Let’s take a look.
This series that Alex and I are starting is aimed at one thing: Re-evaluating who you are, how people see you, and how you see yourself. This has been a topic that we have discovered together and is very important to a healthy relationship, as well as a healthy life.
So, let’s take a look at your relationships.
First I want to define our definition of this. I don’t want you to just think of your relationships as just your boyfriend, your girlfriend, or your married partner. While those are relationships, I want you to think more of these as any person you have come into intentional contact with, whether that be friends, family, classmates, or anyone you see or interact with regularly.
I grew up with a good family. My mom worked at a hospital, and eventually she became a Registered Nurse and is now a clinic coordinator. My dad worked as a Security Officer at a hospital in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and is now a Police Officer. They were great to help guide me in my adolescent teenage years, thankfully, but it wasn’t easy.
Now, you might remember from my previous blog post the comments I made about how bad I treated the people around me. Well, I am going to bring that back to discuss further. I treated people horribly when I was younger, and from what I remember, I was not a fun person to be around.
I had a few girlfriends here and there, which I would say were not the healthiest relationships, but they weren’t anything that I would call serious. I made some stupid mistakes in those, and I regret a lot. But the one thing I learned from them, is that everything happens for a reason, as cliche as it sounds. We learn from mistakes, and we forgive and forget, and there will always be a tomorrow. I have reconciled a lot of troubles in this area, and though I treated a lot of the people involved horribly, asking for forgiveness is something that will always make a difference.
In contrast to Jake’s experience, I didn’t really have a lot of relationships. I had my siblings, but they only liked each other. I often was excluded and that made me angry so we fought constantly. I sought friendships with kids at school but they never showed interest in getting to know me personally. I would invite a few girls to my birthday party but they never showed up, for several years in a row. I cried a lot as young kid, I felt so alone.
My parents loved me, but I never felt it because they only said it, they didn’t really show it. My dad would show love through paying for youth events or buying my favorite small food items, but he was emotionally unavailable and only understood things if they worked through his perspective. My mother worked at the hospital and so was physically drained when she was home. When she was around, I sought comfort from her. She is really the only one who showed continual interest and understanding.
Now that I’m older and more mature than I was then, I have better relationships with my brother and sister. There are still trust issues, but they aren’t the focus of our relationships anymore. I still see my mom as the closest family member, but my dad has tried to reach out and be more understanding lately and so our relationship has gotten much better.
Unfortunately, my friendships before coming to bible college were still pretty much nonexistent. I didn’t have friends to support me during my past sexual relationship and so I didn’t have anyone to really confide in or to trust. In the last blog I mentioned how I came to trust Jake and how that worked out. But I have also been pursuing friendships with other people too. I realized lately that the reason I was often withdrawn and lonely is because I was always the person pursuing the friendship and the other people never showed interest in me. So in my friendships now I have trouble not seeking validation from others. I still don’t see the return of interest in getting to know me, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t like me. Since I have a pretty low self esteem, I place a lot of my value in whether other people want to get to know me personally.
I have been struggling to change this because I know that God is the only one who’s opinion really matters. It’s hard though because validation from others is more tangible than just knowing Christ values me highly. It is a daily struggle to not just know this truth, but to believe it in my heart as well. To remember that I am loved by God and he is the one whom I should seek validation from daily.
Going along what with Alex was talking about with her family, that is the one thing I want to end with.
Your family can be your rock in this crazy life. Your best friend, your shoulder to cry on, someone to keep you completely sane, or at least someone to deal with your insane self. Yet, for a lot of people that I interact with, this seems to be a bitter subject. I have generally healthy relationships with most of my family, most.
Tragedy can strike a family hard, and it can test those relationships you have together. Whether it is divorce, alcohol, or it’s just small family quarrels about Christmas decorations, or where Uncle Earl should stay after his parole. Family troubles are hard times.
I have a particular person in my family that I am thinking of. This is something that I have had on my mind the past few years. Now, no matter how close we might have been physically, as in location and proximity, we haven’t had a real conversation, or even intentional interaction in probably 10 years. It affects more than just me though. It affects our entire family as a whole. It’s not like it is a distant cousin that lives 3,000 miles away. I grew up with this person, I looked up to this person, and I lived with this person for 18 years. I am only 21, I’m sure you can do the math.
I am not telling you this for sympathy, or even to try and reconnect with that person, because that will happen in it’s own time. I am telling you this because I don’t want that for you. Think of someone, it doesn’t even have to be family, that has hurt you, or that you think you might have hurt. We might not even know. I mean, we may be aware, but we may hide behind the fact that we don’t like to acknowledge them.
So what feeling are you hiding behind? Who have you hurt? Who have you been hurt by? No matter what the price, no matter what the hurt or trouble has been caused, no matter how bad we might have treated our family or friends, there is always forgiveness.
Though it may be hard to forgive, Christ forgave us and loves us enough to be crucified on the cross to be that atoning sacrifice of our faith, so that we may have that second chance, and be forgiven! We all have fallen short of God’s glorious standard that he has set. Either way, God’s word has the inspiration for us.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-32
Love and forgive those who have wronged you, and ask for forgiveness, just as God has forgiven all of us. We do not take a lot of things with us when we go to heaven, but what we will take, is each other.