I spent years defining myself by relationships. I questioned how important I really was by that silenced friend who never returned my calls. I tied so much of my worth in the thoughts of my husband or the lack there of. I was the queen of second guessing every word that came out of my mouth. I was in essence trapped in a unhealthy cycle of earning love and validation from others, who had no ability to carry that weight. It was a self-destructive and self-serving way of viewing life. If God had not stepped in, I would still be trapped.
But, you see, God never leaves us wallowing in our own self-inflicted prison cells. I didn’t know it at the time, but He was pursuing me and had no intention of me remaining in my single-mindedness. God came to me but He came through a series of trials, as He often does. Through these trials, He showed me that I was putting my relationships with my spouse and friends ahead of the most important relationship, my relationship with my heavenly Father! My husband and my friends could not be God to me nor should they. And, as I began pursuing Jesus, I came to find that one of the biggest themes of the entire Bible is relationships! Two relationships in fact! Read this excerpt from Matthew 22:
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. vs 37-40
So, in essence our entire being was created for relationships! The first being our relationship with the Lord and the second being with our neighbors. If we want to live our best lives, we must first pursue a close relationship with God. What does that mean in practical terms? Well think about any other close relationship. You spend time with them. You learn everything you can about them. You talk to them. You listen to them. When it comes to God we do the same! We pray, read and study His words to us in the Bible, we apply His word to our lives and our hearts and we invite Him into our homes, our families, and our days.
Secondly, we start looking at our relationships with others in a different light. For years I would get hurt or sad when my friends let me down, but as my faith matured, I came to realize that I needed to be the kind of friend to others that I wished they were to me. I started to love with no expectation attached. If I was feeling unloved because a friend hadn’t reached out to me, I would reach out to them! More often than not, they were struggling and just needed someone to step in and say, “I’m here and I care.”
I also had to learn to look at relationships with others not as a venue to attain worth or importance, but as opportunities to pour love and encouragement out on others. Relationships can be hard but at the same time, some of the most rewarding life lived is life that revolves around loving God and loving all of the people that He puts in our path! Give it a try and you’ll be amazed at what God does in and around you!