Doing or Listening

I have been thinking about relationships a lot lately – not just love relationships but on every level. I have come to the conclusion that they all basically work under the same formula.

Over the years my mental health issues, and later my chronic pain, clouded my ability to just be able to enjoy another person’s company and take in all they have to offer me. I needed to listen and take in their highs and lows instead of just talking about (or dealing with) my own.

Anyone who has read the bible will probably be familiar with the story of Mary and Martha. Their brother, Lazarus, was the one whom Jesus brought back to life. Before that story we met them when Jesus was invited for dinner. While Martha worked hard at getting the meal and table ready, she got mad at Mary for sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to His teachings.

Not only did Jesus not take Martha’s side, He said that while she worried about many things, only one was needed and that Mary’s choice should not be taken from her.

How does this relate to everyday life? I think it is very relevant to every relationship we have. And while I am not saying that doing is not necessary (Jesus wasn’t either), we need to know when to listen to others in our lives.

I have always been a doer. And the ironic thing is, in the past I didn’t accomplish much because I was always taking on more to “fit in” and please others. Yet I had very few close relationships with family, friends, guys, etc. I was too exhausted and so busy that I never took the time to let people in. I would end up wondering why I didn’t get invitations or calls when I was sick or that people would turn their backs on me.

It was because I wasn’t investing any emotional energy towards them. I was pouring out my problems and not listening to what they had to say. I was giving things, doing but never just sitting at their feet and taking in their lives, good and bad.

I believe it was a lot to do with my upbringing because my family would give presents, criticism and money rather than love and acceptance. I also had a fear of getting too close because I could get hurt.

However, all that has changed. I have been able to let Jesus in and He certainly hasn’t hurt me. So now I take the time to really listen and hear what the people around me have to say and I have realized that when you do that, it isn’t about what each person WANTS from the other but what they NEED instead.

My husband and I have a much better relationship because we now focus on the other one instead of how they can help us. I have started this with some of my friends, but I also realize that I am still lapsing in this area. That is about to change as I am feeling stronger.

Again, I am not saying that you shouldn’t DO things or talk about your life. I believe that there is a place somewhere in the middle where we can all live happily ever after.



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