October 27, 2011

Spend Yourself {Day 26} :: Invest well

I have two unlikely friends.

One is practical and cerebral and her ability to make decisions intimidates.  She is a fierce mama and she loves her boys, her sports. She does what she says she will do, even when I do not. She offers grace by remaining faithful, steady. She is comitted to knowing truth. She loves Jesus and she loves people.

I don't know how we became friends, frankly, being so different. In my earlier days, she was the girl I was afraid of. Confident and sure and outspoken. She out-spoke herself right into my quiet life.

The other friend, she inspires me. She laughs loud and asks great questions and makes me feel worthy of time ... wants to share my life in every way, even with states between us now. She is energizing and tireless and brave in the way she gives herself to people. She isn't into appearances, status ... all those silly games we play. She is refreshing to the core and I often miss her bad. She sees big picture and she always comes back to the bottom line. Always. She loves Jesus and she loves people.

I don't know how we became friends, frankly, being so different. Before we had babies together, we only held ministry in common. But then we nursed our infants in shared space, pushed strollers in the morning cold ... comitted to doing-life together.

 These ladies have taught me how to spend this life, how to invest well. In relationship.  

You may know by now that I am a (recovering) perfectionist and that means I don't want you to come over if my house is a mess. And if you catch me off guard, show up anyway, I tend to apologize profusely... sure you might love me a little less. I miss opportunities because I over think.

Enter these two gals who crash into my life and into my home and they just don't care if my kitchen is wrecked. Or my heart. Let's get to the issue, they say. Let's just go zero to sixty. They call at crazy times and hang up too fast if something else comes up. This used to bug me. Now I feel so loved, because there is freedom to be me. Freedom to check in real quick and hang up again and know the friendship is real, stable, not dependent on the minors ... like etiquette or a clean home.

But really, the main reason I adore them? They choose relationship every time. "Will this decision serve or grow my relationship with people and with Jesus?" If not? It's an easy call. And these ladies live simply because when relationships are priority, much falls to the wayside. Much
Days become richer. Stress over schedules, possessions, and the future seems to dissipate.

Decisions become easier with far fewer factors weighing in. Inconvenience? For the sake of relationship? Bring it on, they say. Saying "no" for the sake of relationship? No question. And I have come to realize one thing: they don't live this way because of their extroverted personalities or their great need to go and do. They are not martyrs. I believe they live this way because they choose to follow Jesus when He said to "love God and then love your neighbor."

And sometimes choosing relationships means choosing what is hard. But I hear my friends ask the same questions, over and over again: Will this serve relationship? With God? With the people I love? With the people I am called to love? 

I am learning. I am learning to choose relationship with God and people over pride and insecurity, over my schedule or routine. Over myself. This is not natural and this is not easy. But it is beautiful, it is rich, it is worthy of energy and time. It looks a million different ways on a million different days and it is what He told us to do.

And I wonder. Could I live this way? As a person who chooses God and people time and time again? 

These ladies have been beautiful teachers, modeling well by following hard after Him ... who first chose us over everything.

And there are so many more ... beautiful women woven all throughout this life. Some so kindred they nearly share this heart and brain and I ache for them. Some so remarkable, so humble, I am sure they know a Jesus I only long to know. Some so hilarious and real and available, I crave their otherness and they fill up places I didn't know were thirsty. Pure gift, all of them. And I suppose this is how it ought to be ... this family of unlikely friends.

We choose Him and then we choose each other: when it is extravagant, when it is costly, when we are not the same. Jesus said, always relationship.

This is a life well spent. 

This is Day 26 of 31. Come follow here as this journey wraps up. Thank you a million times for coming back each day, for walking this road with me. You are sweet friends and I have learned so much. Say hello if you've been reading @ abbyelli@gmail.com ?? Remembering this is not about me, but about a big God who loves His people. Peace, all.  

1 comment:

  1. Abby,

    I found your blog last weekend (through Nina) and have been loving reading it this week and passing it on to others. I read all the way back to the beginning of October plus a few more, and wish I could be commenting more too (reading at work and on my phone makes that kind of hard). It's been wonderful reading your heart and encouraging to see your journey. No matter my introversion and whatever else I might want to be doing, I have to remind myself all the time that relationships are the most important thing for my time and energy. It's the thing that lasts eternally, that He always rewards.