Keeping Connections Strong

Last week, the highlight for me was relationships.  My relationship with God, with my children, and, I’ve been taking notice of how people treat one another on social media as well.

My goal with God is that He becomes more real to me than my husband and children.  He already lives in me so there is no such thing as getting closer, but greater intimacy is what I am after.

I was talking with some of the teens from our youth group about practical ways we can grow in intimacy with the Lord.  We all took pause after I mentioned how we tend to do more talking than listening with God.  I illustrated this by pretending to call Him on the phone.  I asked Him what He feels I should do about such and such, and what He thinks. However, instead of pausing for an answer, I hung up the phone.  This is how many treat God.  Some insist that He doesn’t speak to them, but are they really listening?  Is time set aside to just be with Him, basking in His presence, receiving from Him instead of making requests or talking incessantly? If we treated the people we see in front of us the same way we have often treated God, would we have friends?  Would people want to be around us?

My relationship with my children is another very important one to me.  I don’t hesitate to discipline them when I need to, but, I have lots of fun with them too.  I am big on respecting children.  I refuse to give more consideration, benefit of doubt, respect and patience to other adults or people period, than I am willing to give my very own children.  I don’t make every mistake they make about me and focus on how it makes me feel.  I’m more concerned with helping them learn and grow, and in doing so, it helps me to learn and grow as well.  If they do something that disappoints me, I don’t necessarily need to tell them that.  They know I’m not happy when they do something wrong.  I’m more concerned about why they thought to make the choices they made that led to doing wrong in the first place.  I want to get to the root of it and keep the connection I have with them intact.

This doesn’t mean we don’t ever get angry with one another, but it does mean that I treat them with the same respect I would treat anyone else with, if not more. I don’t have to make any declarations about being their parent, they know that, and, I am not just their parent, I am their friend also, at every stage of our lives together.  I don’t lord my position and authority over them as children and expect that when they become adults, things will magically change in our relationship and they will want to be my friend.  Why would they? I do my best to model Jesus’ example. He led with love and respect. Why should I do anything less?

With all that is going on in the world as of late, there have been many heated debates on social media and elsewhere.  I thank God that He has been showing me the enemy’s part in it all. I see how the enemy wants to pit us all against one another. Because of this, I am not all emotionally stirred up, fearful, and more.  I see and pray more effectively because He has given me the ability to come up higher and see the bigger picture and operate from an opposite spirit. After all Ephesians 6:12 says, “We wrestle not against flesh and blood…”.  We have to remember that only love can conquer hate.

The topic of honesty keeps coming up as well. I know people who know they are brutally honest. Some of them seem to take pride in it, not realizing that they are, a lot of the time, more brutal to others than honest.  In their quest to be and do right, they viciously mow over others hearts with their words, alienating people and making enemies in the process.  We must prioritize.  Do we care more about being in the right or our connections with our friends and family?  I am admittedly a very black and white type.  I don’t see a lot of grey.  I like things to be done in order and correctly.  I have pet peeves that center around so many different things like grammar, chewing loudly, music and more, but I value people so much more than I value the need to be right and tell others how they are wrong.  I want to strengthen my connections with people, not tear them down just to be “right” in this moment.  We need to value one another.  When it gets down to it, we all just want to love and be loved and respected.  We can do this. Let’s love one another better. Are you in?

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