Listening to some messages online lately that inspire and encourage, that normalize and remind me that hard work is necessary for the “more”of God. I am reminded of a story I heard lately about a donkey who’s owner wanted to get rid of him but couldn’t bring himself to shoot him so he threw him into a deep well where he hoped the donkey would die out of his sight so that he would not have to feel guilty. So there that donkey was in the bottom of this deep, dark well, alone and forgotten.  Each day the owner would dump piles of trash into the well in an effort to cover the donkey’s, what he thought, dead body.  The trash poured violently on the donkey hurt when it hit him, slapping him in the face, pouring onto his back, ricocheting on his legs, but each day the donkey would shake it off, pound it under his feet and rise a little higher in the well. Over and over this happened, trash poured in, the donkey shook it off, trampled it underfoot, and stood a little higher and a little higher and a little higher until one day he walked right out of that well.

White heart and wooden background.

I like that story.  As I ponder things in my heart these days, I find myself evaluating the circles I surround myself with and ask myself hard questions about “why?” and “for what purpose?” and “what are my expectations?” and “what needs to change in me?”

One question I heard the Lord whisper as I was applying mascara this morning is, “Do you add value?”  That’s a really good question.

Sometimes we are in relationships for all the wrong reasons.  It made me pause and really consider -“Do I add value to that person?” It’s not a question so much about me as it is about them. Do I think that friendship offered adds value to another person’s life?  I believe in most cases, “yes” but in some I can honestly say, “no” I really don’t think I do because in some relationships I am not valued.

You can not add value to a place that you are not valued.  

So why do we continue to offer when there’s no value in the offer?  For me it’s because I want to feel included, I want to belong, I want to prove I am worthy and valuable and deserving.  So I offer and offer and typically leave feeling more excluded and invaluable, not because anyone expressly demonstrates that – it is no one’s fault – it’s just the nature of things – it is how it works!  dreamstime_s_redboardsheart

When we look to people in an effort to meet a God need we walk away feeling empty.  

We bump into each other – all with needs to be met: love, peace, safety, nurture, belonging, purpose, significance, community, worth, security.., searching, searching to fill the holes in our souls.

We offer… some invite, open, and welcome – it feels good.

We offer… some block, protect, and reject – it doesn’t feel so good.

It’s not about you – not really – it’s about them, where they are, what they need.

Maybe they are not ready for you have to offer.

So I am pondering my relationships and asking this question, “Do I add value?”  “Is what I offer what that friend needs or wants?” I can not add value to a place that I am not valued.  

So I must let go…and just like the donkey in the bottom of the well, I shake it off, put it underfoot and step a little higher.  There are plenty of places I am valued, those are the places I must set my heart!