My wife and son have been visiting family out of state for the past week, and life has been much… simpler.
It was weird. That first day coming home after being out of the house all day. It was exactly the way I left it.
No toys out.
No dishes to do.
No clothes to put away
Nothing to clean because…
It had been empty all day.
I had forgotten how simple life was by yourself. I immediately reverted back to my college days when I would have one plate, one bowl, one fork, one spoon, one knife, and one glass.
In many ways it was not only simpler, but easier.
But oh how I missed my family.
Sometimes I think we can desire a more simple and easier life, forgetting the benefits that God intends to be found in relationships.
I wrote recently about the importance of community and this is the same concept, just shown in a different way.
My life would be far simpler and easier in many ways without a wife and child, but I can assure you it would also not have near the joy. And, although most would tend to agree with me that having a spouse and kids are worth the work and complexity, let’s keep in mind that this same problems, and benefits, arise in any relationship.
One of my pastor’s favorite verses on this subject is Proverbs 14:4 which says, “Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”
This verse reminds us that relationships bring many benefits and abundance, but with those benefits also come a dirty manger. Every relationship you have will include some type of work, sacrifice, effort, and complexity – but it’s worth it. (tweet this)
So whether you are struggling with a relationship at work, or with family, friends, church, or one of the many other areas we build relationships, don’t run away from the difficulty, but lean into it. Do the hard work, put in the effort, give yourself sacrificially. I can’t promise you that it’ll work out every time, but even the relationships that end up empty are majorly offset by the ones that prove to be the most worthy investments of your life. Let’s never miss an opportunity to love someone and build a relationship with them, because we never know what may come of it.
So yes, relationships will add work and complexity to your life, even sacrifice.
But they’re worth it.