If you have ever read any of my blogs, you know that I primarily write from a place of personal experience. I don't feel gifted enough or qualified to just write to write. I am not the most eloquent at expressing myself so I just keep it real.. This blog will be no different. This blog will be a little hard for me to write because it is very personal. But if it will help someone else, it will be worth the transparency.
This is a blog about relationships. Relationship is defined as the relation connecting or binding participants; a romantic or passionate attachment. We all have different kinds of relationships in our lives. There is the friendship kind, the family kind, the romantic kind. Each of us are built to thrive on the relationships in our lives. We need to feel connected. Relationships can make or break us. When they are good, they challenge us, accept us, love us unconditionally. When they are bad, they compromise us, reject us and love us based upon what we can do for someone else. We have all experienced both kinds. You would think we would learn from one bad relationship, but often that is not the case. Something in us craves the attention and affection from those who would withhold it from us or dangle it in front of us, just out of our reach.
The enemy is very cunning. He knows our weak spots. He knows what our heart is crying out for and he often disguises bad in the form of something that we want. I am reminded of the words of Proverbs 4:23 "Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." NIV. Notice it does not say mind it says heart. God knows that our heart is a powerful thing. Most of us have big hearts, unless your the Grinch, and even his grew three sizes in a day! :) I like the way the New Living Translation puts it "Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life." How many of us have been thrown off course in our life because of a relationship?
Relationships can speak healing to the hurting parts of us or they can take advantage of the same. I have struggled with feelings of worth and rejection since my divorce. I have felt loneliness in degrees that I have never known before. I have wrestled with the reality that I could be alone the rest of my life and never know the feeling of being "wanted" again. I know that God experiences this all with me and walks every step of this out with me. But the enemy is also keenly aware of this weakness in me and he seeks to exploit it. I am a confident person in most arenas of my life, except in this one. Do you know that he is a master of camouflage? That is an expert at the counterfeit. He can throw something in front of you that seems to be so real, but it is at best a cheap knock off of what God would desire to give to you?
Recently I found temptation in front of me in the form of a relationship with someone that was not close to me. This person would text me things that I so desperately wanted to hear. The words would make me have the warm fuzzies! Someone does think I am pretty! Someone could actually be attracted to me!! How nice it was to be wanted…to hear those words about me!! Things begin to be said that seemed to come straight out of a romance novel. And I won't lie. It felt good. My bruised and hurting heart and ego were drinking it up like a person who had been stranded in the desert without water. But there are lines that I have drawn for myself, lines I would not and will not cross. Conversations began to turn more graphic in nature and I was being asked to participate in these conversations. It was so tempting!! I mean who would know? Text messages could be erased. Who would it hurt? I deserved to be loved and desired don't I? And I feel it is important to point out here, it takes TWO to have a relationship. You have to engage to call it a relationship. That is where your ability to choose is put to the test!! But that is how the Devil does it, isn't it? He creeps in and begins to make you start to justify things. To compromise who you are.. To give a little to get something that you want. That is not how God works. True Love from God will never ask you to be something other than who you are. It will never require you to give something to get something. His love is given freely and without cost. He paid the cost so we wouldn't have to!! His love will not leave an empty gnawing feeling in your Spirit. It will fill you up, not deplete you.
And this is not just about romantic relationships. Some of us have allowed ourselves to align ourselves with friends that we know are not good for us. Friends who do not challenge us spiritually and who do not say anything when we compromise. They are glad to allow us to "turn off" our conscious and just have fun! Some of us have family members that are not good for us. They are family and we love them but being around them does not edify us or pour anything of value into our lives. Relationships can be building or they can be toxic!! The thing about toxic relationships is the "poison" is usually "odorless and tasteless" and we have indulged so much that it hurts us before we even realize what is happening.
What are you doing today to guard your heart? What relationships are you allowing to dictate the course of your life? Further more, what kind of friend, family member or spouse are you? Do you love unconditionally like Christ? Are people better off for knowing you? God desires that we all have great relationships in our lives. The first and most important one that we can ever have is the one we have with HIM. If we work on that one and we pour our hearts into knowing Him, we will be better equipped to have other relationships. His love will guide our hearts, will give us the words to speak, will give us wisdom in our choices. Having healthy relationships will heal the hurts, speak to the emptiness and loneliness and give us the courage to believe that God has even better for us!
Relationships are a part of life. We will all experience some good and some bad. But we have the power to choose the ones that we feed. We decide which ones we allow access to our hearts. Keep your eyes up and your guards on duty! Your heart is worth protecting. After all it belongs to the King of Kings. And He has great plans for it!! :)
In this thing called life with you my friends-