Over the last few days I was thinking about relationships I have with different people in my life and I came to the conclusion that there is one very important requirement for friendship with me: that person needs to be “THERE” in my life. They don’t need to be really cool or fun, they don’t need to treat me like a princess or a million bucks, they don’t need to always have the right words to say… I just want them there at different moments of my life. This week I was thinking about a person in my life who is just never “there”… and although I don’t necessarily need them there… I want them there. And even though their excuses are always really good for having a hard time showing up in my life – it doesn’t really matter to me – because I have learned that if people don’t make time for you in their very busy and important lives…well then, maybe you don’t really matter all that much to them…
It’s funny because God has a way of using the relationships I have with people in my life to convict me about my relationship with Him. As I was getting ready for work yesterday morning I was thinking about this person who is never “there” and I could hear God speaking very clearly to me “Anna – are YOU there in our relationship?” Here I was feeling disappointed about a person in my life that can’t show up, but how was I doing when it comes to “showing up” in my relationship with God? I always pray to God throughout my day, I read my “spiritual” books, think about Him, do things in church for Him, read the Word… but I’ve been slacking when it comes to setting everything aside – including all of those things and really just having my alone time with God every single day. And just like people who aren’t “there” in my life – I have great excuses for not being there when it comes to God. I’m tired and I’m busy… I have too many things on my “to do” list — and I’m sure God understands that I still love Him and that I care… but am I really showing that if I can’t take the time out of my very busy and seemingly “important schedule” to spend some of it alone with Him?
Even if I know a person cares about me yet they don’t take time to include me in their life – that shows that they don’t care -enough. Even if that person talks about how great I am to others and about how wonderful our friendship is, if they do nice things for me, and if once in a while they take the time to send me a text to ask how I am then that’s all nice and good – but it still doesn’t mean much for the friendship unless we spend time alone together…
I wonder if that’s how I make God feel when I don’t choose to “show up”. When I don’t take time to spend alone with Him… I feel ignored by friends who don’t stay in contact me, not “wanted” by them, and definitely not loved… is that how He feels?
As I was thinking about this a book that I read came to my mind – The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman . This book talks about the different “love languages” that a person may have and the importance of understanding how significant each love language is to another person so that you can “speak” that language in their life. The languages include: Words of Affirmation, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, Physical Touch, and Quality Time. I am realizing that these five love languages can not only apply to relationships people have with other people, they can also apply to the relationship we have with God. And although I think I may be doing ok with speaking four out of the five languages when it comes to my relationship with God, I have been slacking when it comes to the most important one: spending quality time with Him.
To help gain a clearer understanding of God’s 5 love languages I have included the description of each love language below – along with my own description of how the love language may be seen in our relationship with God.
1. Words of Affirmation– this is when you use your words to affirm what a person means to you in your life. It’s important for people who speak this love language to always be told that they are loved and be given compliments and encouragement by people in their lives. I think with God – this means glorifying Him with our words when we praise and worship Him as well as just talk to Him throughout our day. Using words to affirm who He is in your life – that He is your creator and savior. That He is always good, merciful, and powerful. By using words you affirm what He means to you and what He has done for you.
2. Receiving Gifts – a person with this love language enjoys receiving gifts (with thoughtfulness and effort behind them). When they are given gifts they know the person took the time to think of them and purchase that gift to show them that they are cared for. When it comes to God I think the way we bring “gifts” to Him is by using the talents and gifts He has given us to bring Him glory and to bring others to Him. It’s also using our ability to work hard and then tithe to the church we attend each month. If God has given you a talent or a gift the best gift you can give back to Him is to use those gifts to glorify Him.
3. Acts of Service– this is when people like to have thoughtful or little things done for them. This could mean having their car or dishes washed or that bookshelf fixed without having to ask for it. I think the way a person can speak this language to God is to serve Him in the church. Serve without needing someone to ask you a hundred times to step up and help out — but you yourself find an area where people are needed and plug yourself in. Serve people in the church with your time as well as your gifts and talents. Don’t just tell God you love Him – but speak it through your actions by getting involved in your church and doing something for Him.
4. Physical Touch – this is for the people who are more “touchy” than others and require a lot of hugs, pats on the back, or someone holding their hand often to help them feel loved. How can you “physically touch” God? By physically helping people. When I was thinking about this love language the first thing that came to my mind is the bible verse about clothing the sick, feeding the hungry and visiting people in prison because by physically helping people in these different ways, it’s as if you are doing it for Jesus.
5. Quality Time: This is when a person gives their full and undivided attention to somebody else. A person with this love language knows they are cared for when the other person sets everything else aside and focuses on just spending time alone with them. When the person shows up to planned events and makes sure to really listen to the other person. In my relationship with God this is translated pretty simply – praying to Him and spending time with Him with absolutely no distractions — Waking up when that alarm clock rings at 5 in the morning rather than skipping out and sleeping in… give Him my full and undivided attention. Don’t just squeeze time with Him into my schedule when it’s convenient for me — because that would be never, but make my alone time with Him my #1 priority.
If you took a quiz and rated yourself on how loved God feels depending on how often and how much you “speak” these different languages in your life — what score would you receive? I know that as of right now God probably feels about me the exact same way I feel about the person in my life that’s never “there”… and I would never wish for anybody, especially Him, to feel that way. Loving and caring for someone takes effort – and sometimes it’s easy to say “I love you” ten times a day without showing with your actions that you really do. Speaking “I love you’s” won’t do you much good if there is nothing behind those words to validate them… I am in the process of learning the importance of not just speaking those words- but also validating them to God – by spending my time here on earth wisely- especially by spending it with Him. 🙂