Who Do I Have to Be?



"It could all be so simple
But you rather make it hard
Loving you is like a battle
And we both end up with scars"

"Tell me who I have to be to get some reciprocity.
See, no one loves you more than me.
And no one ever will."

Tell me who I have to be...” These are the lyrics from "Ex-Factor," and Lauryn Hill, one of my most favorite artists. (Can you believe that this is 20 years old??) This cut is from the album "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill." In ’97 I lived and breathed by this album. I wore it out.  I was reminded of the song for a couple of reasons. One, was my "Never give up" sign in my den, and two was going outside after dropping my kids off at school. Sounds interesting, right? 

It was crazy; I put my keys down, immediately walked out my back door, and I took in the morning air. The word “reciprocity” popped into my head. That word, "reciprocity" always makes me think of Lauryn; It just does. Her lyrics were so meaningful and powerful to me as a teenager back then. She was deep, ya'll! After that,  the phrase, “reciprocity equals relationship” slapped me in the face, right along with the balmy weather we're having right now. What does that mean?? Why am I thinking about this, I asked myself. Then I remembered. It’s directly related to my last blog post Share Yo’ Selfie. You are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made. The response was incredible. People really struggle with being ok with loving themselves enough to share. 


I received so many messages from people thanking me for the post because the reality is, we don’t love ourselves!! Why do we not love ourselves? What is it? One "why" I found: love and relationship. We don't know how to have genuine relationships; with God, with ourselves, or with friends and family.

I had to search my own heart and I found that I don’t always love myself. To be honest, I haven’t always loved God the way I should. Say what?!?! Yep..real deal truth folks. Let me clarify. News flash..I haven’t always been saved and I have acted like a crazy person and made horrible decisions in my life and I have NOT honored God with the life I have been given. Even AFTER being saved, I have acted a fool and my life has not glorified God. But guess what….He has LOVED me anyway; ANYWAY!!! I have felt guilty about grace. I have felt guilty about the mercy that has been given to me… I have felt unworthy of His love and you know what, that has had a direct effect on the relationships in my life. 

Want to know something I am learning about myself?  Here it is: how I love God, how I trust Him, and how I interact with Him is exactly how I am with those around me and those I love. DING, DING!! Aha moment, right?? We have to realize that reciprocity equals relationship. It probably seems like that should be the other way around, but I don’t think so. Watch this. 

The Meaning

Reciprocity is the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit, especially privileges granted by one country or organization to another. A mutual dependence, action or influence. The latin word is “reciprocus” which means “moving back and forth”. It’s  actually a business oriented word. Reciprocity was a word describing movement of goods.

Relationship is the state of being connected or related. The mutual dealings, connections or feelings that exist between two parties, countries, people etc. Mutual is a key word in these definitions. See it’s a business thing. People tend to take things more seriously when it’s business. They tend to follow through because there are high stakes involved; currency, sacrifice, something that is valuable is at stake. 

Reciprocity equals relationship for me especially when it comes to what God has done; for me..for us. Let me walk you through it: The transaction was a life for a life-God sent His son, Jesus, to die for me so that I may live. (John 3:16) Jesus did something that I could never do. Transparency moment here- as much as I love my children I could never die for them because I am too selfish to ever have to leave them. I would want to stay with them forever to make sure they were ok, but Jesus saw the Father’s will for us, His children,  and He knew it was necessary! I am limited in my thinking but Jesus knew that God was all knowing. The exchange was made for a mutual benefit. My life was worth dying for BEFORE I was created so that I COULD be created to bring Him Glorrrrrrrey….whoa! Mutual benefit. He knew me before I knew myself and He still allowed me to be here despite knowing me, good gracious!! Do ya’ll see what God did?!? He knew me and still cared. He sent Jesus, who was flawless, to die so I, flaws and all, could live to bring Him glory (PRAISE BREAK!!!) That is what I was created to do; worship and bring Him praise. (Isaiah 43:7, Rev 4:11)

The Process

When we realize we are good enough for God,  we can then realize we are worth living. Living means we are being. When we are “being” we are ok with who we are. We don’t have to live, look like, or be like anyone else because we are made in His image. Acts 17:28 tells us that it is in Him we live, and move and have our being. We are His offspring. So if we take the time to look deep inside ourselves we find God and when we do that, we are satisfied with who we are; because He is everything and there is no need for anything else. 

So I leave you with these lyrics once more to ponder. I often wonder if God isn’t saying this to us sometimes.…all He wants is a little reciprocity. When we love Him and I mean really LOVE Him, we love ourselves. Never give up. It's a process, but we can do it.  He trusted us to, that's why He died for us. Believe that. 

"Tell me who I have to be
To get some reciprocity
See no one loves you more than me
And no one ever will…."

(me whispering) Thank you, Lord…