Monday, July 18, 2011

I'm Dying Here!

My pastor said something recently that stuck. Relationships were not meant to make you happy—they were meant to kill you.

Yeah, caught me too, but he was one hundred percent correct. Let me explain.

We all have relationships in our lives. Spouse, children, parents, friends, whatever the combination. All day long we give to them. And, for the most part, we love it. Sometimes don’t even realize we’re doing it. These relationships bring joy to our lives and we are richer because of them. Until they suck all the joy from us.

Come on. You know what I mean. They tick you off. Fall short of your expectations. Say unkind words. Rob you of your joy rather than giving it. And we’re supposed to still love them? Oh no way! Can anyone relate?

Or how about this one: You start your day fresh. You give to your boss, your hubby, your children…whoever it may be. But all day long no one gives back to you. Your internal score sheet says “ENOUGH! I’ve given all day and got nothing back. What about me?” I mean, it’s not so bad being selfless when someone notices it and pours back into you, right? That’s only fair. The thing is, life’s not fair. Sorry, but it’s not. And praise the Lord for that. I don't know about you, but I don't deserve a bit of the grace He's given. It's not fair, and yet, He gives it to me time and time again.

See, ultimately, life is about giving, not getting. No score sheets involved. It’s about looking outside yourself instead of at your own reflection. That’s exactly what Christ did for us. There is nothing, absolutely nothing we have that He needs. And yet, He loved us enough to die for us. Even though He knew we were still going to mess up. Romans 5:8 says that “God demonstrated His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.” He didn’t exactly wait for us to fill Him up. Didn’t ask us what we could give Him. He died for us...right where we are. How can we do anything less for others?

But He knew it would be hard. We’ve got these sinful bodies that we’re wrapped in and these minds, wills, and emotions that want life to be all about us. So He gave us relationships to keep our focus someplace else. See, I relate to the scenarios I wrote above. I’ve lived them, I’ve felt them. So I know—as just one example—that after pouring myself out and “dying” all day long, when my child comes and asks me for one last thing, I don’t want to give it. And here’s where my real death occurs. Because giving to them in that moment just about kills me…no, it does kill me. It becomes all about them and nothing of me. And sometimes, I refuse to die. I can be incredibly selfish.

What about you? Can you relate to any of this? The solution? We need to draw near to Him. We need to remember that we can do ALL things through Him. Sometimes you may need to look away from the person you’re “dying” for, take a deep breath, and remind yourself that you’re not doing it for them, you’re doing it because it’s what God’s called you to. It’s what He did for us. And it's how we show Him to others.

I challenge you today, die for just one person. When you do, they won't see you anymore, they'll see Christ, and it may just change their life. It will definitely change yours.

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