Saturday, August 22, 2009


Ok, this is my last post on the topic of relationships. This topic is really at the center of everything we do in life, but I'm ready to focus on less complicated topics. Let's see what I've learned over the past 3 weeks.
1) Relationships are messy, painful, delightful, fulfilling and necessary.
2) My benefit from a relationship is directly related to my investment in the relationship, but the dividends may be way out in the future.
3) It is very difficult to avoid relationships. They may be good or bad, but there is usually a relationship somewhere in your life.
4) The other person(s) in the relationship play a major role in the quality of the relationship.
5) No relationship status is forever. Even my relationship with God changes +/-
6) My worth as a person is not determined by my relationship with other people.
7) My worth as a person is only determined by my relationship with God.
8) I have an influence on relationships with and between other people +/-

I have started a study in 1 Corinthians. This is a great book for me and my church right now. There have been several people/families leave our church for various reasons, and those left behind are starting to feel a bit worried. I even felt abandoned when my close friends decided to serve in a sister church. While their decisions was not a surprise, it still stung. I have several relationships in my life that are stinging right how. My relationship with my spouse, my children, my neighbors, my church and other groups I participate in.

Perhaps all of this is a test of my faith and where my loyalties lye. CHANGE seems to be a common thread running through all of my relational hardships. For some, the change is with the other person for the others, the change is within me or my resistance to change.

In ALL of my relationships, communication is the key that unlocks the barriers causing distress on the relationship. Unfortunately for me, those closest to me are the ones I have a hard time communicating with. Maybe it's because I have tried it before and it didn't work so I'm tired of trying. Maybe it's because I am afraid to rock the boat even more by expressing myself.

It seems a lot easier to help other people with their relationship issues because my emotions are not usually at stake. Recently, I agreed to mentor a young lady (teenager) who is taking extreme measures to get her ducks in a row and keep them there. She is living in an environment that totally supports those goals. As her mentor, I have thought deeply about what will happen to her and her ambitions when she is no longer living in that controlled environment. I felt scared for her. She has a good plan for her induction into uncontrolled environment living and I believe she has what it takes to accomplish her goals. The most important goal she'll need is the one to implement when the ideal goal fails or is harder than anticipated.

While the end goal is important, the process of getting to that goal by far more important. For it is all of the peaks and valleys one must walk through on the way to the goal.

Relationships are goals with people. The peaks and valleys we experience with that person flavor the relationship. Right now many of my relationships are very salty, sometimes even bitter, but there are some sweet moments.

What about your relationships? Sweet? Salty? Bitter? Bland? What sustains you through the unpleasant seasons of your relationships? Your relationship with God Almighty is the most important relationship you'll ever have. It is so important that, when we invite Jesus Christ into our hearts, God gives us His Spirit to assist us with this important relationship.

"For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual." 1 Cor. 2:11-13

I don't always understand what God is trying to teach me through my relationships, but I can rely on the promise mentioned above, that the Holy Spirit lives within me and will help me understand the thoughts of God. I believe that spiritual understanding will then make my other relationships more meaningful for we are all made in the image of God.

1 comment:

  1. Follower Sharleen wrote to me in response to this post:
    To go along with some of what you are saying: Pastor Donnie had a great visual today. I want to hang a bike wheel in my house to be reminded of it. A bicycle wheel: the rubber outside is how you want other people to see you-showing them the "best" side of you; the metal rim is the "real" you; all the spokes are what intertwines your life: family, friends, relationships, work, worship, etc. They are all intertwined with each other, supporting one another. The center is what holds it all together. With a strong, solid metal (God) the wheel spins in balance. The spokes need tightening every now and then, ocasionally even replacing one or two (by you and/or God). Try replacing the center with something not as solid-say a cardboard toliet tube (money, idolatry, whatever symbol you choose). Your wheel will move, but not very well. Spokes will fall out, loosen, your rim might get bent, etc. Keeping God at the center of every aspect of your life will inevetably keep the rest of your life running much smoother and in balance. How do you keep your core strong? That's next weeks sermon, which we won't be here for, but I''m sure gonna get a copy!