Relationship Renewals

You know how they say marriage is like a magnifying glass for our selfishness and sin issues? Well, step aside holy matrimony, quarantine may have just taken your place.
 
Many of us have never experienced isolation at this level. Many of us have never experienced intimacy with our own thoughts at this level. Stillness and silence, things we may have craved for a long time, suddenly came crashing in and the aftermath is messy.
 
And of course, we are picking up the pieces. We are evaluating every shard.

Our hearts have been laid bare in the strangest of ways. Our time, attention, work, and play are constantly in question.
 
In all the things that are being challenged right now, relationships may be at the top of the list. Whether we are starved for connection or struggling to initiate a FaceTime call, our crutches and comforts from past communities have been taken away – and it’s only natural that we are a bit tripped up.

But God does not leave us without good footing. Here are a few of the soft places I have landed over the past several weeks when it comes to relationships.
 
Keep Your Heart Tender

"If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." - Romans 12:18

Now is the time to believe the best about one another. We get to lay aside hurts and hang-ups for fellowship and peace. We need each other; it's a humbling and sweet reality. Of course, a soft heart begins with self-compassion. Realize the unending stream of grace for you that comes from Jesus and bring others into the flow.
 
Love Never Stops Loving

"Love is a safe place of shelter, for it never stops believing the best for others. Love never takes failure as defeat, for it never gives up. Love never stops loving." - 1 Corinthians 13: 7-8 (The Passion Translation)
 
This foothold feels narrow at times, because inevitably, we will start to burn out. We will start to lose our grip.

Our efforts to keep the peace and serve and love and put others first never seem to be enough. And that’s because, in the most freeing way, our efforts to do all of these things are truly never enough. Thankfully we serve a living God who is Love Himself. When I am overwhelmed by what others demand of me, I rest in the fact that my love for people will be sustained by Him because God’s love for people will not run out, and He is my source.
 
His love makes me thing of these song lyrics,

Your love will not run empty. Your love’s a well that will never run dry  ("I Am Loved", Maverick City Music)
And that well is in you. It’s not up to us to drum up streams of divine love for others. It’s up to us to jump in.

Change the Script
 
Perspective is important. One of my most desperate prayers is, “God, give me your perspective.” Tim Keller’s advice: talk to yourself; don’t listen to yourself. When my thoughts start to race with judgment and confusion, Jesus often leads me to pray the Psalms.

Psalm 73 is one of my favorites because it matches the *drama* of my inner monologue, especially now.
 
He begins with a familiar reality:

“But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold…” (v. 2)
 
And after several verses of acknowledging pain, grief, and injustice, you can feel his head lift as he speaks over himself,

“Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.”
(v. 23-26)
 
Our reality: All things that are being challenged are being redeemed. Because the redeemer holds our hand. Renewal is on the move in our homes and, most importantly, in our hearts. God is constantly doing 10,000 things in our lives and the lives of those around us, with us, and despite us.

So as we continue picking up the pieces together, let’s use the tools Jesus hands us, and rebuild with His reality in mind.

Author | Claire Jordan  

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