I’d like to start off by saying that I’m no expert in relationships, unless your talking about messing them up,at which I’m pro. So in that regard, I guess I can advise on what NOT to do, rather than what to do. It’s first of November, it’s been a long month, a lot has changed since this time last month, I’m 19 now, I’ve realised that I need to pay attention in university, and sort of do, in a round about way. I’ve started doing work while at home, and appear to be making small amounts of progress. We’ve been given all of our coursework now, so the next few weeks will be a mad dash to the finish line, in an attempt to design, render our designs, produce 3D components on a computer, study and understand vast quantities of thermodynamics and mechanics, as well as produce a logbook containing the solutions to a terms worth of questions. So, what has all this got to do with Genesis 30? Not much really, but in Genesis 30, our man Jacob has some issues with sharing his time equally, between wives rather than subjects at university, but it’s a close enough parallel for my introduction.
Here we have a classic family story, a man, his wife, his other wife, their slaves, who become his wives, and of course, their children. One of the classics right? OH WAIT. Jacob has a bit of a problem here, he was tricked into marrying somebody he didn’t want to, and now there is a conflict between his two wives. The problems get bigger and bigger, when Leah conceives and Rachel doesn’t. So Rachel makes Jacob sex up her slave girl, so Rachel can mother Bilhah’s child. Several children later, Leah gives her slave to Jacob as well, so that she can be the “mother” of EVEN MORE CHILDREN! Resulting in Jacob having 4 wives. Not being married myself I can’t quite imagine how that works.
However, I have lived with woman, and I know that they can harp on at you, moan and generally make your life a pain when things don’t go their way. So, when I try to understand what it would be like to have 2 woman contesting over your time and affection, that things get pretty stressful pretty quickly. In fact, Jacob seems to get whipped pretty fast, as I would expect that was the easiest way out for him. It gets to the point where Rachel buys mandrakes, which were believed to increase fertility, at the price of who Jacob will sleep with that night.
The main problem in this complex tapestry of relationships, is that it’s all centred on Jacob. He doesn’t have time to deal with all of the woman equally, and treat them as he should. Situations like this cause a lot of trouble, when you have too many things to do, and not enough time, you end up stressed, tired, grumpy and with poor judgement. Instead, spread your time out equally between what needs to be done, based on how important it is.
An example you mind find easier to deal with is the whole exam situation. You’ve 5 exams coming up. Maths, English, Physics, Chemistry and Computing. You’re good at Maths, Physics and Computing, so you don’t need to spend so much time revising them, so you can balance the majority of your time revising English and Chemistry, while still devoting time to the other three subjects in the lead up to the individual exams. You might study English, Physics, Chemistry, Physics, in the lead up to the physics exam, and then as maths comes up you would follow the same schedule with Maths instead of Physics.
Balancing your time effectively is a skill that some people find easy. Others are easily distracted by… “ohh shiney thing on Facebook.” Oh, I mean, easily distracted by things they can put off till later, or that are more interesting but less important. What Jacob should have done is divided time between his wives more equally, treated them fairly, ignoring the fact he cared more for some than the others.
The need to balance doesn’t just apply to time management, not at all. It applies to everything in life. It is especially true in relationships. Most people have friends, or have had friends. It’s a great thing, friendship it provides happiness and social activity, which The Sims has taught me is key to managing a healthy career/university degree/school work.
Although treating all people the exactly the same doesn’t work – again I’ll reference The Sims, where Bella Goth doesn’t like being tickled, but good old Mortimer did. Tickling Mortimer improved our friendship, but tickling Bella just upset her. However, if we treat all people in the same spirit – that is with care, affection and peace and we are GLAD to do so, then things improve. So when I tickle Mortimer, it’s because the characters had fun doing so, and when I told Bella a joke, it was because they enjoyed it. In the same way that my The Sims I created treated each other with care and respect (most of the time) we need to care for and respect each other.
Hold all people in balance. Treat your “enemy” as you treat your “brother”. So what if that guy just seems to tread on your last nerve, and ruins a good day – maybe it’s because you do the same to him? I remember when I first started at uni, there was this guy who REALLY, and I mean REALLY bugged me, constantly got on my nerves. I did my best to avoid him, however, part of the annoyance was that he would pester me when I was working – novel concept I know. It was his persistence that lead me to get to know him. Now, despite his quirks and random outbursts, I can see the humour behind it, and laugh with him, rather then fume about how annoying and silly he is. I know him, I respect him, and now we get on and have a mutually benifital relationship – he helps me with mechanics were I need, and I help him with maths. Thus the world moves forwards.
Imagine if I had just ignored him for the last year, I might well have failed one of my modules last year, and then I’d be in real trouble. Fortunately that’s not the case. I learned from this guy that if I treat everybody with respect, everybody will respect me. That when you have a mutual respect with another person, you can help each other.
Treating everybody the same is a teaching that Jesus focus’ on quite heavily in the new testament.
BOOM. There’s a thought. What does that actually look like? Well, take a quick flick through the New Testament, see how Jesus treats strangers, outcasts and beggars the same way he treats the leaders of the land. With love and compassion.
46 If you love only the people who love you, you will get no reward. Even the tax collectors do that.47 And if you are nice only to your friends, you are no better than other people. Even those who don’t know God are nice to their friends.
I’m going to focus the month of November on balancing time, balancing my relationships with the love of God, and not, on growing a moustache.
So I must-ash you a question – are you concerned about people or facial hair this November? and which one should you be shaving for later?
Life is not a mystery – Life is living the love of God.