Last week in chapel our speaker delved into the topics of masculinity and femininity. While his thoughts were stimulating (and controversial to some), what remained in my mind was a tangent he touched on a few times. Bear with me as I explore this new thing called writing (I know, what is this? I thought blogs were for art and photographs! Well, maybe I’m branching out. Maybe.).
We long for relationships. God created us to know and to be known, through friendships, family, and romance. We long for understanding, intimacy and unconditional commitment. Unfortunately, all too often relationships end up stale and unfulfilling. The ache never goes away.
We’re fallen. We won’t ever get it perfect, at least in this life. Since God Himself is the ultimate example of Personhood, we only fulfill the true meaning of personality as far as we imitate Him. The fact that we rebelled against Him has guaranteed struggle and hurt when we get close, and loneliness when we shield ourselves from others’ influence.
I often hinder the growth of relationships in my life by staying too quiet. I fear looking stupid and being rejected or ignored. I don’t want anyone to see my flaws or mistakes. What if I end up looking like an idiot? But when I avoid talking, when I encircle my mind with the barriers of silence and reserve, the result is no better. Invisibility. Utter solitude. I begin to think that no one can ever sympathize or offer guidance. I end up on my own.
Is this truly better than rejection? If I really examined my own heart and mind, I think I would conclude that risk is better than avoiding intimacy. Losing the race is preferable to not attempting it at all. How can we succeed unless we give it a shot? Not just once, but persistently.
Again, WHY? Why should we try, over and over again?
Because God created us for fellowship.
Because our sincere relationships honor Him.
Because they point us towards His plan and help us experience greater joy.
Because they prepare us for the uninhibited intimacy we will experience in Heaven, both with the triune God and with others.
Even the best of relationships leave us hungering for more. The ache comes hand in hand with the joy. But if we let it, the ache can remind us of our need for more.
How do we channel our ache into motivation?
- By realizing that we should ache. We’re made for more than life, in its current state, can offer, and our longing for more testifies to it.
- By remembering that only God can solve it. Other relationships can help, but only if He is first. We constantly pervert good things in an attempt to patch our holes, but it won’t work. Idolatry never got anyone anywhere (at least, no place we’d want to go).
- By trusting the Holy Spirit to help us in our weaknesses.
- By never, ever, ever, ever, EVER giving up, even when we let God and others down. We fall so we can learn to pick ourselves up again.
- Through prayer. Direct link to the best relationship advisor around. Sincere Bible study, too.
- By putting others’ need above our own. If we dive into relationships seeking to fill our own aches, we’ll leave those we care about cold and end up hurting ourselves too.
The bottom line is that GOD DOES IT ALL. He created us. He made us personal. He is love, and He shares Himself with us. He saves us from our failures and messes in spite of everything we do to prevent Him. All we can do is submit to His grace.
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in him and he in God. And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.”
~1 John 4: 7-17
Hope I haven't rambled. At least not too much.
(Special thanks to Kent and Carla (I'm guessing on the spelling) Denlinger for getting my thoughts going. Also, credits go to C.S. Lewis, Winston Churchill, and Batman Begins for ideas or thinly-veiled quotations embedded in this post.)