“Our Christian life is not always for us, but for everyone else.” I sat in the back of the classroom as my I and II Corinthians teacher spoke those words. No truer words had ever been spoken, and no truer words did I need to hear.
This past year was my junior year of college. I would be lying if I said it was a breeze. In actuality, it was probably the hardest year that I have ever faced. Not only were the academics harder, but I was emotionally and physically drained. I, and everyone around me, was struggling spiritually and emotionally.
Everyday, it felt as if I was a dried up sponge just trying to squeeze one more drop of water.
Aside from academics, my personal life (what little there was) was another mountain I couldn’t conquer. My boyfriend was deployed overseas, my friends were battling depression and anxiety, and it seemed that things at home were going wrong left and right.
On top of that, I was the friend that was alway there for my friends—always a shoulder to cry on, always willing to bring you a coffee or a hug when you needed a pick me up. As a result I crashed.
I remember one night, I was working on an art project in the art department building at my school. There was hardly anyone around and I was thankful because I didn’t want anyone to see my red puffy eyes. I had just found out that again (for the fifth time) I wouldn’t see my boyfriend over break. It had been a year since I last saw him in person and I was heartbroken. Then, I received a text from my friend who had recently went through a break up and was struggling, “I really need you.”
I was infuriated. My sad self turned into an angry monster. Didn’t this girl know that I had my own problems to work through? I couldn’t be there waiting on her hand and foot.
I eventually told her that I just couldn’t come tonight. I was not in a good place and I wouldn’t be able to help her like she needed. She needed someone to point her to Jesus, and at that moment I wasn’t anywhere near Jesus.
That night I regretted sending that text. There was a person that needed my help, and I brushed her off because of my own problems. What I had done went against everything that the Bible teaches about supporting and loving your fellow Christians. Though I regretted it, I knew it was the right thing to do.
How could I have supported my sister in Christ when I could barely support myself in Christ?
In Ephesians 4:2 Paul says, “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love.”
Christ gave us relationships, and expected us to fulfill them as this verse states. However, this verse isn’t easy and relationships require a lot of self sacrifice. You need to work to build bonds with people and love on people when they need it most. As a result relationships take a lot out of you. Sometimes you feel drained in every way, especially when the rest of your life is chaotic.
So why did God give us relationships if we were only going to be drained and feel exhausted? The truth of the matter is that we have a source of water to fill us back up when we are running on empty. Spending time with our Savior is our way of replenishing our empty well.
That’s where I was. I was not right with God. In the crazy hectic life I was living I put God on the sidelines. I had got it in my brain that God was only something I needed when I had time. When life got chaotic, God was pushed to the sidelines. Eventually I became like a dry sponge seeking some sort of replenishing. You see, my thinking was that my relationship with God was only for me. Soon, I realized it was never just about me.
My relationship with God isn’t always for me, but it’s also for everyone around me.
When people need support they need someone who can point them to Jesus. They need love from the one who created love, and they need support from the ultimate comforter. We as their fellow Christians need to be there to show them that love when they feel like they can’t get there.
When we push our own relationship with God to the side, we aren’t equipped to help the person that needs God in that moment. When we realize that our Christian walk isn’t always for us, we’re more inclined to keep God a priority.
God taught me something this year that transformed the way I thought about my relationship to Him. Yes getting in God’s Word daily is important for my own well being, but it’s even more important for those around me. Now, when I read my Bible on those hard mornings when I have a million things running through my mind, I remind myself that I’m not growing my relationship for me, but for those people that God puts in my path daily.