Relationships can be tough, can’t they? Often we take for granted those closest to us. Why do we do this? They are always there, they will do anything for us, and we get comfortable and think they will always be there.
The problem with this kind of thinking is that no one owes us anything. It is a choice to wake up each day and love your family or friends. They may not always be there, they could decide not to help us out anymore, and being comfortable tends to lead to laziness.
My point in saying all of this is that your relationships start and end with you as the common denominator. How you treat others is often how you will be treated in return. And if not, it will come around to you someday.
On the flip side, God is always there no matter what. He would do anything for us, and yet He does not owe us either, nor should we get comfortable with our relationship with Him. Just like healthy, happy relationships with human beings, a relationship with God takes effort, work, purpose, and pursuit.
Where should we focus all of our energy then, to build these relationships with God and with each other?
It starts the moment you wake up and set your feet on the ground. What you do next is vitally important to how you can start your day, how you treat others, and what your day will most likely end like.
Do you read the Bible when you wake up? Listen to relaxing or peaceful music? Go outside and sit in the sun, look at God’s beautiful earth, and sip a cup of coffee? Or do you race through your house, shower, eat barely anything, and rush out the door?
Do you see the difference between having a life you love versus a stressed-out life, just by reading the two sentences above? I’m guilty of doing both, so believe me, I am not perfect, nor should you be! But this is a good reminder of how God wants us to live, not how we tend to live each day — with purpose, passion, pursuit, and peace of mind. These are the qualities that can ensue if you take the time each day to make them happen.
The same goes for the significant relationships in your life. Do you pursue your partner or spouse? Do you love them no matter what, always forgiving them (unless there is abuse or other behaviors that need to be addressed)? Do you take time to make them feel special and wanted by you?
This is true for our children as well, is it not? Do you pursue your children with undying love, affection, attention, and passion? Again, there is a healthy balance with this, but hopefully you get my point! The happy, healthy, stable, loving relationships that you value the most should be the ones you spend the most time working on. Not your spouse or your children … you. It starts with you and your efforts.
This is also the case for our relationship with God. Should we go to Him only in hard times? I often hear about this at church, and the older I am getting, the more I realize this to be true: God is there when we are doing well and when we are not doing well.
We need to remember to thank Him, praise Him, and pray to Him every day and night, no matter what is going on with our lives. When things happen out of nowhere, we end up on our knees begging him for help, asking Him to intervene in our lives. But when things are amazing, how do we treat our relationship with Him? Do we remember him in our thanks for the good things that happen to us? Do we pray every day, regardless of what we think He should or should not be doing for us?
Regardless of what people think, whether you love Jesus or not, He loves you just the same. Yes, you. He is pursuing you and as you are reading this, there is a reason for it. It is not a coincidence that you stumbled upon this article. I love to write and I love to help people, but I don’t do this alone, nor do I pretend to do anything alone. God is with me as I write this article, using my thoughts and mind to write out His words to reach you. He is purposeful, He is all-loving, He knows everything about you and loves you anyway, scars and all.
Do you live far away from God, hoping He doesn’t see you behind closed doors? Let me burst your bubble for just a minute, in a good way. He sees you everywhere. There is nowhere you can go to hide from Him. He wants to see you thrive, He wants you to have amazing relationships in your life, and He wants you to live the life you love and build the relationships you desire!
Why does He care about this, you might wonder? Because you are fearfully and wonderfully made by Him. He knows every intricate detail about you. If you don’t believe anything that I have written so far, read the following Scripture verses:
However, as it is written: ‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ the things God has prepared for those who love him. – 1 Corinthians 2:9
But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. – Jeremiah 17:7-8
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. – Isaiah 26:3
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not on your own understanding.– Proverbs 3:5
The last two Bible verses I want to share with you are passages I found in my early twenties that got me through some rough times. One is short, the other one is lengthy.
Here is the short verse that I still find hope in to this day, and always will:
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.– Jeremiah 29:11
Here is the lengthy one, but worth the read!
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked. If you say, ‘The Lord is my refuge,’ and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
Because he loves me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation. – Psalm 91:1-16
When I found and read these two passages in my early twenties, I found peace and hope. I knew that if God really felt this way about me, I was going to be okay. And you know what? I still go through good and bad years in my mid-thirties now, but He does love me and I did find peace and hope.
Just because you believe in and follow Jesus does not mean your life will be easy and peaceful, 24/7. In fact, sometimes it is quite the opposite of that. I believe that the devil knows when you are pursuing God, found Him, and love and live in Him. This is when you will be tested, and hard times will come as well. But the good news is you have a faith and a love in someone greater than all of this, that will get you through it to an amazing place of love, light, and joy!
You cannot give up on yourself, on others, or on life, because God does not give up on you. He will pursue you all the days of your life, even when you are ready to give up. And He can bring you back to a place of such unexplainable love and happiness that you would have never found, if you had given up.
Don’t lose this life you love, and if you don’t love it yet, make some changes to begin loving yourself, your life, and those around you. Start with loving and pursuing God, and I promise you, your life will begin to change in amazing ways that you never could have dreamed up! If you need counseling, please contact me at my information below. I would love to help you pursue this beautiful life that God made just for you.
“Say Cheese,” courtesy of Kendra Kamp, unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Peaceful,” courtesy of Quincy Alivio, unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Laughter,” courtesy of Priscilla du Preez, unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Breathe,” courtesy of Matthew Kane, unsplash.com, CC0 License