actually have their own life. Instead, they could end up spending most of their tine focusing on other people’s problems.

When this takes place, they could end up being seen as someone who is a selfless human being. Therefore, one will be neglecting themselves but they will still receive a fair amount of positive feedback from others.

Socially Acceptable

What this comes down to is that it is often believed that it is a bad thing for someone to focus on their own needs and a good thing to focus on other people’s needs. This is then something that is black and white and that’s all there is to it.

Consequently, it will be easy for the years to go by and for one not to come into contact with anyone who will tell them that their behaviour is unhealthy. Now, this is not to say that every part of them will be happy with what is going on; what it is likely to mean is that the part of them that is not happy will generally be ignored.

Outer Directed

One will typically be focused on what is going on externally, causing them rarely pay attention to their own needs and feelings, let alone meet them. They may be in a relationship or they may be single, but there is always going to be people in their life who need their help.

If they are not in a relationship, they might have more time for other people, but then again, this might not matter. They are then not going to be employed by anyone to be there for others, but it will be as though this is their reason for being on this earth.

Two Sides

When they are around others, they could generally come across as happy and easy going; however, this could be radically different to what they are like in their own company. During this time, they could end up feeling down and even depressed.

Still, they could come to believe that this hasn’t got anything to do with how they live their life. They may have come to conclude that it is due to a chemical imbalance, for instance.

Business as Usual

Ultimately, the pain that they experience when they are by themselves will be there to let them know that they are living in the wrong way. Yet, unless they listen to themselves, it won’t be possible for them to make use of this guidance.

They will continue to place other people’s needs above their own and to put their own life on hold in the process. So, even if they do have a fulfilling career, for example, they are unlikely to be doing as well as they could.

A Distraction

One way of looking at this kind of behaviour would be to say that this allows one to avoid their own life. Ergo, if they were to spend less time focusing on other people’s needs and more time on their own needs, it might cause them to experiencing a lot of pain.

Based on this, if they were to face their own pain and to work through it, their behaviour would gradually change. This is then analogous to how someone can stop comfort eating when they no longer feel sad, for instance.

Another Element

What one is likely to find, if they were to no longer behave in this way, is that they start to feel uncomfortable. If they were to go a little deeper, they may see that they don’t feel comfortable with their own needs.

They may believe that other people’s needs are more important than their own, which would explain why they try to do so much for them. Being there for others may then be an indirect way for them to fulfil their own needs.

The Downside

Along with neglecting their own needs, they may also find that their behaviour rarely has a positive effect on others. The reason for this is that they could do things for others that they shouldn’t do.

Through trying to rescue or save others, it will make it harder for them to take responsibility for their own life. It might be more accurate to say that they will be helping to keep some of these people where they are – in a dependent state.

Way Back

If one was to look back on what took place during the beginning of their life, they may find that this was a time when they had to focus on their caregivers needs. Their primary purpose would have been to serve their caregivers, causing them to lose touch with their own needs.

This would have set them up to believe that their value was based on what they did as opposed to who they were. Pleasing their caregivers would have been the primary way for them to receive positive feedback.


The years would have passed, and this would have changed their appearance, but they would have continued to behave in the same way. And, Instead of trying to please their parents, they would have tried to please other people.

In order for them to change their behaviour, they will need to change what they believe about their own needs and they may need to grieve their unmet childhood needs. This can take place with the assistance of a therapist or a healer.

Teacher, Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand eight hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.


Could Stress Be Distressing Your Relationships?

So many people I encounter are under the direct burden of stress.

Levels of general anxiety in the population today are as high as at any other time in the history of the world. And yet, as you read this you might be like much of the world, living in comparative luxury compared to others who cannot read this, and there are those historically who have faced much harder realities than we do today, yet possibly experienced less general anxiety.

These below are just four items on what would be a long list:

The Infection of Information

We are infected in this day with a plethora of information that has the impact of burdening us more than we are able to cope with. Information is killing us. And it isn’t even as if it’s a case of discerning what information is good from what isn’t good, it is just the flood of information that creates stress and manifests as anxiety.

Don’t just think about the ills of comparison through excess time spent on social media (though envy is a stressor). The problem is much more complex than that. It’s literally keeping up with the flow of information coming in that has an effect on our relationships with real people. Information as a priority, unfortunately, tends to trump people. The more tools and techniques we use to try and simplify our lives in this day the more our lives become complicated.

It’s because we have so much that we want so much.

There is a new addiction in our age, and it’s called the Fear of Missing out. And it isn’t just young people who are addicted; indeed, it is an irony that it is the over 40s who are most entrenched with Facebook these days.

But it’s not just the infection of information that burdens us with stress that overwhelms our capacity to relate with people.

Honesty with Ourselves and with God

This is a stressor that many people cannot stomach let alone reconcile. Even some espoused Christian individuals, particularly those who major on doctrines (information, again, over people!), cannot have an honest relationship with themselves or God, because they lack the courage of vulnerability to be truthful with themselves. They may bend out of context Jesus’ words, ‘the truth will set you free’ all the while refusing the Holy Spirit’s power that would heal them of their pride by giving them a continual awareness of it.

God blesses the obedient; those who will honestly journey with Him; those who have the capacity to fervently repent of their wrongful attitudes, for we all have them. I have found that the way God works with me is, my pride that refuses to be honest becomes a curse against the peace I could otherwise have in my heart.

If we cannot be honest with ourselves and with God, we will be severely limited in our relationships, and because we are not being honest about getting the log out of our own eye, it’s only a matter of time before some relationships shatter through conflict. Some relationships suffer such damage they become irreparable.

When we are honest with ourselves and with God, we see our pride, and how we are tempted to elevate the issues we argue about over the person, and completely miss the will of God.

When we’re honest with ourselves and God, God gives us the capacity to repent of our pride.

Being Aware of Emotional Indicators

Stress has an impact on us at a psychological level affecting the way we think and feel. Like all of what I talk about in this article, awareness is the key. As we recognise the feeling of stress and anxiety within us, we can choose to talk calmly to ourselves, to allow God to comfort us, even as we hope beyond the stressful present moment – ‘This, too, shall pass’.

This kind of stress is manifest in a particularly strong way when we are interacting with people, especially when we cannot control the situation, because we all like a modicum of control. And when we are stressed, more than ever, we demand control. If we hear God saying to us, ‘it’s okay, surrender your need of control to Me’ we can simply do something active in the interaction itself to surrender control. None of this is rocket science.

Getting the Balance Right between Activity and Being

Possibly the final frontier in reconciling stress is how far we skew the balance in our lives regarding activity versus being.

There is just so much to do in life. We often accept that without challenging it. Nobody is making us do this or that.

Many things that we choose to do we don’t have to do.

Very often the wisdom path is in saying no, which in the moment of saying it feels awkward and uncomfortable, but is the best remedy for busyness.

As we fight for the peace we could have in life we reduce our burden and deal with our stress.


How the Best Advice I Ever Got Hurt Before Its Truth Hit Home

It seemed so simple, but I was gobsmacked by the profoundness of what was said. There, as I lay there, my wife scooped in my arms, in bed to sleep, I was wide awake with awe, at the advice I had five minutes earlier heard my wife utter to me.

All she said were these words,¬†‘Just remember to be kind to them, remembering how it felt when others were unkind to you.’¬†Everything in me in that moment wanted to defend or justify my position. But she said what she said in such a gracious way that she whispered me.

Sincerely, God had spoken those words through her. I knew immediately, in having been corrected, there were two powerful truths working in unison: The Holy Spirit was urging me, through my wife’s advice, to be kind, even though I felt affronted, and, I knew first-hand just exactly who my wife was referring to about those who were unkind to me. I have long resented the fact that some key others didn’t deal with me as gracefully as they could have. And here I was tempted to fall into the same trap.

Everyone deserves kindness, because everyone is coming from an angle where they deserve to be understood. Nobody goes about their way thinking it is wrong even if it is wrong. And yet, at the very moment we want to be unkind, when we are prepared to burn the friendship or even a budding acquaintance, to go there is so unnecessary when kindness can breathe hope into the despairing soul of a rapport about to destroyed.

Kindness gives the relationship just one more chance when one party or both are just about done. It is the grace of God, which is the undeserved favour we receive without ever having made a case for earning it.

Kindness is the will of God in all circumstances, no matter how offensive another person’s behaviour is.

It can turn an enemy into someone who is no longer threatened by us. It can turn a stranger into a friend. It causes people to take a second look our way to encounter beauty in life. Kindness is the redemptive power of God, which is a response of grace against the odds in response to an offence given.

This kindness response is learned paradoxically. I have learned through my experience of having been treated unkindly, just how much it hurts not to be treated graciously even when I’ve been in the wrong.

This is a compelling reason to be Christ follower: who else epitomised kindness even in death?

Kindness is learned most profoundly – the urgency of its importance – in having been deprived of it.


Relationships: Why Do Some People Have The Need To Be Needed’?

While there are people who are not interested in trying to rescue or save other people, there are others who are. As a result of this, some people will be repelled by these kinds of people and some will be drawn to them like bees to a honey pot.

And no matter what kind of people someone is drawn to, this can be what is normal. What this means is that they won’t need to think about whether or not they should go towards them or move away from them; this is something that will just happen.

Less Drama

What is clear is that when someone is not drawn to people who come across as though they need to be rescued, their life is likely to be a lot less complicated. They will be able to pay attention to their own needs and to be there for others, as opposed to being consumed by other people’s needs.

This will make it easier for them to function at their best and to have enough energy to truly be there for others. Therefore, when they do extend themselves to others, they won’t try to do things for them that they should be doing for themselves.


The reason that they will be able to do this is because they value themselves and feel safe enough to behave in this manner. They can then put their needs first, without feeling as though they are doing anything wrong.

And as their needs are important, it would show that something isn’t right if they felt guilty and ashamed for paying attention to them. What this is also likely to show is that they have good boundaries.

A Clear Line

This will enable them to see where they begin and end and where other people begin and end, thereby allowing them to realise that they are not responsible for other people. If they were to do things for them that they should do for themselves, they would probably soon realise that they have crossed their boundaries.

If this was to happen, they might end up feeling more like someone’s parent than their friend or partner, for instance. The relationship would end up being out of balance and it would start to diminish them.

A Choice

This is not to say that they will give something and shortly after they will get something back; what it comes down to is that their relationships won’t be one-sided. The reason someone is in their life will be due to the fact that they want them to be.

How this person experiences life is likely to be radically different to how someone experiences life when they have the need to save or to rescue others. For one thing, they are likely to spend a lot of time focusing on other people’s needs.

Out of Touch

Naturally, this is going to cause them to neglect their own needs, and they could even act as though they don’t have needs. It is then not that they are out of touch with their own needs; it is that they just don’t have any.

Their needs will have been replaced by other people’s needs; it will be as if they are an extension of others. They are then not responsible for their own needs; they are responsible for others people’s needs.

One Focus

So, instead of being aware of what is going on within them and being aware of what is going on externally, they will generally be focused on what is going on externally. Their priority will be to do what they can to please others.

Behaving in this way will allow them to receive approval and this will have a positive effect on their ego. The down side is that while their ego will be happy with what is going on, their true-self will end up being completely overlooked.

The Benefit

But, although they will be ignoring their own needs and suffering in the process, their self-worth will be defined by what they do for others. What this means is that they will only feel good about themselves if they are trying to fix other people.

The people in their life will make them feel needed and this is going to be a need that is very strong. If they didn’t have people like this in their life, they would end up feeling worthless and rejected and abandoned.

A Mask

Someone like this can come across as strong and capable; making it hard to comprehend how they could end up feeling like this if they had no one to save. However, this will just be a false-self that they created to keep their pain at bay and to receive approval.

Through having developed this false-self – a false-self that would have caused them to disconnect from their true needs and feelings – it will also mean that it is not possible for them to experience intimacy. They won’t be emotionally available and the people they are drawn to are likely to be in a similar position.

A Closer Look

When someone behaves in this way, it can show that they had to fulfil their caregiver needs when they were growing up. This would have caused them to lose touch with their true-self and to believe that their value was based on what they did.

They would have gone from a human being to a human doing, and this would have set them to believe that they were inherently flawed. If they didn’t do what their caregivers wanted, they would have been rejected and abandoned.


This would have stopped them from able to develop a strong sense of self and to know where they begin and end and where other people begin and end. Focusing on other people’s needs will be a way for them to regulate their own emotions, with this being an ability that they wouldn’t have developed due to being neglected.

The years will have passed since this took place but it will still be having a big effect on their life. Reaching out for external support can be a way for them to move forward, and this can be provided by a therapist or a healer.

Teacher, Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand eight hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.


Responsibility and Control in Relationship

There is one key determinant in gauging mental, emotional, and spiritual health:

To what extent does a person have the capability to take their responsibility versus their propensity to control others.

Those who receive counsel well take their responsibility.

Those who receive counsel poorly are those who tend to blame-shift and try to control others.

Couples who take their personal responsibility individually enjoy progress.

Couples where even one individual who insists upon staying in conflict mode do not progress.

But this article extends well beyond couples.

It extends to the farthest reaches of all our relationships, with others, with God, even with ourselves.

If people experience us as controlling we’re not only untrustworthy, we’re also unsafe, and not a pleasure to be around.

Let’s remember God made us for relationship, which has its aim in being a pleasure to be around (not that we’re ever expected to achieve that all the time). If people experience us as taking our responsibility, they’re free to enjoy relating with us as a person who is a pleasure to know, because we’re safe to be around. To be a blessing is always our aim.

Two pivotal questions remain:

  1. How can I be less controlling?

Needing to have control indicates we’re controlled by fear, which is driven by insecurity.

Because we all have the proclivity to be insecure, we do need to take responsibility for the possibility we can be controlling. The sheer awareness of being insecure helps us regulate the need to control situations and others. This is done simply in owning responsibility for such awareness. We see our controlling things as wrong and we repent of such attitudes and behaviours. This is actually one very effective way of taking responsibility.

  1. How can I take more of my own responsibility?

For many who honestly struggle with needing to have control, this is a hard question. But wherever there is the endeavour to live a more God-pleasing life there is the capacity to achieve the goal. Living responsibly is the way to live a God-pleasing life, because it’s the life of faith – of trusting God to the extent of loving others.

Whenever we live responsibly we’re less of a burden and more of a blessing to others. It would misrepresent the truth to say this trend is absolute, but it’s a reliable guide.

We take more responsibility when we hold ourselves to short account, particularly when we use the prayer from Psalm 139:23-24: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” What this prayer is truly beseeching God about is clear. God already knows our heart; He knows our thoughts. The prayer is asking God to make it clear to us what He already knows. It could be as follows:

Lord, You know my heart, please show me.

I submit to Your testing of my attitude;

show me the truth of my thoughts.

Reveal any sign of wickedness

(about this situation or other)

And continue to lead me, please. AMEN

Those who take responsibility, seek God’s awareness of truth, which requires intimacy to walk humbly with God.

  1. Some traits of the responsible:

They attend to what they can control, and they accept what they cannot control.

They’re honest before God to the extent of hearing another person out who has a complaint against them.

They’re quick to own their contribution of fault, but they don’t enable others’ irresponsibility.

They own their current relationships and are happy to cut unsafe people out of their lives and don’t feel guilty about it.

They’re for the most part logical, reasonable, reliable, rational.

They take seriously the hurts of others, living at peace with everyone as far as it depends on them, especially regarding behaviours for which they, themselves, are responsible.


Relationships: Can Smartphones Destroy Relationships?

In the same way that it is easy for someone not embrace each day of the week due to being completely absorbed in what will happen at the weekend, it is also just as easy for them to ignore the people in their life due to being completely absorbed in their Smartphone. In each of these cases, the present moment won’t be fully embraced.

A Smartphone could be seen as the ideal piece of technology for the mind, since it gives the mind a way to leave the present moment. The mind needs something to do and it doesn’t have anything to do in the now.

The Problem

But, while someone’s mind will be happy to be totally absorbed in this piece of technology, it doesn’t mean that the people they spend time with will be equally happy with this. Then again, if these people are also glued to their device, it might not bother them that much.

Most of their time will be spent somewhere else, even though their physical body will be right in front of them. There is a term that comes to mind here, and this is ‘together alone’, whereby two people are together but they are still alone.

In The Same Boat

When two people behave in this way, there may be moments when they get annoyed that the other is not present but this could soon pass. Before long, what is taking place on a screen will be far more important.

The person who is right in front of them will be more like a distraction than someone who is an important part of their life. So, as long as the other doesn’t want too much of their attention, everything should be fine.

Being Seen

When someone spends a lot of time on a Smartphone when they are around others, it can also be a way for them to hide. And if they don’t feel comfortable with being seen, they will feel comfortable around people who behave in the same way.

The other person will be too busy looking at a screen to really see them, and this could stop them from feeling unconformable. Deep down they will want to be seen, but the baggage that is within them will have caused them to also have the opposite need.


Ultimately, they are an interdependent human being, and this is why they need human contact. Thus, when this doesn’t take place, it is going to have a negative effect on their wellbeing.

Yet, when someone is carrying a lot of shame, for instance, and doesn’t want to be around people who actually show up, it is going to stop them from being able to fulfil this need. The need to hide will be stronger than the need to be seen.

Pushed Aside

If someone is consumed by their device and the person they are with doesn’t spend as much time on it, it is bound to have a negative effect on them as time goes by. In the beginning, this could be something that they could brush off and simply tolerate.

They might end up asking them to not use their Smartphone as much, with the hope that they will see how destructive it is for them to behave in this manner. They might not get the message, though, and continue to behave in this way.

One Direction

If these two people are in an intimate relationship, the emotional connection that they have might start to disappear. The person who spends a lot of time on their device will have already been directing a lot of their energy towards their phone (this might even be their primary relationship), and now the other person will start to pull their energy back.

From the outside, it might seem as though their relationship hasn’t changed, and this could be because they still live together. This will be nothing more than an illusion, as the bond that existed between them will have stated to erode.

Another Example

A friendship between two people can end up going down the same path, too. Here, someone might not spend us much time in the other’s company, but the time that they do spend with them is unlikely to be very fulfilling.

So, unlike the person who is in a relationship with someone like this, they won’t spend as much time in the presence. Or, as this person will rarely be present, it would be more accurate to say they won’t see them as much.

The Consequences

But, regardless of what the context is, there are certain things that are likely to occur when someone is unable to put their device to one side and to be present. The person they are with can end up feeling ignored, disrespected, and as though they are not valued.

These emotions are going to be like kryptonite to the emotional connection that they have. What this emphasises is that it is not enough for someone to be in another person’s company; their whole presence needs to be there.

One Outcome

This is then similar to how it is not enough for a parent to be in close proximity to their child in order for their child to feel seen – they need to be fully present with them. A child can be neglected without being physically abandoned; this can take place by having a parent who is physically present but emotionally unavailable.


Speaking up about what is going on might be the best approach to take; but someone might find it easier to look towards another person to fulfil their needs if they are in a relationship. Taking the second option can end up creating another problem, while not solving the first.

If someone realises that they spend too much time on their device when they are around others, they can start to put their phone away around others – doing this will make it easier for them to truly show up. This something that is likely to have a positive effect on all of their relationships.

Teacher, Prolific writer, author, and coach, Oliver JR Cooper, hails from England. His insightful commentary and analysis covers all aspects of human transformation, including love, partnership, self-love, and inner awareness. With over one thousand eight hundred in-depth articles highlighting human psychology and behaviour, Oliver offers hope along with his sound advice.


Responsibility Makes and Breaks Relationships

One of the key theological patterns in the book of Acts, I find, is that of repentance preceding the receipt of the Spirit which precedes the revival of an individual’s soul.

Indeed, corporate revival relies on the same concept: repentance of the community that precedes the blessing of God’s Holy Spirit on that community which precedes a revival within the culture of the community. Revival relies on repentance.

But what is repentance other than taking responsibility? First and foremost, owning our personal sin.

In recent months I’ve come to learn much more about the patterns in abuse, as God continues to call and equip me to minister in that direction.

The hallmark difference between someone who could abuse versus someone who does abuse is the taking of responsibility. The perpetrator of the abuse avoids taking responsibility at every turn, and at every cost, and it is debatable whether they genuinely believe they cannot be responsible for abuse, or whether they intentionally subvert any accusations against them. The former is evidence of spiritual deception. The latter is evidence of sociopathy.

The well-rounded conscience receives negative feedback and weighs it for truth, even when it hurts, because negative feedback generally does hurt, and because negative feedback is generally meant well. But the damaged conscience, the seared conscience, has lost the capacity for introspection, or simply insists on not going there.

The simplest way of saying it is this: the most obvious indicator of an unsafe person is their incapacity for taking responsibility. If their default is to blame others for things they alone have control over, there is a big problem. If this attitude isn’t addressed, if there is no hope for repentance, it’s only a matter of time before they get themselves into trouble and others along with it.

Relationships fail for the lack of responsibility.

Unsafe people do not take responsibility.

Safe people, on the other hand, walk humbly with God, by being receptive to negative feedback.

I know there have been times when I’ve been weak, where I have been susceptible to resisting and at times refusing negative feedback, and it has always harmed me, others, and the relationships in view. Nothing good comes from one party or both refusing to take responsibility.

The key task of life is to discern well what we are responsible for, and to take that responsibility.

Taking responsibility is God’s decree for our lives, because relationship is the imperative of our lives.

Sometimes we can take too much responsibility, and provided we don’t ‘enable’ an unsafe person we’re in relationship with (who does not take their responsibility well), it generally doesn’t cause much harm, and it is generally very good for us, because God sees the humility in a person living for peace and blesses them for loving others.

But taking too much responsibility when the unsafe person cannot or will not take theirs just propagates the pattern of co-dependence and abuse. The pattern begs to be broken.

Repentance, we should know, is not a once-in-a-lifetime event. Neither is salvation, because there is a fruit attached. The sign we are saved in the Kingdom of God is the fruit we bear. There must be signs of ongoing repentance and fruitfulness.

There must be signs of an ongoing ability to respond well in our lives.

And the blessing we receive in taking responsibility is we take control of everything we can control, and we surrender control for everything that is beyond our control. And that is wisdom.


That Relationship You Need a Miracle for

We’ve all been in this place. And yet, another grief falls upon us.

There is a relationship that shatters us in the process of its shattering.

Whether the relationship is intact or not is immaterial. There is a grief in both aspects of relationship: in absence especially, but also in presence. Ask the spouse of the one with dementia. What was so precious is gone, forever. Sometimes presence resembles absence in the cruellest of ways.

This is not just about marriage; it’s about best-friendships, collegiate and professional partnerships, and soul-mate relationships of all kinds of designations – some that we never designed and never thought could ever work but did.

This is about any situation of grief that impacts you over a relationship that needs a miracle. Sometimes that miracle is that you can let the relationship go. Such a process is a gradual learning, of risking courageously, of giving back to God what life has taken from us, and of honouring the compelling truth.

Maybe you’re not ready to let go just yet. Sometimes that miracle you seek is one that gives you the strength to hold on.

Hope rests in faith to hold on or wisdom to let go,

but oh what strength it takes to trust in tomorrow.

What Happens Too Frequently

Something joined us together, five months or fifty years ago, in all manner of circumstances and situations we either could have or would not have predicted.

A glue formed between us, and while things were good they were so very wholesome and productive and good. It wasn’t just the love we shared. There was something beautifully elusive that formed between us, through the dynamic that we shared. And what is most frustrating is we can only attest to the potential that was borne between us as one of us or both of us looks back.

Perhaps they moved on without us. Maybe we had to move on from them. What happens too frequently is something unravels; destiny or death. It sneaks up and happens suddenly or we could see it coming. Sometimes there are warnings and it’s infuriating when every method of communication is exhausted and there’s still no response.

The shattered relationship completely deconstructs what identity we’ve built together. It reconfigures our philosophy for life. It shakes us to the core. It could bring us back to who we were. It can cause us to question who on earth we are. It can lay us waste.

The Answer…

“… unless a deliberate effort is made to restore and strengthen a [damaged] relationship, it will generally deteriorate.”

– Ken Sande, The Peacemaker, p. 219.

Reconciliation is a weird concept. It is highly negotiable in nature. We can find we’ve made all sorts of agreements with ourselves, but these were couched in terms only we could conceive. Sometimes their terms are completely what we could never have expected. We need to be ready for repentance.

There are myriad possibilities when it comes to reconciling, whether it’s a person-to-person reality, the revival of circumstances that once were, or reconciling it’s over, and every varietal between.

Sometimes reconciliation is impossible, and acceptance is the destination where hope is finally revived. A necessary severing takes place. A moving on brings healing and restoration. In these cases, acceptance is reconciliation.

The only thing we can do is honour the truth held above – a deliberate effort is needed. If that effort has been made and to no avail, we work on acceptance. If the effort is necessarily ongoing, so be it; we’re called to a season of patience that could last a year or five, or a decade or more. Ours is the wisdom to leave it with God.