Do you know that friend that always seems to have something to complain about? Something is always wrong, there is always a reason to be unhappy, something is always holding her back from being happy. Every time you see her, she fills the conversations with her complaints and little (or maybe big) problems. You love her, but she is absolutely draining to be around. She sucks the energy and joy right out of you and replaces it with negative emotions, leaving you exhausted. The conclusion you probably came (or will come) to about your relationship with her is that you are her friend, but she is not really yours. You know a lot about her, but what does she know about you? After all, how can she even take the time to get to know you if she is always talking about herself and unloading her problems on you?
Good relationships with anyone – friends, parents, siblings, teachers – require lots of give and take, and they only grow if both people are more concerned with giving than with taking. In your relationships with your friends and everyone around you, your aim should be to give all the love and support you can without expecting anything in return, but the relationship will not grow healthily on both sides if both people do not balance give and take.
In a relationship like the one I described at the beginning, you are wearied by the friend who just takes and never gives. Maybe you are this friend. I know I have a tendency to be this friend to my truest Friend in the world – God. I crawl to Him when I really need Him and apologize for ignoring Him, then I complain about my problems. I beg Him to change and fix them, and I bring up every little (or big) thing that is wrong in my life. Fortunately, God is not human and does not weary of me or become exhausted because of my complaints, but I do think He gets frustrated with me. After all my talking and complaining (which God certainly wants us to do – John 16:23-24), what do I really know about God? What do I know of His character? What are His likes and dislikes? What about me pleases Him the most? What do I need to improve on?
Discovering and getting to know God like this takes times, praise, and silence. Like any worthy relationship, developing a healthy relationship with God takes time, patience, and hard work. Over time, I will better understand how God acts and reacts in certain situations as my life unfolds. A close and intimate fellowship with Him is not developed overnight – if it were, would it have any value? I also must give back to Him in everything I do. My word and actions are an offering to Him. Take time to tell God how wonderful and good He is and how much you appreciate His love and care for you. Try to go a whole day or week or longer without asking God for anything, however big or small, in your prayers. Focus on just praising and giving to Him, and He will give you much in return – and the things He can give are always amazing and never-ending! Last, getting to know God takes silence on our part. Turn off your phone and laptop and iPod, go somewhere quiet, and focus your mind and heart on God. God reveals a lot of answers to me when I am silent. It’s hard to be still in such a fast-paced world, but God knows how important stillness and silence are for us: “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10).
The magnificent thing about God is that there is always more to discover about Him. The more you get to know Him, the more you find there is to Him. His heart is deeper than the ocean and is open for you to dive in and discover. He is truly everlasting.