With the help of my current devotion Building Better Relationships, I have realized it is a consistent process. I knew eight lessons would not have instant success in creating and maintaining relationship, but hoped it would make the process easier. I have been encouraged to keep fighting and as Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I used the adjective fighting in there because it’s true. It is so easy to sit back, relax, and let the relationships in my life just fade away but that is not what I’ve been called to do.
I have been told “I’m too nice” and never really knew how to react to such a statement. I used to shrug it off, think it was a bad thing, and then worry about trying to toughen up a bit. Now, I have peace knowing “I’m too nice” because the world is not used to seeing someone who genuinely cares about them the way I try to do. My faith in God makes me feel all warm with an inner joy I cannot help but share with everyone I meet. If that makes me too nice, then I’m only trying to live the way Jesus did when he walked the earth. Am I close to his image? Far from it, but I’m trying…
With that said, I am going to summarize what I’ve learned from the past two lessons of the devotional. Encouraging one another is something as a Christ follower must do. Everyone thrives on recognition and praise in some shape or form. I do not intend to just throw out encouragement because I tend to connect what I feel to what I say. In turn, I should not encourage in hopes I would get it back. << This has been the hardest lesson I have learned. It’s been easy for me to encourage others, but hard to accept I may not get it back. God has reassured me, “No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Joshua 1:5)
By taking this road in life, I know it’s not all about me anymore. My self-importance isn’t greater than another. My self-occupation is not important as someone who needs me. My self-affection needs to be lower than someone else. My self-protection needs to be open to hearing what others think and feel. My self-inspection should not be controlled by my emotions but my obedience in what is right. My self-sufficiency is to be pushed aside when I have help come by way. By giving it all to God, I have room for others in my life than just “me, myself, and I.” This opens doors for connections in others and a chance for me to honor them. Everyone craves a sense of self-worth and acceptance. This is easier to give people by honoring them in a Godly way. I have learned to balance conversations where it’s equally what is on someone’s mind and then what is on my heart. It’s not as easy as just listening until it is my turn to speak, but to be really interested in someone to create that open atmosphere of honor and care.
I don’t blame my birth order by being the youngest of three on being selfish, but for as long as I can remember I wanted attention or praise. Throughout life, I have done things that would bring achievement in my life. It’s not a certificate or a passing grade, it is more than that. Once I realized there’s nothing I can or cannot do to lose God’s love for me, I felt different. I looked at my parents and realized they did the best they could raising three kids and knew the hole in my heart for satisfaction had to come from something bigger and greater than you or I. Now, I am made whole by a love that consumes my heart and outflows into how I see the world.