Inner healing work,  Relationships

The uninvested friend

friend2I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on the value of relationships…

Inevitably, the value you place inside relationships speaks greatly to the value you place on yourself (I may be eating a lot of cake right now as I type this. Don’t judge. Sensitive topic people)

There is this verse that says something to the effect of, don’t cast your pearls before swine. I remember hearing that when I was younger and not entirely grasping the meaning. Like, did it mean not to give important things to idiots?

In hindsight, that was probably a rather accurate interpretation of that passage.

But we’ll get to that in a minute.

I am a relationship investor.

I invest a lot into people that are important to me. I think many of us start out this way. We invest, we carve out time, we show up – and we keep giving.

But, somewhere along the way, we encounter people who don’t return that investment. And, after disappointment after disappointment, we pull back…to a degree.

There are some relationships that even though time after time the investment wasn’t returned, I continued to go back expecting different results.


I think it all goes back to that verse…don’t cast your pearls before swine. The question is: what are your pearls?

Or, rather, what is the most valuable thing you have?

My heart, my time, my words, my listening ear – those are the most precious things I have to offer. But, for most of my life, I allowed others to define that value as less than.

If they didn’t treasure my time, I believed my time was not valuable. If they didn’t cherish my heart, I believed my heart was not worth much. If they didn’t honor my words, I believed my words were not worth being heard.

But, I kept investing. I continued to place the most precious parts of me inside their worlds, hoping to be seen. Hoping to be noticed and valued.

I tried over and over again. But, the return didn’t come.

Eventually, I moved on.

Made new relationships and invested in new people. But, the value they had placed on me stuck. I now saw myself through that lens. I saw my treasured pieces as worth very little.

There is so much weight to that verse…because it exposes our value system. If I see my heart, mind, time and soul as pearls, I will expect them to be treated as such.

I won’t tolerate anything less.

Because, when we continue to bring the most precious pieces of ourselves to people who will not value them, we are saying that we don’t value them either.

As I look back, I see so many years spent investing in people who did not value me and never would. Yet, I continued to try to make them.

It’s like offering an expensive, thoughtful gift to someone. And watching them never choose to even open it. Over and over.


I believe we do this because we love deeply. We crave that love in return. We were designed to be known and to know.

But, God doesn’t want us to just survive love. He doesn’t desire us to be devalued in the midst of it. After all, he came here to expose just how much we are worth.

We are costly.

We are expensive.

We are of great worth.

He sees your words, your time, your affection, your attention, your heart – as the MOST valuable pearl.

One worth killing for.

One worth fighting a gruesome war to have.

One worth crossing two worlds to gain.

You are worth that.

Your pearls are worth every fight to have.

When you see your value as this, you won’t settle for handing it over to pigs. You will cherish it and find people who long to cherish it also.

People who will hold it closely to their hearts, breathe life into it and keep it safe.

The most valued parts of you are not defined by those who do not love you well. Those who have not taken the time to know you, to learn you and understand you do not get to determine your value.

Those who stop their life to notice – those who take time to understand and to learn – those who hold your pearls closely, they don’t define your worth either. But they do confirm it.

They add to the beauty of it.

They richen it.

They deepen it.

They expand it.

But because of our many disappointments, sometimes we don’t know what to do with someone who values us to this degree.

We freak out.

We throw up walls.

Our head sounds alarms.

Because it terrifies us.

This side of heaven, we are like starved orphans craving to be loved and welcomed into a family. Longing to know our place and find our forever home where we are accepted unconditionally.

But, because we want it so badly, when we experience a taste of it, we panic.

It feels too good. Too real. Too much like what we know we can’t live without. And the thought of having it and then it being stripped away is too much to handle.

So, we wall. We pull back. We keep our pearls to ourselves. And, somehow we believe it is easier to continue to invest them in swine…

I take great comfort in the simplicity of that verse. I choose to trust that His way is best. And, that if I invest in something other than a pig…my heart can handle it.

Even though it’s different.

Even though it’s scary.

Even though it’s intense.

He designed me to be loved and to be loved well.

I’ll take that over an uninvesting friend any day.

I promise there is such richness in pursuing those who value you. It speaks to your worth, to your value. It’s like a partnership with God himself. He speaks through them to your heart. They echo the value he placed on you.


Don’t waste your time on the others. If they have not returned the investment yet, the odds are they probably never will. Give them a hug and let them go.

Reserve that space inside your heart for someone pearl worthy.



Author. Blogger. Speaker. Momma to 4.


    • Shattered in Him

      Amen! We need prayers, encouragement, support, and love. We all get busy with kids, obligations, activities, etc. Sometimes just letting someone know they’ve been on your mind is enough for that person to keep pushing. Our personal relationship with others actually reflects on our personal relationship with Jesus, for better or for worse. God bless!!

      • Keith

        Gordon Lightfoot has a song for people like this, my wife is one: “Rainy Day People.” A key lyric is as follows.

        “Rainy day people, always seem to know when it’s time to call.”
        Thanks for responding to my comment. Keith

  • Shattered in Him

    It seems when we need it the most, the rooms are empty and the phone is silent. The people you wish would just say “Hi” or check in or even say, “Hey, I have been thinking about you” just don’t do it. Believers especially have an accountability here and I wrote about it recently.

    But, for me, it has pushed me into a deeper dependency on the Lord. I am just going to hold onto that.

  • Grahame Nicholson

    Hi Anna. My wife Regi and I follow your blog. We find your blog inspirational as we share Jesus among our community. (that sounds pompous doesn’t it?)

  • Gayle

    Hey Anna. I have a lot of mixed feelings about your post today. I so get where you’re coming from and God is dealing with me in these regards too. I think you hit a key point when you talk about how you allowed the swine to define you. So been there! However, I was listening to Todd White today and he was talking about not taking offense and being able to love freely with no thought of return because you are secure in your identity in Christ. I find myself in the messy middle as I’m healing from lots of piggy wounds, some lifelong, but have not been free to walk away from them. (Family. What can you do?) Keep writing! I love your stuff.

    • Shattered in Him

      You bring up an excellent point and I get it. There are relationships that we hang onto, yet are actually toxic to us and our environment. Jesus addressed “wiping the dust” off of our feet and I dove into a study on that regarding Jewish customs and dissecting Greek and Hebrew roots. I absolutely believe there are times when we need to “wipe the dust off” (installing healthy, protective boundaries), yet keeping that door open and unlocked with an attitude of love – always willing to embrace them in love and be there when in need, yet also knowing how to let go of our need for their affection and love in return. Does that make sense? I have a lot of messy, piggy wounds, too! I have been soul-searching quite deeply on how to balance this all out. I wish there were easier answers, all in black and white so it was easier to take to heart! 🙂

      May God bless you and your journey! I hope your healing continues. It is not an easy process at all!

  • Beth den Hollander

    This was GOLD!!! Thanks a million❤️. This was eye opening, I have never seen my worth like this before in Christ.😳 Love Beth

    On Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 1:31 PM just a jesus follower wrote:

    > Anna McCarthy posted: “I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on the value of > relationships… Inevitably, the value you place inside relationships speaks > greatly to the value you place on yourself (I may be eating a lot of cake > right now as I type this. Don’t judge. Sensitive topic ” >

  • dairsik

    Anna, such and insightful look at our relationships. I too am an investor. Life teaches us to invest carefully. When it is family or a spouse it is really hard. God Bless you and your words.

  • Jo

    So understand. Have kept my heart at half mast most of my life. Real friendship is scary, but to not ever get there is not really living.

  • Priscilla Borlan

    While I wonder how loving it is to refer to those who don’t/won’t return a friendship investment as ‘pigs’, it is interesting to me to learn someone else might waste their time on those who basically don’t care. For reasons I do seek to accept whatever responsibility is mine, people regularly just STOP their relationship with me. We will spend great time together, sharing laughter and tears, and then…proof, their gone. Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic that certainly hits home with me.

  • dan

    hi .. thank for this one , am just try to reconcile it with a former article that spoke of risking to love the Jesus’ way …. how do the two come together … like where do you draw the line??

    • Anna McCarthy

      Hi Dan! Thanks for stopping by. Great question and one I too have wrestled with. I have come to land here: Jesus loved the masses by exposing the heart of His father. He loved unconditionally, expecting to receive nothing in return. But, he didn’t expose the deepest parts of himself to just anyone. He loved one intimately: John. And then he had his group of close friends outside of that (the disciples) who he trusted. Those friends were the only ones who saw the hurt, the struggle, the agony he endured. The rest of the world received love from him, but his heart remained guarded; only fully exposed to those who valued and honored it. His pearls were only given to a small group he deemed pearl worthy. I personally believe that it’s because of the tightness of this group and the strength he received there, that he was able to complete his mission on earth. He leaned on them; they encouraged him to run his race well. All of us need pearl worthy friends to become who God designed us to be and to enable us to unconditionally love the world around us.

  • Kim Miller

    Thank you, Anna. I so needed that message. Love all your writing, but some hit home more than others; like this one did. And, in God’s timing, on a day when I really needed it!

  • goldwarmth

    Wow, you have just put into words what I have been trying to form for months. Thank you oh so much for writing this and helping me understand myself and my relationships more clearly.

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