Monday, June 14, 2010

Real Relationships

You'll have to bear with me with this one. The truth is, I just have so many thoughts and questions flowing through my mind day after day, sometimes minute by minute, I don't even know where to begin most of the time. I've been on a standstill with this blog 'cause I don't know how to get out what I want to say nor even have  known really what I want to say. But maybe as I type, the clouds will clear a bit and I'll finally be able to come to some sort of direction.

I know I have felt very discontent with so many things lately and really, truthfully, I don't think it's all bad. But like many, I do struggle with the balance between discontentment from the status quo and just being still and enjoying where God has me, even if I feel he has me on a path where each step feels like more of a mountain most of the time.
Probably the number one question that comes back more than any is, "What is real anymore?" We have the obvious answer that Christ is real. And I'll get back to that. But really when it comes to my relationships with people and how people relate to me, how in the world do I be real without being too real with those that don't want to hear the good, bad, and ugly of Bethany's life? And how do I lay myself aside for the sake of others so that they know they can be real with me and find me to be a safe place to come for comfort, truth, and unconditional love when they need it most. I know I fail at this too often. And it frustrates the crud out of me. Sometimes it's just easier to be away from people altogether. Yet I know that is NOT the answer. I love people too much. Probably way too much. Which is why this is so hard for me.

But seriously, I have been thrust into this realization over the past few years...that just being superficial and sweet with everyone is just not bringing out what my heart's desire nor will it bear that fruit of what Christ's life was about. Keeping things at surface level will not get anyone anywhere. It may have to start that way to build trust or whatever, but it can't stay that way to actually have true, authentic relationships. And it has to go both ways. Both parties have to be willing to go thru some uncomforable things and sometimes the fire to find true authenticity in their friendships. It hurts but has to happen. I've experienced it thru my marriage and one other friendship and am now on the other side where the beauty is shining from it all...all because of what we went through.
Christ is all about this go thru the fire with you, to let you stumble and fall but will be right there to pick you back up when you're ready to trust again...and ultimately He is about transforming lives and having an eternal relationship with them now matter how hard it gets for Him or for us.

So my question in the world do we follow that example that He did? Well, unfortunately we WILL have our heart stepped on. Recent happenings have had me facing that to a degree and it hurt bad! But look at Jesus' life. Talk about facing the ultimate rejection. And to become more like him, we must face that too. It's just reality.
(wow, I think I just answered a question of my own? :) )

To add to that here's some specific things that I've run into as I've been pursuing more of authentic approach with people:
  • Not everyone is gonna be honest with you.
  • Not everyone wants what you have to give.
  • Not everyone is yet capable of receiving Christ's unconditional love.
  • Not everyone wants to know every last detail of your life or even to get to know you better even if you want to with them.
  • Not everyone is willing to take risks and step away from status quo to be transformed into something better that God has for them.
  • And last but not least (this one has been the hardest for me personally), not many trust your heart toward them.
This is called living in a fallen world with broken people. Hurt people hurt people. That's just all there is to it. And I know I've hurt people as much as anyone else over the years and probably sometimes I didn't even know it. But God made us for relationships. Many of just don't know how to do it right because we lost our truster along the way. And that can wreak havoc on any relationship, especially with God. Jesus was in contact daily with these people that I described. He knew what to expect of them because they were human, yet also loved them all the way to the Cross...and still does for eternity.

So as I look back and reflect on Christ's example, all I know to do is keep my eyes on Him, the One who wants the ultimate real relationship with all of us...and knows how to make that happen. He wants our whole heart. And that's a huge and hard thing for us to give away to him or others that we cross paths with. But that's when relationship really gets REAL! It can get ugly at times but I have to believe it's worth it. We see through the masks, the walls of our hearts and others' hearts, and can become authentic in our relationships...and experience something you can't put a price on. That's what my heart desires...and that's what God's heart desires with us. So if you haven't already, are you willing to get REAL?

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