A Lesson in Blooming

Posted: September 23, 2010 in Uncategorized

Multiple blog topics stormed into my mind while I was contemplating ways to alleviate my boredom at work. I thought about listing the confusing words or phrases that are found to be very common place in Christianity. Phrases like “press into Christ”, “dig into the Word”, “called by Christ” and so on began to pop into my mind as I thought about how we have created our own language and how this language has entered into my vocabulary without me realizing it and how outsiders sometimes have no idea what we are talking about. I also thought about dedicating a lot of time to working through a beautiful conversation I had with a friend of mine about our views on discipleship and how spiritual growth is caused by God working His work in us rather than our forced disciplines being the source of true growth. I realized that this topic however was too expansive for my ability in the field of literary exposition and would raise more questions and concerns then it would create positive insight for the reader.

Therefore, I decided on a topic that has been developing in me, both in thought and character, and will continue to develop as I write this post. My entire thoughts have branched from this tweet that I wrote before the summer started:

“In a dating relationship one finds out how wicked and selfish they really are. It’s such a santifying process.”

While in the great state of Oregon, I began to realize the value of companionship. Even though I was fairly busy hiking mountains, floating freezing rivers, mountain biking, and doing church work, I couldn’t get around the fact that having someone with me, sharing life with me, is becoming more important to me than experiencing the sweetest geographical features alone. I mean, its fun to travel and experience different cultures and settings, but after a few weeks the scenery remains the same and you head back to your house alone. Even though I enjoy being in airports and people watching is always fun, its hard to sit there and watch as you realize that most people are talking to family or friends and you are left looking at the Facebook news feed on your smart phone.

Needless to say, during these moments, my appreciation of intimate relationships increased. I began to long for those moments that are recorded as a video on your iPhone because you know you will want to have evidence of what you’re experiencing. I wanted stories, memories, things you can tell your children, subjects that you can recall as you sit on your front porch with a cold drink in hand while the sun is setting. I wanted to share my life.

I look back on the dating relationships that I have had in the past and I have been realizing a common theme. For each relationship I have noticed the various ways that I wanted this person to satisfy my needs. Whether these needs are emotional, physical, or spiritual, I have always had the mind set that this person is going to make me better-they possess something that I want, and they will fulfill it. Obviously they don’t, so a break-up ensues.

With this in mind it is no wonder that eventually that person looses their draw or attraction. Because your desire for self will never be quenched by a person and when you realize this, you find it easy to distance yourself or find satisfaction outside of him/her. But this is common right? We are humans and human relationships are messy. So how do people make it?

What I wrote above, my appreciation for relationships and companionship, is my attempt to explain how this shift has happened for me. I do not believe that because of my discipline in forcing myself to love people or hanging out with people that I don’t like that has changed anything for me. I believe I was/am in a season in my life that causes you to grow up and actually learn things that you have been instructed all your life. Maybe its God developing you or maybe its just life teaching you maturity. Regardless of where it came from, all I know it that it came. Here is what I learned:

I actually care about people. Now I don’t think I can say that I care about people more than I care about myself. So if I am pressed or frustrated, I am not saying that now I will react beautifully every time. But I have realized that for whatever reason, when I see someone, I have a genuine interest in their wellbeing. I have interest in their goals and actually want them to succeed in life more so then I have ever in my history of relationships.

So this translates perfectly into dating. I’ve found that my views and motivation to have a girlfriend are more like I’ve been told that they need to be or the way the Bible talks about a man of God being. So, instead of viewing her with the mindset of how can she satisfy my needs, or how am I viewed because I am dating her, now I have begun to think of the smallest ways possible to encourage her to grow and “blossom”. My desire is to be a springboard for her instead of her for me. I am not saying that I don’t want to be fulfilled as well or want this mindset to be reciprocated, but that is not my main focus.

All this seems boring a methodical right? But where the gravity of what I am saying is found when one really understands that this mindset of WANTING to be this is drastically different than MAKING myself be this. So I care about people because I WANT to care about them, not because I am unwillingly submitting myself to obey a biblical or relational commandment. And that is something worth writing about. That is worth celebrating. That is a joyfully freeing idea. And its even more mind blowing because its not something that I developed myself into. It has been a gracious gift. Beautiful.

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