Saturday, November 2, 2013

What Makes Relationships Work?

My twin sister Lynette and I "prefer" one another constantly, in Christ.  That's what makes our relationship successful by God's definition.  Even when preferring one another brings momentary anguish, it's been our choice - mutually and individually - to do so before God, and the payoff's been monumental.

We jovially refer to one another as "Chip and Dale" (remember those cute cartoon best buds from Disney?).  Well, although their almost musical camaraderie voiced in comedic expressions like, "after you! no, after you!" is often viewed as whimsical and impossible - it's not for Lynette and I.  Indeed, such spiritual and emotional preference and deference is a major part of why, after 18 years, our friendship in Jesus is stronger and embodies more personal understanding than ever.  It's the Lord's doing.

 "Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another..." (Romans 12:10)

As sisters in Christ, Lynette and I have taken this literal command before the Lord and allowed Him to enact it and appropriate it in our relationship.  As often as possible, we try to see situations from each other's viewpoint, not entering with a mind to either dodge blame or deny the need for personal review, exposure, and change.  We don't fear accountability to God, and we truly try to welcome it.  I say "truly try" because we haven't stopped being human, my friends; sometimes accountability to God is difficult because, once welcomed, it makes one... well, accountable.

In other words, once you know and admit you're messing up, it becomes your decision to repent and change, or not.  That can be difficult - especially when issues of pride and fear and rejection are crowding your emotions.

Over the years, Lynette and I have decided to do what we all must do if we are to please God in relationships -

cry out to Jesus in repentance and humility, no matter what it costs or what it looks like.  Period.

We've allowed our utmost desire to please God to override our desire to "look good" in front of ourselves, others, or each other.  We've vowed to yield to and embrace personal change whenever and wherever the Lord has called for it, and we've trusted in His love to uphold us in relationship and right-standing with Him and each other.  It's worked

Turning your back on pride, fear, and the fallacy that "the other person is always to blame" is all that will ever work.  (There are always two HUGE sides to every coin.)

God has taught Lynette and I to listen to Holy Spirit whenever we talk to one another, even in casual conversation, so that Daddy can lead us into deeper understanding and appreciation of each other as people, and as His daughters, and as friends working shoulder to shoulder in His vineyards.

Yep, we make mistakes at times... but that's when the decision to give place to the humility and love of God-defined relationship shines its brightest, because we BOTH back up the truck (even if we have to cry) and sincerely submit to Daddy's heartbeat of "preferring one another".  We both truly listen to the other - not with judgmental, self-righteous, defensive, or accusatory ears - and then we allow Abba's response to come out of us through the heart and lips of Christ Jesus.  It takes WILLINGNESS, practice, and determination, but God is Faithful.

Eighteen years of friendship growing more and more Christ-embodied, day by day, is irrefutable proof of God's word of promise and blessing blossoming within our relationship when we are willing to renounce "excuse" and "blame-shifting", and humbly own our own stuff.  Beloved - exoneration, restoration, and healthy relationships await us when, in genuine honor, we prefer one another.

Daddy's Girl

"... fervent in spirit, serving the Lord."
(Romans 12:11b)