“Sometimes relationships grow stronger through conflict. But other times relationships end. Because I can’t control the other person, I must keep focusing on the good God is working out in me through this and leave the outcome with Him.” -Lysa TerKeurst
Would you agree with Mrs. TerKeurst? I do, and suppose I always would have. I especially agree with the first word in her statement – SOMETIMES. Discussing relationships in this way has most people referencing romantic or familial types, but let’s put all other relationships on the table as well. Some statements I’ve heard/read recently, followed by some thoughts off the top of my head, are below. Feel free to chime in.
Every relationship is worthy of a saving effort. Eh, that’s gonna’ be a big “no” from me. There will be some relationships that shouldn’t have begun forming in the first place. End those toxic ones and reflect on them, but try not to dwell on any mistakes made. Now for those relationships that aren’t exactly wrong, perhaps you and others need to put forth effort to create healthy communication, etc.
Every person you enjoy being around is capable of having a healthy relationship with you. Let’s not be naive. Whether through a series of choices or an inability to move beyond past events, we aren’t all in a position to contribute to every kind of relationship in the way we should. Some folks need some serious therapy, others may need to forgive and let go of the past, and still others may choose to live a lifestyle that will never mesh with your own (even if they are the jolliest fellows around).
We are products of our childhoods, and cannot veer too far from the relational course set for us by whomever was responsible for our upbringing. Again, therapy can be helpful here, but only if one wants it. Personally, my Lord and Savior pulled me out of my own mental mess. Over time I was able to forgive. I learned what true love really is (that’s another post for another day). I was able to accept the shortcomings of others due to becoming VERY aware of my own – that right there is a humbling experience. Not long ago, I began accepting myself as I am, in this moment. It is difficult to focus on and care deeply for others when one’s own insecurities are plaguing their minds. This is a good place to say that what some go through can only be described as hellish. Let’s not discount the long journey they may have as they learn to relate comfortably.
To feel fulfilled, we need a certain number of certain kinds of friends. The number of pals you have doesn’t define you. The kinds of friends you have? Well, that’s going to say something about you, but it’s not everything. The need for fulfillment in social settings can be telling, so look closely. Are you consistently cravings a “getaway”? Do you always feel the need to escape? Are all those same-gender nights out really a “need”, or just an excuse to make up for something you feel that you are lacking in your life? Is one of the primary goals in your life to be entertained and/or be entertaining? Do you use others to fill space and time in your life that you wouldn’t know what to do with otherwise? Lastly, if someone privately thought of you as a resource/time-filler/fun-bringer/gossip-sharer and not much else, how would it make you feel? Just something to consider.
Whatever relationships I seek out or find myself in, I hope to remember to examine my true intentions often. Nothing is allowed into my life that the Almighty doesn’t have full knowledge of, and I need to rest in that fact. Perhaps the hardest thing is to remember to love. When I am challenged in my convictions – love. When I feel put down and unworthy – love. When I feel superior – love. When I am hurting for others, or have been deliberately hurt – just love.
The Greatest Gift 1 Corinthians 13:1-13
1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.