In the best relationships, there comes a time when it crosses over an important threshold. It is that threshold that takes it from being temporary or seasonal to something permanent, everlasting. From something that feels like it is based on conditions and performance to something you can count on, with no reason for doubt. Sometimes it takes years to make it to this point of triumph. For parents and children, decades, perhaps. But whatever path it takes to reach this pinnacle of success, no matter how painful it may be, is well worth the wait and struggle to persevere.
And the truth is that those who never make it this far don’t really make it at all. Or if they do, it becomes more of a business/caregiver type of arrangement, and can hardly be defined as a relationship in the end.
The moment that changes everything is when a relationship crosses the bridge from “What does this relationship do for me?” to “What can I do for you?”
For the parent-child relationship, a parent enters expecting nothing in return. On a second by second basis, parents give more than they have to offer. They stop at nothing to provide, and to protect those who they so adore. It creeps in at first, but then, after several years, the child begins to see that his parenta are united toward the same goal, and he discovers that being a part of the process can be quite rewarding. Once he reaches adulthood, he finds himself seeking ways to help his parents, the people he may have taken for granted for most of his life.
But many of us share those same traits in all of our so-called partnerships. We take, but rarely give. And the end result is that our relationships end up feeling empty.
When we step outside the revolving world of self and learn to see and feel the needs of others around us, our relationships deepen. And somehow, the more we give, the more we are able to receive in return.
As usual, I am more guilty of this than I care to admit, especially in my own relationship with God. When I read through my recent prayer journal from the past year, something I do on a regular basis to make sure I take note of the answers that have been provided, I thumbed through pages and pages of requests about my family, my husband, my children, their health, my job, my car, my plans. Blah, Blah, Blah. As if God owes me a life of comfort and little pain.
Chances are that I’ve prayed those same prayers for all of my adult life. God knows my needs, and as much as He likes to hear from me, I’m sure He wonders if our relationship will ever cross that bridge into something deeper. Something He can count on, that is not based on His performance.
And then, finally, I ran across this prayer where the tables turned, written just one month ago.
Today, I come asking what I can do for you.
I want to be used by You, for You. Show me what I can do for You, and then step-by-step, how to do it.
I want Your love to be on display through my life, my words, my thoughts.
I want to be invisible in this relationship, so that the only One people see is You.
If I’m going to be exhausted, I want it to be for you.
So thank you for choosing me and letting me become a part of your story. It sure has taken me a while to show up with a heart not burdened by my own desires, but here I am. You’ve captured my heart, and it is yours to use as you see fit.
Relationships don’t happen by accident. They take work. And sometimes, daily doses of holiness.
But He knows, more than anyone, that it is well worth the wait.