John and I have embarked on the biggest project of our married life. And, we need professionals to help us achieve our goals. To find the right people to help us, we went to a trusted friend, someone who has more knowledge in the field than we could ever have. And, we asked one question, “Who would you trust to do this job?” We knew that the best choice would be someone who lives a life of integrity, who is trustworthy. Knowing that the person we selected would be working to achieve the very best for us was much more important to us than was their experience or their education. We knew that for us to do this project well, we needed to establish a relationship of trust with those who would help us.
Relationship are not built on commerce; a relationship is not like the business transaction model of “if you do this, I will do that.” When two people do “business” together, with a goal to get the right price and quality of product, rules and schedules are set and inspections are conducted. When we have a relationship our focus is not on schedules, return on investment or related inspections.
Oh, it is true that from the outside a relationship can sometimes look a little like a business arrangement. One makes the dinner and the other clears the table. One mows the lawn and the other brings to them a cold glass of lemonade. But, relationships go so far beyond the “this for that” mentality. For example, the loving parents of a newborn will do everything for that child, knowing that what that the love they receive in return cannot be measured. A caring friend will comfort and care for you without even thinking the cost of their service.
Relationships are not all the same.
Our relationships with those who are helping us with our project are fine, but they do not involve every aspect of our lives. We will trust our new friends with completing the task, but we won’t give our computer passwords to them.
My relationship with family is deeper and my relationship with John even deeper.
But, even John does not know my every thought or step even though he knows more about me than anyone else. And, I trust him completely. When I awkwardly explain something that is troubling me, he waits me out. He does not just listen to my words, but considers my stammering in context of my heart, my intentions and our love. We do not speak to each other as if we were on a witness stand in a courtroom, fearful that each word will be dissected and reviewed. When one of us forgets something, we do not think immediately that the other is hiding bad news or is developing a secret plan. We trust each other.
And, as deep as my relationship is with John, my relationship with God is even deeper. The God who I know and love offers me a relationship with Him. Have no doubt that He is in charge, but my God does not joyfully “smite” me for making a mistake. He does not expect me to be perfect at tasks that I am just now learning. He does not keep a secret list of expectations that I do not know and cannot achieve. Our relationship is based on love.
Are you troubled with a relationship in your life? Are you approaching it as a business transaction (“if you do this, I will do that”) or as a partnership of love? How about your relationship with God? Are you stuck in a “I will never measure up” mentality? Why not start fresh?
Just remember that relationships with friends, family and even God require us to trust and to open our hearts. Trust me – you can do this!
“Come near to God and He will come near to you.” (James 4:8a)