Responsibilities. We can’t run from them. We can’t give them to someone else. We may be able to postpone them or rearrange them at times, but they are ours to take care of. I remember conversing with a couple of friends of mine a few years back. I don’t remember what sparked the conversation, but what I do remember is a statement that was said. This statement has stuck with me and has made such a huge impact on my perspective and how I care and tend my relationships. We were talking about taking care of children when this statement was said, but it can apply to us in our every day lives so I took the liberty to generalize it.
“Sometimes we get caught up in the act caring for people that we don’t see if we are or are not caring for them.” Now this is profound to me. When I think of childcare as an example, I picture a daycare worker, a teacher, a mother or father, and I try to picture what this might look like. It may look like the mother or father who works to provide food, clothing, and a warm place to sleep at night, but focuses too much on providing and forgets to spend time with their child. Or the teacher who wants to provide many opportunities for her students to learn and forgets to walk them through the learning process.
It’s Time To Re-evaluate Myself
How does this apply in my life? Am I the wife who helps pay the bills, stays home to take care of her children, while tending to the affairs of the house and forgets to cultivate her relationship with her husband because she is too preoccupied with other things? Am I the friend who says I am available if someone wants to chat about something they are going through and then spend more time talking and not enough time listening or being interested in that person?
Can I ask you this question too? If you find that this also happens to you, how and where have you seen it in your life? Every one of us live different lives so I cannot pretend to know if this applies and when, but I can ask if it does and where. Could it have been an instance from a few years ago or as recent as five minutes ago? If this is the case, know that I believe your heart never meant to be unkind or forgetful.
I know I have the best intentions in these respects too, and yet, I see that I lose focus too often. I need to take things step by step and learn how to be present for people. I need to remember that I live in a world full of people with different needs and desires, with different personalities. My perspective and thoughts are not enough. I need to be a student of people and humbly learn how to care for them in the most appropriate way.
I need to Prioritize
Honestly, life gets crazy and hectic. There are slow times and there are fast times. Days come and go, but people, the ones meant to stay in our lives, they are important. Husbands and wives, our children, our fathers and mothers, our friends. They all matter. And how we tend, care, and nourish these relationships is extremely important. In James 1:19, we find that is says, “This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear and slow to speak and slow to anger.”
Now, I do see that I am doing better and growing in this area. I’m far from perfect. I have a long way to go, but I am hopeful. I am learning that needs, desires, and people are constantly changing. I am constantly changing. I am not the same as I was when I was twenty. You aren’t the same as you were a few years ago. As long as I live, I will try to do my best to be attentive and in the moment. I will listen better than yesterday and be present, more than I was before.
Because I know I will get it wrong still, I can trust that God’s grace is sufficient. He gives compassion and mercy freely. No charge. No condemnation. He is so kind and caring. He is our teacher and provider. He is our Savior and friend. He is our help and walks with us wherever our paths take us. I’m very blessed to have Him guiding, leading, walking beside me every step of the way. He opens my eyes to new ways I can do things and how I can better love others.
I know my relationships have benefited from my relationship with God and it is because of Him that they thrive. What areas are you going to apply this week?