I Love You But...
“... Is not the whole land before you? Let’s part company. If you go to the left, I’ll go to the right; if you go the right, I’ll go to the left...” - Genesis 13:1-18
The hardest part of a relationship is knowing when the connection has run its course in its present form and it is time for it to change in nature. Not everyone is up for that kind of change, but unless you are growing together that transition is not only necessary but inevitable.
I hardly talk to my closest friend from college, less than a year after we graduated. Not because anything bad happened between us, but because we realised that we were growing in different directions and proximity was stifling that growth and fomenting ill-feeling and conflict between us. Just as Abram and Lot’s prosperity came with unexpected negative consequences, even now our transition from one stage of life to another can be fraught with its own relationship challenges.
“You’ve changed!” is often hurled as an accusation when you start seeing things differently or want to explore a new path. But what is so terrible about being committed to finding out who you are and what you want for yourself?
So often we impede our own progress and deprive ourselves of joy in the mistaken belief that we are doing what is best for the relationship. The thing is though, that desire you are stifling is still there, and if it is not expressed appropriately it will find another avenue of release, often with disastrous consequences.
Had Abram not been brave and taken the decision to acknowledge the unsustainability of his family’s model of existence, the quarrelling between his herdsmen and Lot’s would only have intensified until blood was shed. Taking the decision to create some distance is not about caring for the other person less, that’s just breaking up; it is realising that the bond you have can’t be maintained in the present circumstance.
It’s not a unilateral decision though! Talk it out with the other person before you act. Who knows, they may have a better solution to the problem. In any event, you owe it to the other person to tell them how you feel before you act. There is nothing as hurtful as finding about things that directly affect you in a roundabout way.
Not all our connections are going to stay the same. They must all change to meet our growing and ever-changing needs. The key is to keep praying to God that He may show you how best to maintain each relationship, and when and how to transition.
So as we go off to college, as we leave college and enter the world, transition from being single to being married and starting families, our relationships are going to change. Some will develop, others will recede, new ones will form and others cease. That’s not a bad thing, long as you’re dealing with that with love and honesty.
Discussion Questions: How would you address a relationship you feel needs to change? Would you take Abram’s approach of creating some separation or would you adopt another approach?
See more devotions from Ti and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.