One of the central issues of emotional well-being is how you answer the question, “Who’s got your back?”
Take a moment to think about it. How easy was your answer?
You may not have needed time to think because a specific person immediately came to mind. You felt confident that this person will support you, encourage and defend you, not be overly critical of you and have your best interests in mind. Whether that person is your spouse, a sibling, a mentor or a good friend, having someone in your corner is reassuring. You know that even if you mess up (and you certainly will), that person understands God’s grace – because they, too, are not perfect. Someone who has your back will make sure you are reminded of God’s forgiveness and strength to get you through the challenges ahead.
Now on to a tougher question:
“Do you listen to whoever has your back?”
It’s easy to pay attention when the words being shared are encouragements and accolades meant to uplift you. What’s not so easy to hear are words meant to gently correct. During those times, you may want to dismiss any advice. In moments of stress, you may forget that your trusted ally actually does have your best interests in mind.
If you trusted this person with the accolades, why is it more difficult to trust when he/she notices some concerns and brings them to your attention? We need to keep in mind that when conflicts arise, we too often are so laser-focused on one area that we may be oblivious to the other details. The person who has our back, however, often has a better vantage point to see the bigger picture and our place in it.
Let’s get back to the original question.
If you struggled to think of a person who has your back, it’s never too late to cultivate those relationships. One way is to be more involved with the lives of others. You might be so concerned about getting something from someone else (their support), that you forget to give something in return (your support).
In the same way that we appreciate the comfort and reassurance of someone in our corner, you can provide this to others. Seek out opportunities to support friends and family members and share in their joys and adversities. Take the time to be available when called upon to encourage. Those who feel supported and loved are more inclined to love and support back. Being more vulnerable is another way to build trust and empathy towards one another.
Finally, during times of doubt – when you feel that no one has your back – don’t forget the obvious (but it needs to be said): God has and will always have your back. He knows what you are going through better than you do. He knows your wants and needs at that moment and is already working a plan for some good to come out of that difficult situation. He also knows your flaws and your shortcomings that may have added to the mess at hand, and yet He still loves and forgives you.
You may not see it at the time, but God always has your best interests in mind. This world can toss you about like a rag doll, but He cares for you. “. . . He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken.” Psalm 55:22
During moments of tension and anxiety, pray for God’s guidance, but also be open to embrace the people God has placed in your life who will offer words of comfort and encouragement and who will have your back.