This post was created by my great friend Tanner Sandvick, edited by yours truly, and inspired by the one true Relationship. Enjoy my friend’s powerful wisdom.
Our eyes gravitate towards the intriguing, it’s not something that we are taught as we grow but rather, our own personal definition of intriguing changes, grows and adapts as we age. Sadly, I am starting to see the convergence of what intrigues my generation with the false reality that it builds, especially in the respect of relationships. We constantly scroll past photos of young couples frolicking on beaches in some exotic location with perfectly tanned skin and smiles that would suggest love is the only answer. We think, “If only I could just quit school, quit my job, leave this all behind and be like them” After all, it’s in our blood to be loved, and to seek new things; what better way?
—Now before you close the tab with the scoff that this isn’t you, please give it some thought. This is not an attempt to further belittle and disgrace millennials and our quirks. We get enough of that. My goal is not to show you that your relationships are useless, but rather to open a few eyes to these facts. —
I’m not innocent. If I say I don’t strive to have picture-perfect relationships (like the photos show) with friends, significant others and family I’m a liar. My goal a lot of the time is to hold onto a clean, perfectly posed image to solidify as a memory in my head. I’ve been taught since as far back as I can remember that if I can capture that perfect moment (not even necessarily in a photo) then people will think, “Man, this guy has got the best group of friends,” or “He has the coolest girlfriend,” or the all so elusive declaration, “RELATIONSHIP GOALS.” For a good amount of my life, even before that phrase was coined, I was chasing this approval and jealousy from others. And for what cost? Sure, being in relationships is amazing. But if my main goal while I’m in it is to declare to the world how amazing this relationship is with them then aren’t I missing out on so much?
Let’s talk about a relationship that will last.
If nobody has ever told you about Jesus, let me first apologize. You have been kept from the most amazing person to ever walk the planet, and the great gift which He offers. Let me explain… God created a perfect world that was to embody His glory, but sin entered the world. We all know sin, the quiet whisper of your ‘conscious’ saying, “Don’t do this,” or “Don’t go there…” This sin created a barrier long ago that could only be bridged through a perfect, loving sacrifice that would cover ALL from God’s wrath on sin. So, then enters Jesus, the perfect and loving sacrifice I just explained. Jesus, being fully human and fully God, came to this now broken world to die for the sin that every person will ever commit. There is no limit to the sins Jesus took on to satisfy the wrath of God’s sin on every person. Not only is sin here, but now our separation from God can also be felt. Think: frustration you’ve had with a friend who wronged you, abuse you’ve gone through, lies you’ve been told, temptations you’ve given into. All these things leave such an empty, broken feeling in you. That empty hole that you can feel is in fact the absence of God, or rather, the absence of perfect love. Simply accepting the undeserving gift Jesus offers and turning from the sins you commit can then offer you a life in the presence of the One and True God who knows you by name and loves you with an unexplainable compassion!
Now, if you do know of Jesus consider the following:
Is our relationship with our friends or significant other perfect? (No)
Does Jesus want us to be perfect? (By no means)
Furthermore, does Jesus require us to be perfect? (Not at all)
Groundbreaking stuff, I know.
I can boldly say that my relationship with God hasn’t exactly been Instagrammable. I can even more boldly say that my friendships haven’t been without conflict. However, there’s no trickery or deceit or mistrust in a relationship with Jesus. People will continually let us down and fall short of our expectations, but we have also done the same thing to each person in our own lives. Each and every person who has tasted life has fallen short of the expectations of God (Romans 3:23), YET He loved us. That word, “loved,” is meant both in the past, present and future tense. There’s absolutely no reason we should then mask the reality of our relationship with God, because the more pain and problems we endure with God, all the more he chooses to use us for overcoming them.
That is grace.
So, those exuberant photos that we see every day of the people “in love” couldn’t be a more accurate personification of love that can only be found in Jesus, but they couldn’t be more wrong in how they display and suggest how one gets to this point. This is not to discredit any love between these people, but it doesn’t take a relationship counselor to see that these couples’ foundations probably aren’t built on the strongest of stones.
Thus, this is the entire premise of the point I would like to make. Should we really be looking at these photos and videos thinking that this is an easily attainable end-goal for a relationship? No! Yet, our minds are so wired to get to a perfect outcome with as little effort on our end as possible that we still believe that lie (now more than ever). If this is your goal, then living with Jesus is not the route to take. Don’t misinterpret—Jesus is in fact the only way to become free of the chains that sin has around you. However, the life of a Christian is not Biblically displayed as an easy journey!
Why, then, should we covet the idea of dancing on some far-off beach with our significant other like we’ve seen on Instagram a thousand times? In fact, why does our relationship need to be backed up on social media at all? Instead, I think a better goal is to wrestle through the hard times that we go through with our significant others and rejoice with all that we have in the good times with them. I will bring your mind again to the idea of a foundation. For me, after all I have learned through my life, a quiet afternoon reading our bibles and praying together at a coffee shop is infinitely more valuable than the feeling I would get from posting something that would hopefully insight “RELATIONSHIP GOALS” from hundreds of teenagers. It’s on you to make the decision to build a foundation that will last.
I want my goals to reflect the process of becoming one with God and all the struggles that come with that. In the same way, I want my earthly relationships to reflect the process of learning and growing together as opposed to the false finished products I see scrolling through my phone every day.
These are my relationship goals.