Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Year of Relationship | Part Two

From Part One:

 I’ve taken notice of the dynamics of human relationships.  The complete irony in it all.  How we need God more than anything, how we need each other, how life was never meant to be done alone (you know, no man is an island?), yet we pretend we don’t need a soul, we pretend we can cover it all on our own, and so we hang a curtain of perfection in front of our imperfection and expect to find a multitude of relationships overtaking us like a tidal wave.


So when I say “we”, I mean me.  I pretend(ed) I didn’t need anyone, that I had it covered.  I hung the curtain of perfection in front of my imperfection.  I dangled this picture of the ideal me (whatever that is!) and expected a tidal wave of people to accept the real me.  A problem at its most fundamental level… where does ideal meet real and what impact will it have.    And what is the life span of a perfection curtain, anyway?

“Turning around, Jesus saw them following and asked, ‘What do you want?’” (John 1:37-38)

What do I want... I want to grasp Christ, yield to His will and shadow Him into eternity, all while caught up in Our head-over-heels relationship.  And while I am left to wander here on Earth waiting for Him to come for me, I want to find authentic relationships with authentic people. Waiting companions.  Because my relationship with Christ can grow exponentially as I cultivate relationships with His people, as I hear their stories, and see what our God has done, is doing.  As I practice this art of loving like Christ.

But this authenticity is found in imperfect people who open that little window to their heart allowing me to peek inside, trusting me to be gentle. Truthful people that stretch me to give and grow more than I thought possible.  Grace-filled people that I can do life with confidently no matter how imperfectly, who take me at my worst and encourage me to be my best, who accept me instead of expect from me. Joy-filled people.  Maskless people that draw me closer to the living God because they are made in His image and in them I can see a little more of God’s nature, His character, His story.  Broken people with whom I am passionate about reciprocating these life-giving virtues.  People I genuinely want to walk alongside and experience life with – from burdens to belly rolls – because I was made for this.  We were made for RELATIONSHIP. 

In my thirty-something years {ahem}, I’m only starting to discover what it means to be one of these people and that finding one?  Well these authentic people are rare gems… absolutely worthy of the search, the risk, the heartache.  An inordinate amount of effort is required and every last drop of it is well spent when you unearth one of these precious stones.  And if I spend the whole of this one life looking only to never find, I want to know I did every last thing I could for the search.  That my lack of finding wasn’t because I was pretending to be perfect or pretending I didn’t need anyone while I was dying inside, but that I labored and clawed and turned over every rock.  That I gave everything of myself and offered what I had, that I opened the window to my heart trusting them to be gentle.  That I pounced on every opportunity God offered.

As I continue to travel the treacherous road full of twists and turns that lead to God’s natural and true design for relationships, I am discovering some things about me that are hard to face.  And just one of many is the priority I have given to relationships, or lack thereof.  This is a mess I have exposed about myself.  A mess I am hopeful God can drench in His beauty. 

As I go from here, I go as me.  Not any derivative of an ideal.  No masks of protection or what is most likely to impress.  Just me. The real me, gripping my Savior's hand.  I trust You Lord. I trust Your ways.  And I trust that the way You made me was with intention and purpose… for RELATIONSHIP. 

Hang on tight, heart.