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 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.
WHY IS THAT? WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?
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.
DEAR GOD WHY DO WE DO THIS?
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.
YOU CAN DO THIS.
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.