We blinked and February is done! It's been so refreshing to see the response to this month's discussion on relationships. As we shared back at the beginning of this month, relationships are something to think of beyond the constraints of romantic love and Valentine's Day. Our lives are impacted by relationships all day, every day. We interact with our significant others, our friends, our family, our coworkers, even total strangers. Every point of contact is also an invitation to relationship, so we should be so diligent in making sure our definition of relationship falls in line with God's.
As Catherine Gates said in her interview with us this month, we were all created in God's image to be in relationship with each other. He didn't want Adam to be alone, so He certainly doesn't want the rest of His children to be, either! But in our quest to find that "perfect" relationship, we may end up destroying what God wants by trying to make relationships into what we want.
It is also vitally important to know and have a relationship with yourself before you can have healthy relationships with others, as Diane discussed in her blog last week. You can't expect a relationship with someone else (family, friends, or colleagues) to grow and thrive if you don't know what you can bring to the table and offer to that other person in return.
Here, at the end of our relationships discussion, ask yourself these questions:
- What do I do that qualifies me as a good friend?
- Who would come at the drop of a hat for me in a time of need?
- Would I go to someone at the drop of a hat if they were in need?
- Is my relationship with God my top priority, or have I placed other relationships ahead of Him?
- Have I prioritized relationships with others at all?
"A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity." Proverbs 17:17
Society tells you that you can do it all and under your own power. But that could not be further from the truth. We need relationships in our lives for good times... and also for the bad. God thought it was such a bad idea for Adam to be alone that He created another person, another gender! You don't know how your life will unfold. You don't know when you will need a shoulder to cry on in a time of devastation. You don't know when you will have a child or promotion to celebrate and need the rallying and excitement of friends around you. You don't know when you will be faced with a life-altering decision and will deeply need the mentorship and insight of a trusted peer. Don't deprive yourself of one of life's greatest joys by convincing yourself that you're a lone horse.
Relationships are broken because we as people are broken. We are all flawed; nothing and no one is perfect. The sooner you accept that reality, the sooner your relationships will see a change for the better. Don't put the unbearable yoke of perfection on your marriage, your kids, or your friendships. They don't deserve that pressure because they will never live up to it. You don't deserve that self-imposed disappointment because you will never feel fulfilled in your relationships with unrealistic expectations.
"And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds..." Hebrews 10:24
How will relationships today strengthen and multiply? By all of us not waiting for everyone around us to change and become better people, and instead becoming the change we want to see. Do you want good solid relationships in your life? Be a good solid person. Don't wait around for others to come to you and enrich your life. Support your significant other without condition. Build up your children and provide them with the confidence of a loving and patient parent. Go out of your way to be a source of joy and peace in the lives of your friends and coworkers. Seek out ways to inspire and encourage those around you to love and be good people, and soon you will find yourself in strong and lasting relationships all focused around creating community that brings glory to the Creator. Those are the kinds of relationships we've all been waiting for.
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