Saturday, February 28, 2009

Character + Commonality +Characteristics + Frequency + Details + Honesty + Commitment = Quality of a Relationship

What a ponderous title!
Let me simplify it before you stop reading...!

I love Facebook. All of it. The pokes and gifts and flair and ridiculous applications, yep, I'm one of the ones who enjoys it more than is annoyed. But by far my favorite part is finding and being found by people.

This week I chatted with a neighbor I used to babysit for when I was a kid, had a conversation with a manager from a college job, reconnected with two women from a Bible study group I haven't attended in years, chatted with a colleague, and found a roommate from my freshman year of college. And that's all just Facebook! That's not even email and phone calls and visits in person!

We all have this wide range of relationships from past to present, acquaintances to BFF's. And in my opinion much of it is determined by these characteristics of character and commonality and...(you know, you read the title)

There is no doubt that there are some friendships that are timeless, "kindred spirits" as Anne of Green Gables would say. These are the friendships that when you are reunited no matter how long it's been that you're right back to a level of trust and sharing that you had the last time you were together. My college roommate is such a relationship. When I received an email from her it was like 25 years had vanished and I was able to "go home again". However, it was funny that one of the first questions was "Where do you live?" Right now we're filling each other in on our lives in big broad strokes - I have two kids, I'm living here, I'm doing this ...big generalities, basic life info., the same kinds of conversation you might have with someone you'd just met; but soon we will be, as you do with close friends, filling in the finer lines that compose the portrait of who you are

I have been richly blessed by a group of three friends. Incredibly all of us have great friendships with each other individually and then whenever we all get to be together... it's indescribable, like our own little support group or cheer leading section or sisters, people finishing each other's stories, or adding their perspective to the same event, making plans or offering advice. We're lucky to get together every couple of weeks and it's never long enough because there is always so much that we didn't have time to share, things we've yet to catch up with, more details to offer. We have all the characteristics of quality relationships except the frequency!

When you have a friend you're keeping up with, your conversations are different. They are specific asking how was the "xyz" you were doing yesterday as opposed to "how was your week or the past month?"
Fine lines instead of broad strokes.
Details instead of generalities.
Depth as opposed to surface.
The more often I am able to share with someone, the closer I'm going to be to them.

I find the same true with God.
When it's been a while since we've spent time together my conversation is more general. More, "Hi, It's Becky, remember me? This is what's been happening lately that I'm concerned about and need your help with or this is the list of things I need to confess." And when I've gone several days without talking to Him, sadly I find it easier to go a few more...

We experience this often at church when there is time for silent prayer and a person bows their head realizing this is the first conversation they'll be having with the Almighty since this same time a week ago, or since they had communion a month ago...
Is it any wonder we feel awkward in prayer?
That we experience that same uncomfortableness as being in a room full of strangers and not even knowing where to begin?

I wouldn't tell a stranger what's on my heart, just like I won't tell it to God if I'm with Him so infrequently. And if I cannot tell Him what troubles me how can I know His "peace that is beyond all understanding"? (Philippians 4) If I haven't developed a relationship with Him how can I trust that He is control and will do what is best for my life?

Perhaps this is part of the injunction in Thessalonians to "pray continually or without ceasing" not because God won't know things if we don't but so that we are most intimately connected with the One who promises to love us unconditionally and be with us always.

He is perfect in character
He is as concerned about my life as I am
I've been made in His image
His Word is absolute truth
He sent his only Son to die for my sin because He wanted to have a relationship with me, talk about commitment...

He simply asks that I come to Him honestly and talk to Him (Psalms 27:8, Hebrews 13:5)
This part of the quality of my relationship with Him is completely up to me.

It has been said that you are as close to God as you want to be...
Hmm, is this the level of relationship I wish to have with Him...?

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