I hope you all are having a great week so far. I’m glad to be back for this week’s edition of “Take It In.” My title was short and sweet this week. I just want to drive that point home about love. I’ve reflected a lot this past week on past relationships, both platonic and romantic. Specifically, I thought back to the reasons why the ones that didn’t work out, did not. I also thought of how we all need to be wiser in choosing who we associate with. What struck me the hardest was the core of the issue — instances of where I or the other person chose not to love to the fullest measure, but only to that which was comfortable.
In Greek, agape love is the term for the highest level of love. The love that is self-sacrificing, selfless, and lays one’e life down for others. It is love in it’s truest form. There was a past romantic relationship I was involved in where I did not get that at all. I did not love God or her how I should have. I was mainly concerned with grabbing success and protecting my image. I wanted her and everyone else to know I was strong, competent, intelligent, capable and so on.
While striving for excellence is great, it can reach an unhealthy extreme. When it becomes an idol and what you live your life for, everyone will suffer. This definitely was the case with myself. I did not devote the time or effort to meeting her needs and showing her how important she was to me. Where there other issues, yes. My failings are my responsibility, though. In my vain pursuit of being great, I lost something greater than anything — an opportunity to love and be loved by someone I did care for.
I also recall times, especially with past friends I no longer associate with, when I was shifted aside for convenience’s sake. The friendship was fun and lively as long as I was able to provide a car ride, some money, or laughter. I made sure to spend my time with these people and let them know I was there for them. Things were unevenly yolked, however. When that other person was “too busy” I was forgotten. If I could not provide the things I previously mentioned, I noticed that friend became increasingly distant. Sometimes, the person disappeared altogether because I was “a drain to be with.”
I am the first to admit that depressed me is not the biggest source of positive energy or laughs, which is why I am careful now who I discuss my depression with. I also recognize life gets crazy. However, as I discussed in a recent blog, life is about priorities. We all have stuff going on. We make time for what is important to us. Having a life is not an excuse to disregard the people in our life. It’s a cheap, lazy cop out.
Relationships are about being there for someone else during highs and lows. If someone only likes to be around during the highs, they are no friend. They are leeching for energy they don’t want to put the effort into having. Like a leech, they suck away when there is plenty and leave once the well runs dry. Be wary of both types. God wants us to love others (Mark 12:30-31) , but not associate with everyone (Proverbs 22:24). To associate means to be connected with or partner with. Not everyone makes a great partner. You can love such people through the power of God. You can pray for and do good unto them, but that does not mean you should hang out with them during all your free time.
Humans are social creatures, no surprise there. That means who we associate with influences us a great deal. The famous Asch Conformity Experiment demonstrates how even being among a crowd of strangers has the potential to strongly influence our conduct. That being said, exercise wise discernment in who you associate with. Remember to love with that agape love. Doing both of these ensures you build healthy relationships with the right people. Take care of yourselves and take it in. See you next week.
“A true friend never gets in your way unless you happen to be going down.” ~Arnold H. Glasgow
Image by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay