Here's a question: why is McDonalds so cheap compared to, say, a fancy meal at a 3 hat restaurant? Food is food, right?
Um...I think we've all experienced that loathsome, I-immediately-regret-my-decision feeling after nailing a quarter pounder and chips and can heartily say NO, FOOD IS NOT JUST FOOD. It's not all the same. Usually the quality of food varies according to what you're willing to pay. We know this. Cheap food usually means bad quality, lacking in nutrients, and consequently regretful feelings after eating it. So why do we do it? Let me answer on behalf of Gen Y:
'Cos it's cheap. And it's quick. And we lack money and time because we've got eight social media accounts to attend to, so it ticks more than one box. Hello Maccas.
Here's a life lesson for us: everything in life carries a price tag. You might not be paying money, but trust me, you'll pay something. Here's another life lesson that jumps right on the back of that one:
you get what you pay for
If you're not willing to pay the price, you won't get good food. Why is great food expensive? Because of the love, the effort and the time poured into creating it as well as the high quality ingredients and resources used to get it on a plate for you.
The same principle applies for friendships. Great quality friendships require the price of love, time and effort. Cheap relationships lack these factors and you'll end up with something that might meet your immediate need but won't last the distance or make you feel good. Like everything else, the quality of our friendships will depend on how much we're willing to pay.
My two cents (pun intended):
Here's the price tag of great relationships:
1. TIME: Whatever you value, you put time into - relationships belong on our calendar right along side paying the bills. If it's people you value, we’ll see it in ink in your schedule. Every once in a while, we gotta hang out when they feel like it and not just when we feel like it. And hey, remember that actual phone calls won’t give you a disease.
2. MONEY: Believe it or not - giving gifts, going out for dinner and going to the movies all costs actual money. There's many things we spend money on in this world and people are worth investing finances into. Buy them the book. Send them the flowers. Pay for their coffee. Take note of what they like and remember to buy it for them for their birthday. They'll treasure it forever.
3. ENERGY: Choosing to spend energy on people and not just accomplishing tasks can prove a little against the nature of some (cough, me.) Ticking off the to-do list, carrying out responsibilities, and generally doing exactly what I want to do tends to be my natural inclination. But you know what, relationships actually require my energy - I don’t spend all my energy on completing tasks and then give my relationships the graveyard shift (you know - the end of the day when you feel like the Living Dead.)
4. CONVERSATION: Open up, share your stuff, ask THEM questions and don’t talk all about you. Yes, this means face-to-face interaction (like, non-digital) - something that is fast dying out in a generation of social media where sending a meme quickly takes the place of a well-meaning conversation. Use your vocal chords, not your thumb.
5. INTENTIONALITY: Pursue others, and don't always expect to be the one receiving. Doing none of the work is a passport to a one-sided relationship - and those are the ones that quickly deteriorate. Express affection in their love languages, not just your own. That means finding out what makes them feel loved - is it encouraging words? Is it doing favours for them? Is it a physical hug? Desire to know them and not just allowing them to know you. Go places they want to go, not just your local fave. Remember their birthdays. Make them a Christmas card. Get intentional.
6. AUTHENTICITY: Being real and transparent is a lost art in a world that gives us the option of hiding behind a keyboard. Being authentic means choosing to be real instead of "saving face" behind a mask. Apologise when you need to. Admit your faults. Be honest and make your needs known when you have to. Don’t be afraid to ask for something. It shows that you care and you're willing to fight for your friendship.
7. INTIMACY: No, this is not a romantic word reserved for married's. It's about closeness and love - friendship-love, like the love we have with God. The doorway to intimacy is accountability, vulnerability, and honesty. Ultimately, it means investing your HEART into your relationships. Get real with your friends. Make eye contact with people. Tell the truth. Express your feelings - struggles and joys alike. Opt for face-to-face conversations over DMs, especially if there's a weightier issue at hand.
Wow! That's a lot to fork out! It may seem expensive, but...
PEOPLE ARE WORTH IT - just ask God.
Why do you think Jesus was the only acceptable payment for God to be in friendship with US? That, my friends, was the most extravagant price paid for anything in the history of the man-and-heaven-kind. The expense may be great, but people are the most valuable thing we can possess and (by the way) the only thing we will take the heaven with us. Remember where you're storing your treasure!
/// MATT 6: 20 ///
"Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal."
Seek the treasure in people and don't forget:
BE a treasure for someone else to find!
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