In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, time is quickly consumed. Time with God becomes a quick plea here and a quicker thank you there. I’m beginning to understand the concept of praying without ceasing, and it isn’t at all what I expected. Being in God’s presence is the goal of prayer; being present with those I love is the goal of relationship. Words become less important as that presence increases. Being present is something with which I’ve struggled my entire life. I’m only beginning to experience the peace that prolonged presence makes when it comes to my relationship with God. I’m also learning that redefining relationships is necessary as I change and grow as God desires.
I’ve always thought of prayer as a time of getting on my knees and asking God for help and thanking Him for all He does for me. When I look at that from a relationship standpoint, I’m appalled. It shows a selfish, one-sided relationship that isn’t at all what God desires. Nothing shows love more than spending time together in honest communion or sweet silence where nothing needs to be said. God desires just that in our time together. Like me with God, there have been those in my path who take and never give. I’ve wasted a lifetime of love trying to make miserable people happy. It isn’t noble at all but selfish on my part as I become a martyr and get everyone’s pity. That’s a hard truth to see and absorb, but it’s one that God has brought home to me of late as I look at and see the need to let Him redefine my relationships.
Real relationships require self-differentiation, and that means I have to become who God created me to be before I can truly connect to others. In order to do that, I must let Him cut away all that isn’t who He created me to be. As a sculptor cuts away marble to bring out the beautiful image inside, so does God cut away at me until the beloved daughter He sees inside comes to the surface. That process is a painful one because unlike marble, I wiggle and resist the sculpting! The stillness of Psalm 46:10 is required for God to do His work, and I’ve found that God will bring stillness when I ask. I am learning to pray differently, and the results are powerful. I’m finding that honestly and fervently praying that His will, not mine be done is causing true change in my heart, soul, spirit, and body. I am beginning to see the results of His chisel, and it is amazing.
The need to please is gone. The need to fix is gone. The need to pretend all is well is gone. In the process, I find that guilt is no longer a source of motivation. I no longer feel the need to be who others expect me to be. I am the beloved daughter of God and love Him as never before. Love is the root of my obedience now, and I can live out that obedience in a way that will bring joy to me, others, and Him. I feel as if I’ve gotten off a treadmill and gotten on to a beautiful path. The journey isn’t a guilt-ridden run to nowhere; it is a walk in His kingdom that forms beautiful relationships based on honesty and love. My relationship with God is first, and it must be the model for all my relationships if the redefining He desires is to take place.
Redefining relationships is not an easy task. Some will go as they are clearly not what God desires and are toxic to me and to others. Some will dissipate because they will not survive the changes in me. Others will flourish and grow as God desires. Those are the ones I plan to nourish. There will be wonderful new relationships along the way, and I look forward to each of them. Redefining relationships requires that I look to God first and let Him redefine me. The rest will fall into place as I love and obey Him:)