Building relationships...




Building relationships with people is easy. Let me rephrase that. Building relationships with people is hard. Man was not created to be alone. We were created for community and anyone you meet without that community inherently lacks much in the blessing department of this life.

I suppose building relationships can become easier, as it can be a natural outflow of the love we have in our hearts. But, to say it's an easy process would be somewhat deceptive. Here are some things I've noticed:

* We have to get over ourselves. If I submit to my introverted nature, I'm not willing to put myself out there for the fear of rejection or just plain laziness. Often I've experienced a great relationship boost with someone just by sharing something about myself against my better judgment. I'll typically err on the side of divulging too much information about who I am for the possible benefit of a sparked connection. It's tough, and it's scary, and sometimes it doesn't work out...but it's worth it. I can't tell you how many guys I've told something along the lines of "Yeah, I've really had serious struggles with pornography over the years." Only to have that guy call me a couple weeks later to start the process of getting some help.

* We have to reach further. My friend Lee has always commented on the painting of God and man on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It would seem that God is outstretched entirely reaching with all His might to make contact while Adam leans back casually, only to barely lift his left hand. Wow, what an effort Adam. This is not uncommon. There will almost always be a catalyst for the relationship and that has to be us. If we get ourselves into a place of thinking, well they don't even try to make this work...it's like a one way attempt. - YOU'RE RIGHT! They probably don't know how to make it work. Maybe they're shy. Maybe they haven't experienced good friendships and they're slow to trust. They need extra prompting and you're the person to provide it. We must be willing to sacrifice our pride for the amazing thing that will replace it.

* We have to do it again and again. When I'm shot down from someone in some way my inclination is to write them off. My heart becomes a little harder and I'm even slower to try again with someone else. It's been said that we must keep our hearts soft and allow our feet to become hard. A calloused heart is no good at all, but the callouses on our feet let us walk even further on this journey. Someone screwed you over? Forgive them. Restore the relationship as best you can. Release their throat from your grip. You put yourself out there only to be squished? Try again. Get creative and love them where they are. Put the ball in their court and let them know that you're there whenever they're ready. A soft heart and hard feet. The journey is the destination.

P.S. - I called my mom yesterday and wished her a happy Mother's Day. I've not done that in a few years. We talked for about 15 minutes and it was good.

11 waggish utterances thus far...:

DanThoms said...

Ok ok, I'll invite you to come see my house. Seriously though this is a good blog. I've never thought about how lazy Adam is being in that picture. Way to make an effort Adam.

Anonymous said...

last night a friend reminded me there was still time to "work out" an uncomfortable issue with a family member. how important are relationships? is it ok to stew on the feeling of a hurt emotion just for the satisfaction of being right. i remember the morning arter ebenezer's three visits that night. the feeling that he still had time to make things right is much more than just a liberating opportunity... its...the energy of heaven. how important are relationships
...give a thought to your best friend, now your worst enemy. what makes them who they are to you.

DanThoms said...

Ps. I've never experienced community like all of you. Its an amazing thing and I can't believe that I lived for so long without it. I thank God that he placed me where I now am.

melanie said...

Duh, Adam can't get up because he is being weighted down by his ginormous...
muscles...

And, on the phone call, I am proud of you ~ well done

Matt said...

wow... i feel like adam right now.
and yet i'm speechless...

Anonymous said...

interesting you should mention the part about your mom. I have been on very strained relationship with my dad for most of my life. A few weeks ago, I heard a guy on tv talking about forgiveness...who do you need to forgive? I thought I had forgiven, but maybe I hadn't. So, I tried really, really hard to let things go, even though I wanted to hang on to my sore spots and keep poking them to remind me that they hurt. As I started to let go, God started doing some stuff. So, kind of like you, I had a decent conversation with my dad, like I can't remember having. Love wins.

melanie said...

Oh yeah, how did your garage sale go? I know Dan got everything he ever wished for, but did you fulfill anyone else's dreams?

Anonymous said...

Hey Melanie, Adam may have ginormous muscles but a tiny pee pee. Tee hee tee hee!

melanie said...

That's what I was trying to say, but yet, not get in trouble for saying it!

Not Too Old said...

This is the first time I've read your blog, through ThePioneerWoman.com. You have no idea how hard this one hit me...
http://notoldjustseasoned.blogspot.com/
You are so right about keeping your heart soft. I didn't with my sister, and now I have no more chances in this life.

Anonymous said...

Muuuuch easier said than done... perhaps someday I'll give it a try :)
Kudos to you if you can manage it!