The Greatest Thing You Can Do for Your Relationships: Keep Showing Up
Keep showing up doesn’t sound like profound relationship advice. But it can mean the difference between relationships that thrive and those that don’t.
It can be easy to think that the grand gestures in life are what best communicate our love for family and friends. Just try not to smile when you think about the last time you saw a marriage proposal on a jumbotron screen. Or when you remember how much fun it is to surprise a loved one with an embarrassingly large flower arrangement at work.
Yes, grand gestures are great. They add excitement to our lives and create snapshot moments we won’t forget. But grand gestures alone aren’t enough to keep our relationships healthy and growing.
Before you start worrying about how in the world you can do MORE to show your love and devotion, let me reassure you. What keeps our relationships growing strong for a lifetime isn’t doing bigger and grander things for one another. It’s doing the small things faithfully.
When we keep showing up, day in and day out, our relationships thrive.
I’m not talking about simply occupying the same space. I’m saying showing up, fully present and engaged. Listening. Remembering. Offering encouragement, comfort, and grace.
Being truly present for those we care about means listening to the latest news about their day. Remembering to pray for them – especially when they’ve got to do something difficult or challenging, but also when they don’t. Then following up to find out how things went. It means offering a message of encouragement or a little humor to help them remember that they are more than the struggles they face. Letting them know, day in and day out, that you see them.
When it comes to lasting relationships, your steadfast love and faithfulness add up to more than the grandest of gestures.
Maybe you feel like you can’t possibly pack one more lunch for your kids. Or repeat the same conversation at the dinner table. Perhaps you’re growing weary of running the same errands for your aging parents. Or hearing the details of a friend’s challenging marriage again. But all of these moments matter. Because when we keep showing up – listening, caring, and loving others with our presence, we are creating bonds that last.
So what to do when you’re not sure you have the energy or interest to keep showing up? When you’re wondering whether your daily routine of “love, rinse, repeat” really makes any difference at all? What about when your own life gets difficult? Or when you think you just might die of boredom?
If you’re not sure you’ve got what it takes to keep showing up, God can help.
The next time you start thinking that all the small ways you love others go unnoticed or don’t really matter, remember that this is the way God – the originator of the grand gesture! – consistently communicates His love for us.
Could anything be grander than what God has done for us? Yet, the Creator of our world and the Savior of our souls doesn’t stop there. He continues showing up for us day after day, in loving act after loving act, listening to our hearts and answering our prayers. His steady, unchanging presence in our lives is how the knowledge of His love moves from our heads to deep within our hearts. Because of His faithful everyday love, our relationship with Him continues to grow. And that is how He asks us to love others.
God’s love for us is steadfast and faithful. And He helps us love like that, too.
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. (1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT)
With God’s help, your small actions add up over time to speak volumes of love to your family and friends. Because the smallest acts of kindness, caring, and comfort demonstrate your love – and God’s love – in a way that goes beyond life’s grand gestures.
We can rest assured that all the days we spend repeatedly tending to the hearts of those we love are growing into something beautiful. Our families and friends will hold close the knowledge that we are there for them. Faithful, steadfast and reliable. Loving them in ways that might seem small and insignificant in the moment. But laying a foundation for a lifetime of knowing that real love is measured not only by grand gestures. But by the daily act of showing up.
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9 NLT)
What I have learned through a few painful experiences about building healthy relationships. 1. Don’t become depended upon more than God – we can “be there” too much. Through prayer for the Holy Spirit to tell me just how much to do for others – not too much, but enough to show love, I have felt MUCH healthier, and not burning out. 2. To try to focus on talking more about the future and our hopes and dreams than on past struggles or issues unresolved (most of the latter will take care of themselves over time) 3. To be okay with knowing that some relationships are for different seasons in our lives, 4. To nourish friendships you feel you can be 100% yourself, 5. To have friends who encourage you to grow other friendships and to show an interest in their other friends’ lives, 6. To spend time with those who know how to have FUN and who push you to try new things! ….and to of course, continue readying and implementing these blogs to do all you can to learn and grow personally to have healthier relationships that are thriving. Thank you Jody!
Thank you, Karen for sharing your friendship wisdom! Continuing to learn and grow is such an important part of deepening friendships and I’m so glad we’re learning and growing together!
This past month I had two friends going through two different life issues. I knew I physically couldn’t be there for both of them each and every day. So each morning I would send them a text with a passage from Jesus is Calling and then at night would tuck them in with another thought. Even though they live in the same town as I do with one in the hospital for two weeks and one experiencing the death of a father in law, it just seemed like a perfect fit for all of us. So yes, just showing up in a still small voice works perfectly!
Eileen, I LOVE these simple and meaningful ideas for ways to be there for one another through life’s challenges. Such a great reminder that sometimes the smallest things can have a great impact. Your thoughtfulness was surely a blessing to your friends! Thanks so much for sharing.