A few weeks ago, one of my closest friends and I went on a tiny adventure to a church in a neighboring town. It was a night of worship and a message for college aged kids, and the large and lovely church was filled to the brim with twenty-somethings. The summer series had just begun, and it was all about Godly relationships.
The speakers were a married couple, and they spoke about the significance of self-sacrificial relationships. Kemper began with the example of a fuse; the component of a structure that is designed to fail so that the rest of the machine doesn’t. He spoke about how when an overwhelming electrical current hits, the fuse is designed to take that current so that the other parts of the mechanism don’t have to. The fuse gives itself up, by design, for the sake of the machine. He then turned this example to us and spoke about how we need to let go of certain parts of ourselves for the sake of our relationships. Both he and Laura were careful to explain that we need to be attentive to what we are willing to sacrifice. We need to let go of the negatives, not the positives. We need to let go of the things that hinder God’s glory in the relationship, not make decisions just to please the other person. I couldn’t have worded it any more beautifully and cleverly as they did that night. Their words deeply touched my heart. The truth was so refreshing; so soothing. It’s stayed with me, and it’s reached toward other parts of my life, as well. Because I can’t help but think that if we need to let go of negative things like selfishness, fears, and control to have graceful, nurtured, and healthy relationships with others (and we know we do!), don’t we need to do the same for our own well-being, too?
It may seem to be a strange question. How can we be selfless, for the sake of ourselves? But let’s put it another way:
“…Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.” ~Hebrews 12:1
Because when the stress hits, and the choices come, and the days ache, what are we releasing and what are we gripping? Because, my dear friend, if we are clenching our pride and we are releasing our peace, we really must reconsider our choice. What is it that hinders, that so easily entangles us? Are we willing to let go?
Are we willing to let go of the fear of the unknown, so that we can hold on our faith in our unfailing, all-loving Christ?
Are we willing to let go of our prideful desire to do everything ourselves, so that we can accept the grace and hospitality of others?
Are we willing to let go of trying to accomplish tasks we know we are not well enough to, so that we can spare ourselves energy much needed for the things we can do?
Are we willing to let go of the lies that we are incapable, so that we can rejoice over our accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem?
I pray that our view of our relationships and ourselves would be refreshed with the gentle and powerful reminder. We are designed with a vast, intimate potential for intentional, faithful, redeemed relationships and that comes from letting ourselves be freed from all the lies that have stood in the way. This starts in our own hearts. Let us be kinder to ourselves today.
May I ask you this: what are you willing to give up today? And what will you gain when you lose it?
(If you would like to learn more about the message I referenced, please view the “Vintage Ministries” podcast: Love and Nunchuck’s #2 by Kemper and Laura Lewis.)