The Relationship Challenge

Upset stressed woman holding cellphone disgusted shocked with message she received isolated grey background. Funny looking human face expression emotion feeling reaction life perception body language

By Carmel Litz

There’s no present like time.

When my daughter shared this new twist on an old saying, it rang my heart’s bell.

Have you ever really needed to talk to a specific person but you just couldn’t reach them? I recently felt the helplessness of that very situation.

My son was at camp and the website parents used to email their kids wasn’t working, nor could I reach anybody by phone. All I got was an answering machine. Deep breath in, deep breath out. Don’t freak out, Carmel.

I finally sent my email to him via the general contact email address and prayed for the best. I spoke with the camp staff on Monday and was assured he’d get that email and any others I wanted to send that week. You see, I knew he would struggle all week with waves of homesickness. When he arrived back home, he had my emails in his pockets.

But that first one was never delivered! The flagship communication with all my heartfelt instructions and encouragement never reached him. In fact, to my dismay, he didn’t even believe I’d sent it, so I pulled it up on my phone for proof. After reading it, he looked me in the eye and very slowly and seriously said, “Well. That would’ve been helpful.”

I tried! I really, really tried!

My son needed me. And although I definitely gave my time and tried to connect with him, my attempt was incomplete.

If you’re like me, being cut off from people can feel almost unbearable. And receiving someone’s full attention while trying to communicate has become quite the challenge! It’s not very easy to access someone who actually cares enough to take the time to listen. Just ask my kids… Ouch.

Technological barriers to human connection have become the norm.

First, our children stand looking at us, seeking our attention and love, and they get, “Just a second,” while we finish one more text… and another…

Then, when they’re old enough to hold their own phone, we are left staring at the virtual shadow of a son or daughter who once sought our undivided attention.

But regardless of these challenges, I will not give up!

God offers us His presence. He is Emmanuel—God with us. He came to us through Jesus to show His love with real skin in real time. Living, breathing, face-time…that’s the essence of relationship.

Like Jesus, give the gift of your presence. Be available. Give the gift of your time.

Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Romans 12:10

Sisters Challenge!

Where does our time really go and is the recipient worthy?

What “unworthy” time-wasters do you need to put aside?

What relationship(s) do you need to invest more time in?

Now, make yourself available. Prepare a plan for how you will relationally initiate or respond to others.

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