Real and True Relationship

Your presence, O Lord, I seek!      Psalm 27:8

IMG_0508Jocelyn and I took a parent-child cooking class together a couple weeks ago. Now that I’m back to work and have less time to be with her, I was so excited about the quality one-on-one time we were going to have.

We did have a wonderful time, but it wasn’t the magical mother-daughter experience I’d hoped it would be. She got distracted by the other little girls, and was more focused on how they were rolling out their pasta dough, than on her and me bonding. For my part, I was too focused on capturing it all in photos so we’d remember the night forever. I wasn’t as present as I’d hoped to be.

It was just another reminder of the trap of expectations, and recognizing what real relationship is all about.

Real relationship is about spending time together in whatever form that takes. Putting expectations on that time makes it conditional: I’ll only view this as worth it if it achieves X, Y, Z. That’s a recipe for disappointment, selfishness, and a surface relationship.

True and deep relationships accept and welcome whatever transpires, no strings attached. If one of us is cranky or hurting, the other extends grace. If one of us is riding a wave of victory, the other celebrates. If both of us show up with nothing to give, consider it the time required to knead the dough of the relationship so it can rise.

The same should be said about the time we spend with God. Too often we’re looking for a mountain-top experience with Him, and call it a waste of time when our soul isn’t lifted to new heights. When we’re silent before Him and don’t hear Him speak, we think we’re not good at this prayer thing, or He just isn’t there.

He knows that a real relationship is built over the long haul. So He does show up, every single time, no strings attached. And unlike us, when the end result doesn’t produce fruit, He knows the seeds have been planted, and He’s excited to watch them grow.

Questions for Reflection:

     * Do I put expectations on the time I spend with people?

     * Do I put expectations on the time I spend with God?

6 thoughts on “Real and True Relationship

  1. Oh, such an important reminder! I have come a long way with lowering my expectations but sometimes they still get in the way of me being present and in the moment. That darn camera, also gets in the way but I love having photos and reminders of those precious moments. It is hard to find the balance. And yes, I often feel my time with God needs to be in my favorite chair, perfectly quiet, with a present mind and open heart. This rarely all comes together!! When I lower these expectations, it is so much easier to find Him. Thank you for this post!

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    • I hear you, Jess! Having such a terrible memory, I rely on my photos to bring back those precious moments. But finding that fine line is my forever challenge. And not giving in to expectations is an even bigger challenge! Thanks for sharing where you’re at with it all. 🙂

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  2. My Achilles heel is expectations on my moments with others, especially my parents and brothers/families. When I go in just enjoying time spent and doing what I’d normally do with immediate family, it is so much better!! I purposely do not post on FB so I don’t get caught in the trap of keeping up. Keep these reminders coming Claire….

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    • Although I wish you didn’t struggle with expectations, Liz, it’s nice to know I’m not alone. I think the more we can lower them, or remove them altogether, the more we realize the gifts that come from doing so. Hopefully that will be the carrot that keeps us working on this!

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  3. It’s been a few years since I heard that one of the secrets of contentment is to have no expectations. It didn’t sit well with me for the longest time. But now that I’ve been mulling that over (and trying to live my relationships with more intentionality), it’s so true! Thanks for reminding me of that once again!

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  4. I love your comment, Jill, about living with intentionality! I think if I can keep that foremost in my mind, I’ll be more focused on doing that, than on having any expectations at all! Thank you for that gem! And thanks for reading and commenting!

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