I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine: he feedeth among the lilies.(Song of Solomon 6:3 KJV)
It is often said that we are defined by our relationships. The best way to know who you are is to have a look at who you associate with. One’s influence is most felt by those one interacts with on a regular basis.
In a relationship where there is no interaction the bond soon wears off and it becomes a relationship in name only. Therefore there are many who base the value of their relationships on the frequency of interaction between them and the people they are in relationship with. Others base it on the gifts they receive from each other or other tokens of friendship. The more a person is able to lavish these tokens on you the more valuable the relationship is.
This fickle basis of estimating a relationship’s value is often pushed by motivational and self development experts. What you end up hearing is this; ‘if a person does not seem to be adding value to your relationship with them then they are of no use to you. Cut them off’.
But that is not God’s way. If it was, many of us will have been cut off long ago. The value of a relationship should be decided from the beginning. In which case, distance, lapse of time, challenges etc do not devalue it. God made a decision to love you even before you got your act together. If something or someone is not worth giving yourself to from the beginning then no amount of gifts or interaction can change that. If these can change that, then you are either being bribed or a wrong estimation or assessment was made by you in the first place.
Relationships should be based on conviction. They should not be entered irresponsibly. The question is, will you be satisfied with me as I am if what you see now is what you will get for always? Or are there strings attached to your friendship. I have found in my own experience that the best relationships are those where there is an understanding and an agreement right from the start whether spoken or unspoken that both parties are convicted and convinced of each other’s value and therefore pledge their very selves to each other. There is an unspoken acknowledgement that what I am giving you is myself and there is nothing more valuable than that that I can give to prove your value to me. The time, the interaction and the gifts are things and only cement our relationship but even without them, your value to each other does not diminish. Greater love has no man than this; that a man will lay down his life for his friend.
You should be able to say, ‘I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine’. No doubts about it. Our gift to each other is ourselves and not things. Without the giving of ourselves, our loyalty and faithfulness from the very beginning, our relationships become too high maintenance and tasking and draining. But where there is genuine giving of ourselves first and foremost, the rest flows naturally.
If you are finding your relationships tasking and burdensome, then ask yourself the question? What is my investment in this relationship? Have I given myself? Am I my beloved’s and is my beloved mine? If this equation is unbalanced and you are trying to balance it off with gifts, attention etc, then you are in for a disaster as this is not maintainable long term. True friends are friends for life. They have been thoroughly persuaded of each others value from the start. They are not forever walking on egg shells trying to prove themselves to each other. That my friend is slavery not a relationship.