Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I think God would tell us to stop chasing the cats.

When I was a kid my grandparents always had two cats and two dogs. Nobody else in my family had cats, so the only time I was ever around them was at their house. So every time I would go visit them I would give them the quick, "Hey Nana! Hey Papa!" and go straight to the cats. I wanted to play with them, hold them, pet them, just look at them! So bad!

But there was a problem. The feeling wasn't mutual.

Those stinkin cats didn't want to have ANYTHING to do with me. As soon as I would get there they would run to the back of the house and hide under my grandma's bed in the back corner where they could not be reached or touched. I would try SO HARD to get them to come out. I tried every tactic. Sometimes I would try to bribe them by playing with a toy in front of them, or even getting some food out. Other times I'd try the "be as quiet as possible and sneak up on them and maybe they won't realize you're here then grab them real quick!" tactic. Nothing worked.

All I wanted to do was love on those stupid things but they could care less. They didn't give a rip about me.

After trying for a good 30 minutes I would make my way back into the living room and mope around, telling my grandma that her cats were stupid. And almost every time, I'd look outside her back door and see Bo and Krissy, her two dogs, sitting at the door with their tongues hanging out, tails waving, and paws scratching on the door. Those dogs LOVED ME! They wanted me to come play with them, hold them, pet them, just look at them. They cared about me.

And I loved dogs as a kid. I loved playing with dogs. But for some reason when I was at her house I didn't focus on the dogs. I focused on the cats.

It sounds so silly, but I guess it was the whole competition thing that kept me going after them. I wanted to prove that I could make those cats like me. Maybe that's why us girls are told to play hard to get. Guys love the chase, and I guess I did too. There were two beautiful dogs ready to love on me and have the greatest time ever, but I spent all my time and energy trying to get some dumb cats to care.

Sometimes I'm like that with people in my life, too. 

I value friendship in my life like it is a true treasure. I fail to show that often, but one of the top priorities in my life is my relationships and the way I walk through life with those I call my friends. Marty and I were talking about this a few days ago and discussing some of the different friends I have and what each one brings to my life. In the middle of that conversation he said something that is still ringing in my head, something I don't think I'll ever forget.

"I think Penelope is my favorite one of your friends. Because I think she truly cares the most about you." 

(For the record, I have no friends named Penelope. I thought it was a safe substitute name.)

After he said that I just thought about it for a while and let it soak in. It threw me off. He didn't pick the friend that hung out with us the most, or gave us the most stuff, or talked to us the most, or made us laugh the most, or brought us the most adventure. He didn't pick her because of anything other than the simple fact that he knew she cared about me.

That's love, you know? To be able to look someone in the eye and say with all sincerity that your favorite person in their life is simply the one who cares the most about them... that takes honest, selfless love. That's something a parent would say to a child, a sister to a sister, a husband to wife... ... a God to his children.

I believe if God and I were talking about this in the flesh He'd look me in the eye and say, "Jordan, my favorite friend in your life is the one who cares the most about you."

Why do I believe that? Because God cares about us. He cares about what makes us smile, what causes us to cry. He cares about what we like and don't like; what we're good at and what we just stink at; when we succeed and when we mess up. He cares. And He wants to care for us through other people. He wants to extend His own caring and understanding through the caring of a friend. And I believe He wants us to embrace that and allow that in our lives.

And God has placed some people in my life who I know with all my heart CARE about me. They care about every little thing in my life. But sometimes I don't embrace that. Sometimes I find myself chasing after the friends who don't seem to care near as much. Maybe it's the whole chase theory again. Maybe I just want to see if I can get them to care about me. I don't know why. But I do. I find myself trying so hard to get that one person to show interest in my life. I think things like, "We used to be SO close. She used to like me. She used to care. I know we can get that back," or "She seems to care so much about this person. Why can't she care about me like that? I'm sure I can get her to feel the same about me." And I'll spend so much energy and emotion trying to get that, or just desiring it. And the whole time I'm chasing that, there is another friend right beside me with open arms just waiting to love me, encourage me, care for me.

Kind of like the dogs sitting at my grandma's back door. Just waiting to share life with me. But I waste too much time chasing the cats, who honestly, just don't care.

I believe it is a blessing that not everyone I pursue as a close, caring friend becomes that. Proverbs 18:24 says,

"A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother."

We need to embrace THAT friend. I believe God would tell us all to stop chasing the cats in our lives. In so many ways we tend to validate our own lives by the relationships we have. They're important to us. They matter. So we need to stop focusing on the wrong things, and the wrong ones. That becomes so unhealthy. We need to embrace the true gift God has given us in those people who do care about us. We need to learn how to appreciate them, love them, thank them, and care for them back.

I don't know about you, but I think there are a few "thank you for caring about me" cards I need to write this week.



HaleeBurch said...

In all seriousness, have you ever thought about writing some sort of devotional book or sunday school lessons? I think you would be really good at it.

Anonymous said...

I love this post!