Relationships are one of the hardest pieces about adult life. No longer are you allowed to stomp your foot, stick your tongue out, and run away screaming when things aren’t going your way. As an adult there are much higher expectations on how you handle your anger, frustration, or fears. We are not able to run away crying, although I’m sure some of us have our versions on this. A healthy relationship requires one to be in the hard place, feel it, acknowledge the ick is there and an actual thing, then calmly approach the issue with resolution in mind. This is much harder than running away crying!
It’s interesting to me how God created us to be in relation with him and Jesus modeled for us the idea of being in relation with others, yet each one of us are wired SO differently. Its like he knew it would be an area that would stretch and grow us. I recently heard that maybe the hard things in life are there because it’s known by the creator that it will enable us to be more than we already are.
Because we all give and receive love in so many different ways and because we all have our own baggage things can get really messy really fast. In my middle school days I went through friends like it was a full time job, I don’t know why but for whatever reason I would become close with one then either her or I would decide we weren’t right for each other. Having that in my past for sure carries in to my current relationships, its like waiting for the ‘ya we’re done here’ brush off.
The other day I was getting ready for my women’s bible study I help lead at our church, we were starting something brand new, splitting the group in two separate groups for discussion time. Its something we put off as long as possible but with 40-50 women in one group its time, it was time long ago. I am leading one group and our other leader is taking one, I let the other leader come up the plan on how to actually split the group which meant I was in the dark. All morning I’m getting ready and I’m thinking thoughts like “what if no one wants to be in my group? What if they all want the other but then see I’m standing all alone and come over to me out of pitty? What if no one likes me, I do have bad RBF, I’m working on it but it’s there and a thing.” Thankfully I’m in a place where I can acknowledge when a fear is stupid. And I did, but it doesn’t take away the fact that it was a real feeling. I think it aides in proving how tricky relationships are and how we bring our own personal issues in to each one even if we don’t try to! (The other leader had a great plan lined out where no one had to chose, my fear didn’t play out.)
Here’s the thing. I don’t think this is God’s original plan for us. Relationships are hard, but when we get out of our way and cling to and apply the fruits of the spirit in our relationships we can live a much fuller life, one filled with depth! Imagine if we all applied a little of each of these things in our lives over the course of the year? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. What if we believed that friend said something with a heart of love rather than evil intentions, what if we had self control, even in the hard times with our significant others? Imagine our relationships filled with joy and peace! And for all the moms patience with our kids.
The news is filled with so much sadness, hatred, and loathing you know what, there is an extreme amount of pain in our world and individual lives. There seems to be a theme going on thats centered around love, just love everyone. That’s awesome! But what if we tried for more than that? What if a handful of us started small, in our individual circles, extending the grace that maybe we really don’t want to extend. Or day by day worked at showing a smidgen more self control with our spouses, like not flying off the handle if they leave their dirty clothes on the floor again. Or respecting that we are wired differently and my passions wont be your passions. Even acknowledging and operating with the heart of its not all about me. What a difference we could make in our circles! Many of us long to be world changers, not all of us will be, but we can change the world for those around us.
Our world is filled with sadness, however there is also so much beauty we can find. Our relationships can be a piece of that beauty.