Relationships are one of the most important parts of anyone's life. They can bring a lot of joy, but at the same time cause pain. Everyone needs community, which I have found to be so true in my life, especially in the last couple of years. We can learn so much about ourselves through it. The Lord has really been working on me lately through relationships to help me go deeper in my walk with him, deal with any insecurities, and with any areas I need to grow in. So I just wanted to share a couple ways the Lord has been working in me, and what he has been teaching me.
The most important thing I have been learning is that I will not find complete satisfaction in anyone else other than the Lord. No matter how many friends I have, how much people like me, or likes I get on a status on Facebook, that is never going to satisfy me the way that Jesus will. I have had to learn this the hard way. I have struggled so much of my life with people pleasing, that is has been hard to let go of. But through disappointments, broken relationships, and imperfections in others and myself I have had to realize Jesus is my only source of complete worth. And by finding my worth in Christ, it has given me new freedom in relationships. It has helped me be graceful with others when I need to be, and heal from bad experiences. My reliance on the Lord has gone deeper. I still may struggle with people pleasing at times, but I have become more aware of when it happens, which helps me focus my attention back on the Lord again.
Effort is something that I am always going to have to put forth. I can't just expect things to fall into my lap. I need to step out and invite. It's ok to put myself out there. I might do something wrong at some point, and have to say sorry. Being vulnerable is part of a healthy relationship. And it will require work. But sometimes when you are willing to put yourself out there, you are hugely rewarded as a result. Maybe not every time, but you will enjoy relationships that are deeper and stronger.
Jealousy and envy will do nothing to help you or your relationships. I think if we are all honest, this can be one of the things that hinders us from real joy in relationships. I have had my share of times when I might not have been invited to something or have wanted to hang out with someone but couldn't. Fair isn't something that always happens. Others may have life better than me at times, and that is ok. I have really had to work on this. I want to celebrate when good things happen to others. If two people I really enjoy end up getting connected and hang out, that is great! If others have fun going out together to do something, that is ok too! Jesus has been showing me that not everything I have will be exactly the same as what others have. And that I need to see what blessings he has put in my life. So hard to realize, but so good.
I need others in my life. As a person who is pretty self-reliant, and an introvert, I am honestly ok a lot of times doing things on my own. I would like to think that I don’t need to rely on others, but I would miss out on so much if I didn’t. I can't tell you the amount of times I have been blessed by others because I have let them in my life, or let them help me out when I needed it. I have had to let go of my pride and ask for help, but it hasn’t made me less of a person. It has made me realize that we are made for community. We were created to do life together. It would be a lonely existence without others!
No matter how I feel about someone else, that doesn’t determine their worth. The Lord has made each person who has walked this earth in his image, and he loves them more than I will ever know. That means whoever I come in contact with should be treated as one who is loved and cherished by the Lord. That can be someone from my own family, or that I might come in contact with only once. It can be so easy to treat someone in a way that I feel about them. But as someone who loves Jesus, I cannot claim to follow him and not love others as a result. So I have had to ask the Lord to give me eyes to see others as he does, and the strength to love them in that way. I am not loved any less than anyone else, but I am not loved any more than anyone either. What a difference this can make in any relationship!
Relationships are hard no matter who it is with. But if we choose to live fully, experience, and work at them, we won’t be disappointed. What are some things the Lord has taught you through relationships with others? I would love to hear about it!