In her books, Madeleine L’Engle often speaks of that which we cannot see with the naked eye. Things that are amazing to behold and stunning in their purpose and presence. We take them for granted and forget how they impact our lives.
When speaking of faith, someone once said that they do not understand or ‘see’ gravity, but they sure know it exists when they fall and hit the ground. I think that in relationships, we do not take sacrifice seriously because we don’t see it. We are doubting Thomas in our daily lives with our mates, children, parents, and even neighbors.
In sociology courses, students learn about the ideas of me-centered society and other-centered society. One places the emphasis on the individual, the other on the individual’s constant and relevant part of the greater whole. For those who are not sure, the United States and most western culture is me-centered.
I hear people leave a job because they deserve better (really? Because there are a lot of people out there who do not even have a job, let alone one that meets their desire to be treated well). I hear of marriages ending because “I deserve to be happy, don’t I?” or “I deserve a better mate.” Really? Don’t they deserve a mate who will stand by them no matter what? Funny how that works, I want that for me, I expect MY mate to stay by me as long as I want them and need them, but if they are not fulfilling my needs I “get” to be selfish? We don’t see in that moment that we are the less than ideal mate, not them.
In a story I read this week, a woman said to a man, “I deserve more than just one step, I deserve someone who will meet me half way.” I get the idea here, she had been in abusive relationships up to that point. But the fact is, relationships are never 50-50. They are always about one person giving more than the other at any given time. When my hubby is rubbing my feet, there is no 50-50 about it- it is 100-0. He is giving and I am simply laying there like a fatted calf… him 100, me ZERO. When I am making dinner and he is chilling out by skimming the pool (something he will fight you over to get to do) it is also not 50-50. It is more like 75-25. He is doing something that needs to be done, but not really, that is why we have a pool guy. I am doing something that MUST be done or we will lose our generous proportions. See? not 50-50.
As Matthew points out, “whoever does not take up the cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” I am going to get really real here folks. Be ready to not like this… so here goes:
If you think that you are going to grow as a Christian and become more Christ-like without giving more than a little- or less than 100%, then you are wrong. This is not about salvation, this is about those of us who say we are Christian’s and then don’t live it. You are NOT bearing fruit. You are NOT growing. You are sitting by the side of the road whining about the splinters of the cross and that they are going to get infected. Get up. Shut up. Pick UP the cross and walk. It is not easy. It is not fun. It is not all happy, skippy, joy, joy. It is about sacrifice. It is about honoring the relationship. And when you think you are the only one sacrificing in it- just remember, you didn’t get scourged or die a horrific death on a cross for something you did not do. His sacrifice is invisible today- but that does not mean it was not 100% or does not exist.
Now, as they say in the Army… kwitcher bi*%^$n, pull up yur big girl panties, suck it up and DRIVE on. I believe in you- you are not alone and you are worth the work. Go give.