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It's not you, it's me!

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Every relationship is an investment.  If we want to have a friend, we must be a friend.  If we want to have a strong partnership, we must be a good partner.  If we want to our children to love us, we must love them.  If we want our marriage to be healthy, we must be healthy.   Our normal tendency is to look at (and to) the other person and to wonder (even dream) about what he/she could do to make the relationship stronger.  But as we've been reminded by so many...when we point 1 finger we have at least 3 pointing back at ourselves (I can never get my thumb to cooperate so there are 4).  

What makes the investment into any relationship so costly is that it requires vulnerability...taking the risk to let someone else see us at a deeper level than just on the surface.  If either person is not willing to be vulnerable, the relationship will remain surface and stagnant...which can eventually lead to bitterness, dysfunction and destruction...messy.  Fear, disappointment, unmet expectations, and even impatience are all contributing factors that can keep us from being vulnerable and often can destroy intimacy (not just in the bedroom but also in the boardroom, around the water cooler, at the playground, across the street or table).  Intimacy is not a sexual act but the allowance of one to be known and to know...closeness.

I've always admired Paul as an example of life and ministry.  His words to the Thessalonians have always been a focus for me in ministry.  It speaks of the type of vulnerability Paul expressed so that the Gospel would have skin on it.  He says: "Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well" (1 Thessalonians 2:8)

My relationships could use an increased dose of closeness...which will require me to be more vulnerable: to let others see my true feelings, my hopes and fears, my dreams and my disappointments, my ups and my downs.  And my relationships could benefit from me knowing the same from my spouse, children, co-workers, neighbors, and friends.  It's time to destroy the "killers of intimacy" in my relationships.

Jesus didn't let the expanse between Heaven and Earth keep us from seeing His true identity. 
"The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, generous inside and out, true from start to finish." (John 1:14)  
I'm ready to push through the obstacles that have prevented me from knowing and being known.  I hope you are ready to do the same.  For ultimately, it's not "them" but "us"!

Posted by Phil Heller with
Tags: intimacy

Don't Miss Out

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Whether we like it or not, it seems that comparison is something we all deal with. When we are young the comparisons vary from who is faster, taller or stronger to who has the biggest or best toy. Parents can even inadvertently fuel this by comparing siblings. The almost cliched, "Why can't you be more like your brother/sister?' has damaged countless relationships. It stays with us into adulthood, comparing houses and vehicles, as well as success in the business world. In the greater scheme of things comparison really begins to breed contempt for others or pride in ourselves. Within the family setting it kills intimacy and often brings nothing but hurt feelings. 

In the parable of the prodigal son we see comparison rear its ugly head. At the return of the wayward brother the older brother is not having it. He compares how he has lived his life to how his brother has. Pride takes hold. "But he answered his father, " Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat , that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!" John 15:29-30. By comparing his actions with those of his brother the older sibling missed the point that he always had the father and what was his. This is how comparison works. We miss out on the beauty and depth of our relationships when we are constantly comparing ourselves to others. 

It can be easy to compare ourselves to others in relationships with God and friends and family. There will always be someone who seems better at this or that, but we must always be aware that God has created us wonderfully. Each one of us is unique in any number of ways. By comparing we rob ourselves and others of that uniqueness. My prayer is that we can cut comparison out of our lives and begin to reflect the image God has given us back to him in love. 

It's time for me to personally stop reverting to comparing others within my family and focus on the special unique people that they truly are. It's time to stop comparing my own walk with Christ to others and realize that God has planned each step amazingly. We have Him and that is more than enough. We always have him, and like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal son, sometimes we need to be reminded of that. Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Chris Taylor with

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