Monday, May 8, 2017

Learning to Rest {Part 1}

Consumer Relationship
Give = Get

Convenant Relationshp
Give = Nothing in return

Can  I do relationship this way?  Jesus does!


As I've thought about my relationships in the past, the way I related to the people I called my friends, I have been disappointed in what I found.  I have always desired a TRUE friend, I didn't have many of those.  I can remember calling my mom from my "christian" college and complaining that I didn't have a best friend, desiring to have someone to call BFF.

If I'm going to be honest, I didn't know how to be a friend.  I was always looking for something in return.  Seldom did I just enjoy the company of another person.  There was usually some type of transaction taking place.  Of course, at those times I didn't see how American consumerism had crept into my relationships.  I wanted affirmation, understanding, help, sometimes a listening ear.  I didn't really care about what the other person needed as long as I got what I needed.

I often wondered why other women seemed to have all these friends from high school and college but I didn't.  After all, I was a Christian and if anyone knew about being a good friend it was Jesus.  Of course, the brand of Christ follower I was didn't give much credence to the Jesus is Love message.  It was more about Jesus "saving" you.  I was supposed to be "an example".  Of what, I'm not even sure now.  But being a good example to other people puts a lot of pressure on a person.  As a result of what I believe was a misconstrued message I became whatever anyone needed me to be.  I helped people a lot and I helped a lot of people.  When the PTO needed a president, I was the first to volunteer.  Cheer Leader coach, pick me and then there was midget football treasurer and concession stand worker and you get the picture.  You let me help you with your thing and I get to be needed!  It was a win win in my estimation.  Except I was blind to how I was living.

At that time of my life I had no idea I was looking for love in all the wrong places.  I understood that concept as a wandering college drop out.  But as a married Mom of two school aged girls? I wasn't looking for love any longer.  I had a husband and a beautiful home and two great kids and a top of the line mini-van for crying out loud.  I also had lots and lots of activities to keep me busy.  I went so fast during those years that I can hardly remember the details.  I wasn't fully present in my own life, I was just passing through to the next appointed practice or performance or church activity.  None of those things are bad in and of themselves, it was just a way I became distracted and addicted.

Slowing down has been a difficult concept and a very gradual process.  Those fast paced patterns of living became so entrenched in my every day that going from school to practice to lesson to appointed weekly church service became a steady rhythm in my life.

Learning how to rest in God's love for me has been no small feat.  It's not something I could have ever accomplished in all my striving and performing and perfectionism.  God approves of me even in this season when I'm doing absolutely nothing very little.  I still go to my job every day but I've pulled away from almost every other commitment and activity for the most part.  I'm not even a member of a church (gasp) and I don't feel the need to go to a service unless God directs me to do so.  I'm learning REST.  It's going to take more than just a blog post to conquer this sitting with myself, sitting with the desires I have for community and waiting for God to give me what HE desires me to have.

What I've learned so far is that God is good, He loves my questions, He isn't afraid of my doubt, He is faithful to provide and He will never be disappointed in me no matter what decision I make.  People who see me pulling away may not understand and may, as I often have, make judgments based on their limited understanding of my current situation.  I'm okay with that.  What I'm not okay with is continuing to live the remainder of the time I have here on this earth, running at break neck pace to do the next thing that I'm hoping will earn me the love I already have simply by being me.  I'm learning to a new rhythm, rest!

If you happen to stumble upon this spilling of words and something here resonates within your heart, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  By no means do I have anything figured out in this area, it's all trial and error here and I'd love some company if you're so inclined.

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