The words caught in my throat and echoed in my mind as soon as I typed them:
“You can’t be the one putting in 110% while he’s over here reaping all the rewards and doing nothing. A relationship takes two to tango.”
My mind emptied, this phrase bouncing around in its resounding chamber like the “DVD” logos sliding across the screens of big box TVs.
Although I was talking with a friend, I couldn’t help but stop at the words and reflect upon them. “It takes two to tango.” Why did that sound so familiar? Why did it stop me in my tracks?
Because I have been the one reaping all the awards and doing nothing.
We all have.
I flashback to several years in my life that were so saturated with apathy that depression, anxiety, and emptiness became my new names. These years lined up with the end of high school and the beginning of college, and they were sandwiched between times in my life in which I was walking closely with God.
But in these years–we’ll just call them the desert years–I was utterly and desperately numb.
It’s not that I necessarily turned my back on God. Instead, day-by-day, I let the spiritual fire that had once consumed me but never burned me die out. Spark by spark. Ember by ember.
Until there was nothing but ashes.
I was empty. I was lonely. I was depressed. I was anxious. I was lost.
And the strange thing was, I could feel God by my side. I knew He was there with me, even in the desert. Because He is the God who promised us He would never forsake us. Because He is the God who keeps His promises.
He felt so close to me that I thought if I just reached out my hand, I would feel Him. So I’d reach out my hand, and it’s like I knew He was there.
But all I could feel was empty air.
All I could feel was a wall between Him and me.
The distant closeness deepened my depression. It anchored my anxiety. It widened the chasm of emptiness. It tightened the loneliness. It defined my lost status.
But then, one summer, He reached down and turned me completely around. His light reignited the cold ashes in my heart, and suddenly I was that burning bush again–wholly on fire for Him but never burned by it.
And while there were times when I lost the fire and turned to ashes again, He was always faithful. He always picked me back up out of the muddy pit and set my feet on the Rock (Psalm 40: 1-3).
And even now, when I can say with happiness and contentment that I am closer to Him than ever and constantly walking with Him, I know there are some things I still need to work on.
Like learning to tango.
How many times do we sit in our rooms, praying to God and asking question after question after question . . . but never take the time to sit in quiet stillness and listen for His voice?
How many times do we say, “God, I need You to [fill in the blank],” but forget to praise and thank Him before and afterward?
How many times do we read about tithing and fasting in the Bible and hear others talk about it, but decide to not commit to tithing or fasting because those are “laws of the Old Testament?”
Even in my walk that is better than ever before, I have realized how complacent I still can be sometimes. God always puts in more than a 110% (more than we can ever imagine), yet there are some days when I can’t even make myself read a 5-minute devotional.
Or sit for a minute and listen for His voice.
Or take 10 seconds to thank Him for something.
Or write a check to acknowledge that everything I have, He has given me.
Or skip a few meals to show Him that I hunger for Him and His Word more than I hunger for the bread I eat.
In my desert years, my apathy shoved these things to the side, not having the physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual energy to even consider doing these things. And whenever I did picture myself doing these things, I just felt more apathetic.
Imagine a relationship, though, when we are putting 110% into our walks with God and He is putting His everything into it as well (like He hasn’t already done that before when He sent His Son Jesus to take our places on the cross and carry the weight of our sins to the grave and leave it there while He rose again).
What would our lives look like? Our human relationships? Our world?
I know it’s so easy to just sit back and let the rewards of your relationships fall into your lap. It’s so easy to view God as a genie, granting our every wish and need at our command.
But God is so much more than that. Our relationships with Him are so much more than that.
Religion is a one-way relationship. Relationship with God is a two-way journey. For His glory. And for our good.
Besides, it’s fun to tango! Why not try dancing with God and see how it goes?
Have fun dancing,