Tag Archives: relationship with God

Bargaining Relationships

Recently, I have become aware of the unhealthy relationship I have with people pleasing and the attempts to live up to the expectations of others.  In this journey, I’ve also realized that one of the motivations for this is the transactional, or bargaining, nature of these kind of relationships.

In short, I’m nice to you which means you will be nice to me.

It’s something that was taught, both implied and outright, in schools and churches when I was a child.  Not just in relationships, but in every aspect of my life.  If I follow the rules, I get good things.  If I study, I will get good grades (meaning perfect A+’s).

It has even seeped into my relationship with God.  If I read my Bible and pray every day, then I will get all the good blessings in life. And if I am struggling, it means that I’m doing something wrong.  But the Bible says something different.

Jesus’s followers in John 9:1 saw a blind man and asked Jesus, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was blind from birth?”  Jesus responded that the purpose of the blindness was to glorify God, then he healed the man, further proving God’s divine power in him. 

Job was a righteous man who followed all of the rules, so much that God even bragged on him.  But he still lost everything, even his health.  His friends accused him of sinning some big sin.  He turned to God for answers, and God basically told him that he wouldn’t understand the entire picture, but that it was much bigger than Job could imagine.  And Job responded with faith.

And while there are instances in the Bible where God punishes someone for their sin (ie, David and Bathsheba losing their son or the Israelites going into exile), the bigger picture doesn’t change.  David even says that though he is separated from his son for now, he will see him again someday.  Because the picture is bigger than he could ever have imagined.

God is operating on a bigger playing field than a series of checks and balances.  Because the reality is that we will never measure up on our own.  That is why Christ came to this earth, to wipe away the debits and credits in our life so that we can really focus on what is the most important thing – our relationship with God.  Trusting him and keeping that faith through our love for others.

And loving others not in a transactional way but loving them because God loves us.  1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.”  Not because they were nice to us, or they think like us, or they act like us, because that’s not the way Jesus loved.  He loved the broken, the angry, the selfish, the sinful, the ones who carry their pain in their hearts and bodies and minds, the ones who pour pain into others.  That is what he calls us to do. 

We love because he first loved us.

John 4:19

I am so grateful for my relationship with God, that it doesn’t depend on my own perfection but is covered in the perfect love of Christ.  May I live out that love more and more in my own life and in the lives of those around me by living beyond the expectations of others to the bigger plan God has for my life.

The Journey of Worth

Having a miscarriage evokes a lot of feelings.  Grief.  Loss.  Pain, both emotional and physical.  Frustration.  Confusion.  There are a lot of lessons I’ve learned as well, and I’m so grateful and encouraged by all the connections I’ve made on this path.

I feel like God prepared me a lot for this season in my life. especially in the past seven years, I have been on a journey of realizing my own worth.  Realizing the truth that seems to get lost somewhere in our living life.

It stems from the statement that I’ve said and others have said to me, “God has a plan for you beyond your imagination.”  It’s a statement of encouragement, a hope that someday, as I’m holding my own child in my arms, I will look back on this time in my life with gratitude, knowing that my faith led me to motherhood.  That I didn’t give up because God had that plan for me.

This statement means something else to me, too.  I believe it’s a challenge for my faith.  God does have an amazing plan for me, but that plan may not include having children of my own, and if that’s the case, would I still follow that plan or would I deny Christ?

Now, I fully intend on continuing to build our family.  I want to have children of my own.  I want to know my daughters or sons on this earth.  I want to encourage them on their own paths to having a relationship with God.  I want to experience the happiness and heartache of motherhood.  Most definitely.

But I also know that my relationship with God is more important than my chance to be a mother, not that the two are isolated from each other.  I can be a mother and have a relationship with God, but if it came down to choosing between the two, then I want to choose Him.  I want to honor God in every stage of my life and every step of my journey, not just when good things happen.  I want to depend on Him when things aren’t going my way and when they are.  I want to find my worth in Him.

All throughout our life, we are measured and compared.  We are judged by how we look, what we accomplish, how we behave, and what we manage to collect (whether material or relationships).  Somehow it is translated that these things used to judge us are the same things that give us worth.  It happens in our communities and even in our church families.  We may put a “godly spin” on it, but it still comes out the same.  We have to earn our worth by being involved, by knowing the right words, by acting the right way.

But we don’t earn our worth.  We don’t add to it or subtract from it.  We are given our worth at the moment our soul is formed.  God gives us that worth, and its value is so great that he sacrificed His only son so that we may have the opportunity to be in a relationship with Him.

That’s why I continue to speak my story, the story that God has placed on my heart.  Once I realized how much I was worth to Him, how much He longs to be in a relationship with me – a careless, prideful, perfectionist sinner, my life changed.  And I knew that I had to tell others.  Others who think that they are worthless or that feel like they don’t fit into the Christian community.  Others who have walked the halls of the church building, barely putting one foot in front of the other from the pain in their lives.  There is a hope in Christ that can heal, that can bring joy to your despair.

I don’t always live with the knowledge of my worth.  I get scared, and I let fear lead me instead of God.  I cling a little too closely (okay, a lot too closely) to the comforts of my boxed-in life, knowing that God never meant for me to live in such isolation.  I don’t always run to God when I’m seeking answers or peace.  I have dark days filled with the grief of loss and the longing for my daughter.  I’m a flawed human being, which makes me that much more in awe of God’s view of my soul and His desire to be in my life.

It’s why I take each day as it comes.  It’s why I have hope for my future.  It’s the same story for you.  We can live without fear but know that God wants to do amazing things with our lives so we can live it in an abundance of joy, strength, and peace.  It doesn’t matter where you come from or what you’ve done.  It doesn’t matter what labels you have received or what choices you have made.  It doesn’t matter your failures or your successes.  God loves you, and He longs to be in a relationship with you, to walk with you in your journey through this life.  And that’s all that truly matters, and to me, it’s definitely worth it.