Big Friend Little Friend

letter_writi_24714_lgI moved to Maine almost thirteen years ago. I came straight out of a Masters program into a marriage. Within the space of eight days, I turned in my thesis, had a party with 150 of my nearest and dearest, flew to America, got married, and moved in with the in-laws.

It would be 13 months before my work papers came through.

The internet was still in it’s infancy, and in Maine it was dial up all the way.

Thirteen years later, I have people in England, Mississippi, Florida and North Carolina.

Thirteen years later, I have three children under the age of six.

I spent a lot of time thinking I was a bad friend for not communicating more, with my people in England, with my people who moved away from Maine. But the funny thing is, while I thought that often about myself, I never thought it once about them.

I would get a one line email from a friend in England and be overjoyed. Instantly I would be transported and be by their side, sharing a communal history, praying for each other, being so thankful they were in my life. In a one line email.

Both of my college room mates from England got married and had babies without me there. I found out over email. But I was over the moon, the news was so fantastic. When we meet up once a year, less so now, it is as if no time has passed at all.

When a friend likes a picture of mine, or retweets something, or writes LOL underneath a status update, it is amazing.

Because contact with my people, no matter how brief, is precious, cherished, it blesses me beyond it’s bounds. They say faith is like a mustard seed, but so too is friendship, love, a little goes a long way.

Imagine then, how you feel when someone likes your update, how God feels about the time we spend with him.

How much of our Christian lives do we waste feeling guilty about the time we spend with him? I know that I spent the better part of a decade thinking more about that than about him.

2 Corinthians 12-9How much time do you spend criticizing yourself, chastising yourself, making deals with yourself, about how much time you spend with God? Because it is all a waste of time.

He loves you. He loves all of you.

He loves all of you all the time.

He would love to spend every minute with you, but you know what? When you look his way and smile, he is elated. When you send a few words to him, he rejoices.

I’m not saying this to give us a cosmic excuse for reducing our God time. No, if you enjoy a quick email from a friend once a year, if you rejoice in the remembrance of that friendship, if you feel blessed by that moment, just think how much more the time we spend with God means to him.

And who doesn’t want more of that?

But we have to do something really hard first. Stop feeling guilty. Leave it behind. It is unworthy of your time. It wastes your time. Take the time you would spend feeling guilty about the time you spend with God and actually spend it with God.

Or not.

Spend it with a family member, or a good book, or the good book. Imagine how much time you free up when you let go of the guilt.

When my friend emails me one sentence that says “Hey, sorry I didn’t get back to you, that’s crazy, miss you.” I spend not one second feeling guilty about our relationship. I spend not one second sending guilt and shame her way for such a short email. No, I love her, I cherish her, I thank God for her.

 

In Proverbs 8:17 God tells us that I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.

Those who seek him, will find him. But above all else, those who love him are loved. That’s the only requirement. Love. I think I have some time for that.

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