The One Who Understands
Sometimes understanding doesn’t lead to change. Have you ever gone to someone to feel understood? Have you found yourself unhappy with how a certain situation is going and then turned to someone for a set of listening ears? Most of us, I would say, go into conversations without an awareness of what we are really seekingfrom the one who is understanding.
There is a hidden expectation that they (mom, dad, pastor, wife, child, friend, boss, etc.) will do much more than understand. This plays out when we have put our trust in someone. When we give away our trust, (which is a healthy part of any relationship), we open ourselves to the hidden field of expectations we carry. Relationships bring out what’s inside of us. (No wonder they can be messy.) We can’t avoid this messiness because growth is contingent upon our relationships with others and with God Himself.
Repeatedly, we go to others for what we first must receive from God Himself. Have you considered that God is the only one that fully and completely is designed to understand you? Doesn’t the creator understand what He has created? His level of understanding is beyond what we could think or imagine. Inside all of us, the desire to be understood lies like a gentle lamb in our heart and other times like a roaring lion.
If we’re honest, it’s hard to actually receive the truth that Jesus is the only one who can truly understand us and what we are going through. There is a massive level of peace you can receive when you let this reality sink in. This peace is sabotaged by our hearts filled with hidden, unspoken expectations. Most of us run to another to understand our circumstances, and along with the desire to be understood comes the the hidden field of expectations rushing to the surface.
This is because we find ourselves in need. When we are in need we are vulnerable. And when we are vulnerable our true hearts appear. After going to someone for understanding, immediately in our subconscious, we begin to believe they will be the ones who fix, solve, or change what we are bringing to them to understand.
The issue is our lack of verbal communication with the one who best understands us. Our expectation rises up, without our full awareness. And we start to live in a place where we think they should know this. Our thoughts look like, “If they are being understanding, then they should help me change this—or better yet change it for me!”
And yes, other people do this for us at times. They help us along our journeys, they clean up our messes, or pioneer change in our circumstances. But what do we do when we have continuously gone to someone for understanding but see no change? Are we aware that we have stopped going to the one who truly understands us? Consider the following scenarios:
You go to your mom and ask her to confront your father’s alcoholism. She understands your concern, but never confronts him.
Your work environment is unhealthy. You work way over your hours and people do not respect your boundaries. You go to your boss for understanding and desire change. He says he understands, yet nothing changes.
Your girlfriend spends alone time with other men frequently. You’ve expressed your concern and she understands, but later that day she meets up with another guy.
The reality is, sometimes, simply understanding does not lead to change. We free ourselves of a great deal of disappointment and frustration if we let the expectation go that people must change for us what they are being understanding for. Letting go of this is crucial if we are to lay down a life making other people our “god.”
Those who genuinely understand still have limited understanding. They themselves cannot know in full what we need or would like them to help us with. We must let go of the cycle of expectations of others to change our current reality. The real reality is found in the one who truly understands us. When we let this sink in, transformation happens.
Here’s a checklist to help you assess if you are living in an expectation cycle:
- I have not clearly communicated what I would like help in.
- I have not asked.
- I am constantly complaining to others about my circumstances and finding blame in them.
- I have seen no change in something at all.
- I have neglected to turn to God.
When you find yourself checking off some of these, praise the Lord! These are markers to remind you to go back to the one who understands, God himself. The moment we let go of this cycle, we free ourselves to find solutions, think openly for ourselves, and begin to engage reality. We engage into a real, kingdom reality when we act this out in love.
We can demonstrate love by going directly to the source of love, God Himself, to be understood. And then we can be loving to our friends, family, co-workers, kids, etc. by being clear in what we ask of them. This is one way we can love God and love others.