Sunday, June 16, 2013

day 16: relationships, the right & the wrong.

With this 2nd post of the day, we are officially back on track :) Father's Day was wonderful, and reminded me that I am blessed with an incredible father who seeks the Lord, demonstrates his love for his children daily through the love of their mother as well as them, and is a wonderful steward of what God has set before him. Daddy, you are such a gift :)

Yup. Daddy taught me how to shoot a gun. 

Alright. The word of the night is ........ 

I'll get the awkward out of the way RIGHT NOW and openly admit, I've never been in an actual relationship. I've never had a boyfriend or been seriously committed to anyone other than my family & best friends. So any advice or ideas I have are coming through THAT filter :P But that being said, I have watched my friends do relationships for years, watched breakups & marriages, and seen the good & the bad. So here are just some observations I have that apply to all kinds of relationships....boyfriend, girlfriend, family or friend :) 

#1: Any kind of successful relationship must have Christ at the center. 

A wise and respected Jules once told me that a mark of a good relationship is that the couple love those around them better, because of the relationship that grows between them. While she meant this in the context of a boyfriend, I've found it to be true almost everywhere. Everyone knows what it feels like to be the awkward third wheel, or just outside the loop of an inside joke. When I say "that awkward pair no one is comfortable around", everyone has a pair of people that come to mind. A Christ- centered relationship reflects the powerful love of the Gospel...and that never stops at 2 people. It spreads. So if you think you might BE that awkward pair of people [which I have been's okay]...just think about it :) 

#2: Any REAL kind of relationship requires vulnerability. 

We all have secrets, and we've all been hurt, and a lot of the time we keep that hurt as a secret because we're terrified it's going to happen again. Hearts get stepped on, walls go up, and people are kept at an arm's length distance. But no matter how good you think you are at playing the game & faking the smiles, I've got a secret. People can tell :) Though they might not be able to put their finger on it, they know something's just not right. Vulnerability is hard and it makes you feel blech and it is one of my LEAST favorite things in the world, but an open heart is one that grows within the community Christ has placed it in. Let people in. And sometimes, you might find that the people you choose to trust have the ability to speak Gospel truth right into the middle of your broken & searching heart. 

#3: Love like Christ loves....not like the world teaches.

This means hanging in there when the going gets tough. It means embracing forgiveness instead of resentment, and sacrifice instead of entitlement. It means learning to voice your frustration & emotions, and accepting the fact that she's not always going to say the right thing, have the perfect answer, or be able to read your mind. It means addressing conflict & being willing to admit that even though he made a mistake, you might possibly have been in the middle of making one as well. It's realizing that no matter how much they frustrate, annoy, anger, or hurt you, Christ's love covers your sins & it covers theirs too. It's realizing that walking out is sometimes the right thing to do & incredibly hard....and sometimes it's just the easy way out. 

It's realizing the person sitting across the table from you is created in the image of a perfect God, and He thought they were worth dying for. So value them like it. 

#4: Invest. And be patient. 

The person across the room from you is complicated. They have a past & stories to tell, all of which shaped them into the person that they are today. So take the time to get to know them....and be patient! Real, authentic, solid relationships take time. When you're building a house you take the time to make sure the foundation is firm and's what the stability of the entire building depends on. Relationships are the same way. Make sure that your foundation has time to form before you try to build on it. 

#5. Have fun! 

I know this sounds so simple, but friendship doesn't HAVE to be deep all the time :D Talks don't always have to be serious, and time together doesn't always have to mean something. Just enjoy the friendship! Have arguments about silly things. Watch Disney movies. Be silly together. Bonding is important....but sometimes simple memories are just as important :) Everyone has nights where they know they died laughing and couldn't stop...they just couldn't remember why. cling to those. They matter :) So ask silly questions to match the important ones....and have fun nights to match the emotional ones. 

The End! I could go on, but I won't :) I hope this made sense at least.....Relationships are important. They reflect the glory of a relational God....and we need them. This has been true in my life and the lives of my friends, and it has been an experience that I continue to realize has grown me more and more :) 

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