With my 24th birthday just around the corner, I woke up this morning with one word playing over and over in my brain: crisis. It was the answer to weeks of prayer – God what is going on in my life? And today at 8:07am I got the answer.
No, not a financial crisis or a medical crisis (that I know of), but yes a full-on crisis. While on my morning run I decided I was clearly just being over-dramatic, “you’re not having a crisis. It was a dream, not God. Drink your OJ. Take a shower. Stop being a woman” (sorry women!). So I looked up the definition:
Crisis (noun) – a stage in a sequence of events at which the trend of all future events, especially for better or worse, is determined; turning point.
Fine God, another point for you. You’re right. My life is at a turning point. You’re trying to get my attention and teach me something. So, here I am. And when I finally sat down and listened what did I discover?
I have completely lost the ability and the desire to be fake. I have lost the ability to sit at a restaurant with a group of “friends” who only talk crap about each other as soon as they leave. I have lost the ability to let people make jokes about who I am and what I stand for and let it be okay. I have lost the ability to smile and pretend everything’s okay when it is not. I’ve lost the ability to be used and walked over. I’ve lost the ability to just go with what everyone expects of me. And as a result, a crazy amount of relationships in my life are in crisis.
Just so you know, in this post I am in no way eluding to one person or one specific instance, because these themes are showing up everywhere, over and over.
What do you do in a crisis? Open your bible. And here’s what I found about friendship and relationships:
Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Matthew 18:15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother.
Proverbs 22:24-25 “Make no friendship with a man given to anger, nor go with a wrathful man, lest you learn his ways and entangle yourself in a snare.”
1 Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be deceived: Bad company ruins good morals.”
John 15:12-15 “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
Proverbs 27:19 “A mirror reflects a man’s face, but what he is really like is shown by the kind of friends he chooses.”
And those are just the tip of the iceberg. Friendship is important to God, it is one of the best ways we can show (and receive) his love. I am blessed with a lot of really great friendships even though I make so many mistakes. To name a few: I hate apologizing. I don’t always say what I feel (it usually takes me a while to articulate). I don’t always stand up to people when they have wronged me and caused pain. I forget birthdays. I don’t always make time the way I should. Despite my failures I try with all my might to be a good friend.
That being said, these relationships are definitely in crisis. Why? I believe God is teaching me this: there is a fine line between showing God’s love and being taken advantage of. God calls us to turn the other cheek, but not to be used. We are only human, we can only take so much before we break down and start believing what people tells us, before we start to conform and accept one night stands as the norm. Or that saving yourself for marriage means you’re gay or strange. Or that getting wasted and self-indulgence are more important than helping people. Or that anything this world has to offer is more important than what God has to offer.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from a life-changing book:
“I believe God wants us to love others so much that we go to extremes to help them.” ― Francis Chan, Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
God wants us to recklessly love every way that we can. But we cannot do it all on our own and it cannot come at the expense of our self-worth. The hardest part of this whole thing for me is to accept the things we cannot change. Without living a selfish life, we have to put our spiritual well-being first so that we can live and demonstrate His worth.
So today I am thankful for my crisis. I am thankful for a God who loves me enough to correct my thinking and show me the ways in which I can best serve Him while I’m here.
It’s a long walk through this world, but keep walking tall, you’re one day closer to being home.