The world is an ever changing place and although change can bring struggle, whether during unstable or comfortable times, change brings an opportunity for us to break out of our comfort zones and explore new ways to build the relationships in our lives. Our day to day routines can bring monotony that covers our personal interactions like a blanket , but if we choose to pull back the comforter called, "this is how we have always done it", we are most likely to find a refreshing new way to reach each other.
Many times, in my own desire for comfort, I have resisted change. I know that for me the simple act of stepping out of a warm cozy bed to wake up a little earlier can be a personal battle. Getting out of bed not only takes a decision, but also the act of moving in a different direction. I have found myself resisting putting forth extra effort to change, because of my comfortable surroundings. Therefore, due to my choice, I have also found myself rising to a day that looked and produced the same results as the days before.
On our own we might be able to muster up the strength to pull our foot out and force our slippers on, but when we ask God for His help we are able to bring about effectual change that can impact those around us. The word of God, not only inspires, but it requires us to put forth effort so that it can work in our everyday lives. I recently took notice of a word in a verse that stirred something inside of me.
"For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe, " (1 Thes. 2:13).
For days I kept coming back to that word "effectually", which means in a manner of producing, (Webster). I believe that our mannerisms should produce results, therefore the relationships in our lives can be productive because of our actions. I am sure that everyone desires to be an effectual friend, spouse, co-worker, mother or father, but how many times do we settle for an average relationship? None of us our perfect, me at the top of that list, but we don't have to have boring relationships.
Building relationships have been known to require a cost, but that price does not have to be monetary. A dinner date with your spouse, buying a friend a gift card to express your love, or taking your children to a cheesy entertainment venue can be fun and build a wonderful memory, but when forced to break free from these neatly wrapped packages we are able to discover new and more "effectual"ways to express our love to one another.
Maybe the real price of a good relationship is bought with an action of change. Because change requires work the effort we put forth could be the greatest gift that we give to one another. In the book "The Five Love Languages" Dr. Gary Chapman teaches us that marriages, and really all relationships, can be strengthened by learning and speaking each others' personal love language. The bottom line is that no matter what language we speak we all must first make the effort to change how we are currently speaking to one another, in this case through our actions.
I have been challenging myself to break out of my normal relational routines, which not only helps me to stay within my budget, but has grown my relationships with others. When my husband and I decided to eliminate going out to eat so that we could redirect that money into paying off debt we chose to become creative instead of accepting the obvious that we must eat at home for every meal. In warmer months we made a cooler a permanent fixture in the trunk of our car and enjoyed picnics at local parks, soccer practices, church grounds, and even the work place. This became such a way of life that when we were able to bring back restaurants as an option, many times we still opt for our family take out meal.
Many people already have great family or friend traditions that create connections and memories, but I believe that even in the midst of those events there are ways to bring a refreshing addition into the mix. My daughter and I enjoy a girl's afternoon at a local tea house twice a year, for each of our birthdays. The tea and the talks are great, but last time we included a question/answer notebook that has created a tangible memory which records, (like a time capsule), our movie, book, color, activity preferences from year to year. This change to our tradition has helped refresh our little outings.
Sometimes it takes a jolt, financially, spiritually, or even physically to wake us up and evoke change in our daily to do lists, however we can choose to make a change during comfortable moments. As I go through life I strive to actively, instead of reactively, resist the snooze button and instead wake up to a new way of thinking. I believe, that when I choose to wake up that God can do an effectual work through me, which will help me in my personal relationships with others.