Elbow Grease

One of my favorite things to clean is the bathroom…well, that is, until it’s not. I love a sparkling, good smelling bathroom. I like it when things feel orderly and everything is put in its place. It’s never really grossed me out to clean it well, and I’ve never really minded putting a little elbow strength into it to ensure it is beautiful in the end. Right now, however, my bathroom looks like a zoo – and it smells like one, too. Yuck! While I may love a spic and span bathroom, right now, I just feel too overwhelmed to care.  It’s such a mess, I’m more content to live in the junk of it than put any effort forth to make it shine. They say (by the way, who is they?) our best thinking is done in the bathroom.  Maybe they are on to something when it comes to what my bathroom speaks to me. (Maybe those Scrubbing Bubbles guys really are speaking to me!) I’ve been settling for the mediocre rather than doing whatever it takes to do anything else about it.

Our relationships can be like that. We want a thriving friendship, but many times we are unwilling to put in a little elbow grease to make it work.  We’d rather quit people altogether and float from friendship to friendship, never facing the stuff that makes us stronger. We carry grudges, harbor jealousy, say we are for each other, but our actions just don’t match up. Relationships become only things of convenience. As I look back on many of my relationships, I see a sick person contributing to those that never really developed.  That sick person was ME! I wanted them to do all of the work and pursue me, entertain me, share themselves with me…forgive ME! When they no longer paid me the time of day, I moved on to the next friendship, because I was simply too lazy to make it work, or I just stopped caring.  Ouch!

“But love is born when we misunderstand one another and make it right, when we cry in the kitchen, when we show up uninvited with magazines and granola bars, in an effort to say, I love you.”                                                                            Shauna Niequist

Relationships require sacrifice. We know this.  It’s not a new concept, but we continue to buck up against it.  We just don’t want to get messy.  Do we want a blossoming friendship? Umm…do I want a clean bathroom? Duh! Sometimes friendships says, “Will you forgive me?” Matthew 18 has established itself as the ultimate guide for the HOW part of having thriving relationships. When the truth is established that having growing relationships is a very good thing, knowing how to accomplish that is what I want to know.  How about you?  Matthew 18:15 says, “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend.” Even if you haven’t been hurt by a friend, this truth is golden! We’ve got to put in the work to to get the reward! Today, if you’re anything like I’ve been, you’ve put it off long enough to make things right in a relationship.  Maybe it is a lifelong friendship gone south, or a rift between you and a coworker,  breaking the silence between you and your spouse, or making things right with your child.  Nothing is ever accomplished living in the misunderstood. Tough words may need to be offered today, grudges destroyed and hearts mended. Maybe today, it’s your move to make!

As for me…I’m off to clean the bathroom!

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