In our relationships overfamiliarity can look like not celebrating the milestones and achievements in someone’s life. We can remember all the bad things they did in their younger days and that time they made a really dumb decision. Surely they couldn’t become a Politian or a successful business owner or write a book or get married? We stop being a cheerleader for them and instead hold them ransom to their mistakes of the past or what we perceive are their short comings. But God calls us to be cheerleaders not destroyers.
In Luke 15 we find the story of the prodigal son. When the younger son returns home after squandering his inheritance the older son was displeased with how his father reacted. Did the older son think he knew best? Did he recall all the mistakes and wrong decisions his brother had made? Or did he rejoice in the celebration of the safe return of his brother, realising how hard it must have been for his brother to return home? I think we know how that story ended.
Do you think God ever becomes overfamiliar with you? Do you think He says, “Oh that’s just ……. Yeah I answered her miracle but that doesn’t mean I’m going to celebrate with her. I remember all those times she complained to me and tried to sort out matters with her own hands.”
I wanted to cry yesterday when a girl I used to work with years ago told me how when she read my engagement news on Facebook several months ago she yelled with excitement and nearly cried with joy. The cause of my reaction was two-fold… I felt treasured by her reaction and I also felt disappointed by it. I wasn’t disappointed in her but it caused me to feel disappointed in people who I hoped were cheerleaders in my life who seemed unexcited by my news and to be frank they seemed totally disinterested. Why couldn’t they just celebrate? If it was because of worries they had about it then why not share them and get them out in the open for us to talk about?
The pondering about overfamiliarity has loomed on and off for several years, originally triggered by responses similar to my engagement news… friends not wanting to attend book launches and being disinterested in that part of my life. Did they not understand how I felt that writing was a call God had put on my life and the work that goes into writing a book?
In relationships overfamiliarity has the power to rob you of blessing others, joining in their celebrations and deepening relationships through such times. It also has the power to rob you of experiencing the same from others.
Overfamiliarity is also known as… taking something/someone for granted.
Stay tuned for part 2.