Efficiency is everywhere these days. We're always looking for the most efficient way to do anything. Use a dishwasher rather than washing all your dishes by hand. Find the most energy-efficient light bulb/thermostat/speaker/shower head/car. Speaking of cars, don't walk somewhere when you can drive there 10 times faster. Efficient is better, or so it seems.
What is the definition of efficiency anyway? According to dictionary.com, efficient means "performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort". Basically, to be efficient means you know how to get a lot of things done in the fastest and easiest way possible. People who are efficient seem to be the ones who have the most success in any area of life.
Let's say I'm trying to hire a new employee. If two people have basically the same background or level of training, but one is a more efficient worker, most likely I'm going to choose the more efficient one. Or let's say I'm trying to make it to my child's dentist appointment on time. The most efficient way to do this is to hop in the car and take the most direct route to the dentist's office.
I'm sure all of us could think about any of our days and point out how we are constantly trying to be efficient. Find the most efficient way to do this task. Look for the most efficient product. Organize things so we're set up to be as efficient as possible. Do more, be more, maximize everything... but if you're efficient, you won't wear yourself out because you're expending the least amount of energy to get the highest level of results.
What happens, though, when we try to apply this concept of efficiency to our relationships? Is it possible to be efficient in my relationships? Can we do it? Should we do it?
My hunch is that it doesn't work terribly well to try to be efficient when it comes to building a good relationship with someone. Think about it - how would you feel if someone said to you, Hey I really care about you and that is why I'm going to try to be really efficient in the way I give you hugs - so can you please let me know only when you REALLY need a hug so I can make sure I am maximizing the way I show you I care? This way I will not be wasting too much of my own time or energy and you will still have all the hugs you need!
That sounds crazy, right?! Now maybe that is a poor example of what efficiency in relationships actually looks like. It is certainly possible there are ways for us to be efficient with each other that are mutually beneficial. But I think for a relationship to truly thrive, efficiency is not going to be the defining factor. And it might even end up getting in the way.
But here's the next problem - if we are living in a world where we're continually trying to become more efficient, how on earth do we keep that mentality from seeping into our relationships?
Well, wouldn't it be ironic if I had an efficient way for us to do this? Alas, I do not. However, I do have one thing that I think will be a key component - prayer. And now for some more irony: prayer might not be terribly efficient either. Jesus did talk about not babbling on when you pray, so in that way perhaps there is a touch of efficiency that comes into play.
Overall, though, I'm afraid we're going to be missing something if our goal in prayer is to be efficient. After all, when it comes down to it, prayer is about our relationship with God. And the reality is, relationships are not efficient.
Pray with me...
.... God, help us to build relationships with You and others that are more than just "efficient"
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 1 Peter 1:22
... Father, in all our relationships, would You fill us with more of Your love and show us how to share it with others
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Philippians 1:9-11
... Lord, give our leaders wisdom to know how to keep good relationships at the center of the ministry of ACSD
Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalm 25:4-5
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for Alliance Christian School District! Lord willing, I plan to publish a new blog post weekly on Wednesdays throughout the school year. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you'd like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published. We also have a prayer team that is always open for new pray-ers to join. If you'd like to learn more, email me at email@example.com.
~ Carrie Warner, ACSD Prayer Team Coordinator
Soli Deo Gloria To God alone be the glory