Above All Else

Lately I have been pondering the relationships I have in my life. As I get older it seems like many of the relationships I had from high school, college, previous churches, etc. seem to have faded away. It’s easy to feel connected to others when you’re younger and have a “tribe” of friends to turn to, but it’s not always easy to maintain relationships as you get older. Getting married, buying a house, having kids and taking on all of the responsibilities that go along with it all are time consuming. Finding time in your schedule to spend with others can be difficult especially when you have to take into account other people’s schedules.

I vaguely remember my college leader from years ago commenting on this issue. I don’t remember what she said exactly only that she was dealing with feeling like she was losing relationships at the time, only to realize that they weren’t gone, there was just more distance in them. Now, as I am in a similar stage in life as my college leader was, I understand completely what she must have felt.

Being a stay at home/work from home mom, it can be isolating at times when you don’t make the effort to spend time with others. I’m not always good at being intentional about scheduling outings for myself or my kids other than school and our regular church events, and I don’t always feel I have the time, energy, or finances to just go DO things with other people. Not to mention how difficult it can be with a young family and kids that have a hard time sitting still for long periods of time. As a result, loneliness creeps in and it is easy to feel emotionally isolated, like you don’t have a “tribe” anymore. However, this isn’t the real problem.

The real problem isn’t my lack of a “tribe”, the real problem is when I forget that there is only one relationship I should be focusing on: My relationship with God.

While it is important to have relationships with others, and to have community with others, for me, the issue starts when I forget that I need to be cultivating my relationship with the Lord above all else. It is so easy for me to allow other demanding, relationships to take priority.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.” Deuteronomy 6:5

“You shall have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:3

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters– yes, even their own life– such a person cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26

It sounds harsh to require someone to hate their father, mother, sister, brother, wife, children, self… that is how desperately God want us to prioritize out relationship with Him. Before all else, everyone else, even those closest to us.

“In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:6

I often need to ask God to help me put Him first, maybe you need to share my prayer, too.

Lord, I ask that you would help me to remember to put you above ALL else. Help me to remember that the most important relationship in my life should be the relationship I have with YOU. Help me not to long for other relationships or a “tribe”, but to count the ones I have as gifts from you. Let my relationship with you be enough. God you are in control, help me to trust in you and allow you to cultivate the relationships in my life that YOU want me to have. Amen.

Natalya Ables

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