Tuesday, 6 May 2014
All healthy relationships also have some kind of agreement of what is acceptable and what's not. For example, some men might not want their wives to work late hours at work and prefer a wife that is home in the evenings. Other men might have no problem with their wives working long hours. Others might prefer a spouse who drinks no alcohol during the week, where another doesn't mind. This can be applicable to anything from playing video games to socialising. Different relationships, different 'rules'. At the end you choose which relationship you want and what your preferences are according to the life that you want to live and what's important to you.
As you grow in your relationship with God, you will see what the 'rules' in your relationship are. God might ask me not to drink alcohol for example, because I don't know when to stop and it hurts our relationship, because I feel ashamed the next day. He might never speak to you about alcohol, because He doesn't mind that you have a few drinks and it doesn't hurt your relationship. Whatever He asks you to do, you can know for sure that it is the best for your relationship and that it will always benefit and protect you.
The most important thing is that we know that it is personal. It is my relationship and your relationship. I can't tell people not to drink alcohol, because God asked ME not to do it. They should do what God tells THEM to do. If I force people to do what God has told me to do, then I just burden people with a bunch of rules and they will end up feeling condemned. Too many people follow other people's 'rules' for their relationship with God and end up feeling unhappy and burdened. They have no grace to live according to those 'rules' and they thus bring no life to them. Your relationship with God will bring life and joy to you and you need to grow in that relationship on your own. It's between you and Him and it's special and wonderful. Don't let other people tell you what your relationship with God should be like, only that a relationship with God will always include a foundation of love, peace and joy. Spend time with Him, grow with Him, enjoy His freedom and discover the greatest friend you'll ever know.
Photo credit: stockarch
Thursday, 1 May 2014
Selfishness comes in when we put ourselves first at the expense of others. When we become self consumed and blinded to the needs of others. Selfishness is so sneaky, it creeps in so slowly and then before you know, it's all about me and in that moment you see yourself as the victim. If you recognize this behaviour, then a red light should be flashing.
As soon as you start seeing yourself as the victim, everyone else's actions will be amplified and any negative reaction from someone might be experienced as an attack. When selfishness increases, your grace for others start decreasing and soon patience and kindness go out the window. In short, selfishness does not make us more satisfied, it actually makes us unhappier, because it creates an insatiable desire which nothing and no one can still.
So how do we manage the fine line between selfishness and putting ourselves first? Let's ask God to help us define our boundaries clearly and prompt us when we overstep boundaries onto other peoples’ lives in selfishness. Imagine your life as a field, if you keep living on other peoples’ fields then you are stealing from them and being selfish, but if you keep letting others steal from you by allowing them to pitch their tents (needs, desires, opinions) on your field, then you are not looking after yourself enough and you might be burdened and too thinly spread. Ensure that you live comfortably on your field, allowing time for God, loved ones and lots of time to give, love and be loved.
Picture credit: betterbasketballtribe.com