3 Ways to Build Relationships That Will Help You Grow

Robin Y. Greenlee, Acting Chief Risk Officer of MapleMark Bank in Dallas, TX, discusses how important it is to partner with others who can not only encourage you as you journey toward something new but will also keep you accountable as you push through opportunities to grow.

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You have taken flight on your journey of calling and purpose.

You’ve identified your next destination, and you’ve packed your luggage with many of God’s provisions (always an ongoing process).

But God’s journeys are rarely solo flights, even if they seem that way. Our God is a God of relationship, and that includes not only relationship with Him but also with one another. There are 43 “one another” commands in the New Testament to reinforce this idea of engaged, interdependent community that we were created for. 

Relationship is imbedded in God’s commandments to His people because it doesn’t just happen; it requires intention and action. And to be truly beneficial, it requires something else—accountability.

If you have been a believer for any length of time, you have probably heard the phrase “accountability partner.” You’ve probably even had one or more of them. But what does it really mean and why does it matter?

Dictionary.com defines accountability as “the obligation to explain, justify, and take responsibility for one’s actions.” The New Testament uses the phrase apodidomi logos for our phrase “to give account,” meaning to pay what is due, to discharge a debt, to render account or reckoning. It carries the weight not only of obligation or duty but does so in relationship. In other words, if we are accountable to someone, we owe them something, and they have the right of a judge to require it of us.  

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

Ephesians 5:21

There it is.

It is clear that divine relationship involves a holy obligation to one another, one that we willingly tie ourselves into. Thinking of accountability in these terms, it is easy to see only the weight of it and find it too daunting. But every discipline “produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who are trained by it.” (Hebrews 12:11) 

It’s better to have a partner than go it alone. Share the work, share the wealth.
And if one falls down, the other helps, But if there’s no one to help, tough!

Two in a bed warm each other. Alone, you shiver all night.

By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst.
Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (The Message

We intentionally pursue this holy obligation of divine accountability because it strengthens us to go farther and accomplish more than we ever could alone. It protects us from the onslaughts the world lashes at us. It picks us up to keep us going, and gives us a community in which to celebrate the victories we achieve together! It helps us focus on goals and fulfill our commitments whether at work, church, or home.

Once you know “what” and “why,” the next question is “how?”

  1. Seek out one or more trusted, like-minded friends to walk alongside.

We all should have a larger community of believers we worship, work, learn, and celebrate with. But this is your Board of Directors, your best friends, your confidantes. These are the few with whom you can be totally and safely transparent (and they with you) and who will be honest and open with you on the difficult subjects. Everyone needs at least one person who will tell you when you’re being an idiot – and love you anyway. If you don’t have one or more of these precious people, you will find some likely candidates in your local 4word Community Group or the Global Virtual Community. (Or perhaps it is time to start one in your area! We’d like to help!)

  1. Have regular open communication about what’s happening in your life.

This could be a weekly scheduled conversation or something less formal, but it must be consistent and ongoing. The point of accountability is to help keep us all on track, which means walking alongside, checking progress, seeing where you are in the journey, and helping make necessary adjustments as you go. How have you done in working toward your stated goals? Have you made time for the priorities you have committed to? Is your calendar filled with actions that fulfill your calling and purpose, or with other things? Accountability partners can help us see what we can’t see ourselves.

  1. Follow the ground rules.

Remember the “one anothers” we talked about? This is where they truly come into play. Accountability partners are those that love and care for you so that you can entrust then with all the truth – pretty and ugly. No subject is off the table. Submission is key to bringing the true benefits of Accountability. We give one another permission to point out the logs in our eyes and help remove them (Matt 7:3-5). We carry one another’s difficult burdens so we can be refreshed and restored (Gal 6:1-2). 

By submitting ourselves to one another in a loving community of wise and godly friends, if we “walk with the wise” (Proverbs 3:20), we will become wise and grow more and more into the image of God’s Son until “those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” (Daniel 12:4) 

Our Creator said it is not good for people to walk alone.  That includes you.

Robin Greenlee currently serves as Acting Chief Risk Officer of MapleMark Bank in Dallas, TX. She has 20+ years of experience in Lending, Credit and Risk Management as well as servicing in the community through financial education and non-profit Board service.  

Robin is also a long-time avid Bible teacher and student, currently teacher adult Bible Study and servicing on the worship team at Northwest Bible Church in Dallas. She loves to public speaking, writing, singing jazz, and visiting family in her native state of Alabama whenever possible.

Robin holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alabama and also attended the University of Montevallo. Robin is an effective communicator and problem solver, who loves to collaborate with others to achieve great results. This includes making an impact through mentoring, including serving through the 4word Women Mentor Program where she can make a difference in the lives of others.

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