Disclaimer: I AM NO GURU/EXPERT. I’M JUST SHARING MY EXPERIENCES AND THE LESSONS I LEARNED. THE FEATURED IMAGE IS NOT MINE EITHER.
The only scripture I will give word for word is this:
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
I gave that scripture verbatim as you will read that I support a lot of what I learned by scriptures throughout this post. The goal is for the reader to seek and confirm the accuracy of those scriptures by actively engaging in the word. For those who don’t regularly read the bible, this is a good way to start. The point is to create a healthy habit of bible study all while engaging with me and learning from my own personal experiences and seeing how God moved through them to teach me. There are a lot of Gurus and “experts” out there just giving their opinions. God’s word however is the only word that will stand forever (Isaiah 40:8).
With that said, here are 5 lessons I learned in relationships, whether it was platonic or progressed to more than:
Be honest and upfront. Both go hand in hand. It saves both parties involved a lot of time. It’s less friction. And whatever the result, there may be understanding in the end. I say maybe because you may be in one place mentally while the other is not depending on the situation, that is okay.
They will never be Jesus. This is a lessons that I am constantly being reminded of. Which is the reason why God insists that we love him first, then ourselves, and THEN others. Mark 12:28-31 I have come to understand that no matter how high of a standard I hold my relationships, I have to understand that we are human and the same way I have weaknesses, so does the other person involved. I can be hard on those I love and that has shown me how hard I can be on myself (hence the scripture above). I’m learning to self reflect and to take it easy on myself, so that I am in a head space to do the same towards others as Jesus does for me (ALL THE TIME).
To love the rose is to embrace its thorns. Now this is a step further from the previous lesson, like in the next dimension. This is stepping into intentional relationships. Going in it for the long haul. Being willing to stick it through, again whether with friends or a significant other. In 2 Corinthians 12:6-10, the Apostle Paul speaks about moving in his purpose but still having troubles which he referred to as a “thorn in his flesh”. He asked God multiple times to remove it, but God reminded him that his grace was all he needed because his power works best in weakness.
The “thorn” or the weakness plays a role in our walk with Him. It keeps us humble or we’d only go to God when a thorn is there. The weaknesses or (speaking for myself), personal character traits in ourselves or what we see in others that we deem as flaws, our shadows of the past, or skeletons in the closet are the thorns. But God is constantly doing a work in us, for when we are weak (going through those torments like Paul), God’s strength is made perfect and his glory shines. If you read the first five verses of chapter 12, Paul says he could boast about the blessings, but it would do no good. People would look to Paul as being in control when in fact it was God’s strength that allowed him to carry out such great things. So, he is adamant on shining a light on God. The work he does in us, allows us the power to control our strongholds. As we stay in communion with him, he will constantly have power over those thorns.
For me personally, as I drift out of God’s presence from time to time (and we all do as believers), I can tell because the power feels like it has gone tranquil in my body (it never dies as I know he is always in me). The strongholds I once had power over, are overtaking me again. When I am confused, it’s like God is there but I left him behind, and I have run ahead of him trying to figure it out on my own. When I finally realize it, I turn back to him, and he is. There where I left him, patiently waiting like the gentleman he is. This is how he humbles us, that thorn when we realize it was piercing at our flesh, should cause us to check ourselves. It is all in how you view the thorn. It can either be a burden or a reminder. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10 KJV) comes to mind because I can’t do anything without him. Nevertheless, I can do all things through Him that strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). Paul concludes his testimony with a changed perspective, now embracing his weaknesses and shining light on them. This is why it is important to be transparent as a believer who ministers to other believers because when with others your weaknesses, they see your strength (or rather God’s strength in you) and are encouraged by the blood of the lamb and the power of your testimony (Revelation 12:11). This also relates back to Mark chapter 12 as quoted above, when you love and seek God first, you understand his heart posture, this gives you the proper insight on how to fully love yourself, and then love on someone else (that friend, significant other, child, etc.), as he loves us.
“Your testimony is healing for another.”
If you can’t handle their past, don’t put them on a pedestal. Now this is yet another dimension of relationships. You see the imperfections of the other person involved, now you have to ask yourself, “Can I handle what they bring to the table where they are right now? If so, am I willing?” If you’re like me, you tend to jump into things too fast. You tend to attach to one’s potential. You dive heart first into the situation ready to build and fix. The rose lenses is my stronghold. But that’s just it. We are not going into relationships to fix or change people; we are there to compliment or add to what God has already ordained them to be. But I have learned to start paying attention to, are they “ordained yet”? Or is it the “potential” I am fixated on. I had to learn to take off the rose lenses and look at what they are showing me right now. Can I handle that? Turning down your heart, and turning up your mind to the red flags is a must. If there are red flags, I’ve been doing both of us a favor and allowing God to close the book before the story is written that should’ve never been told. If it is too soon to tell, wait and allow the person to truly reveal themselves. This is not fun. Especially when you have to let go. I personally, didn’t realize my tendency to try to fix things that were not my place to. A generational curse that I have identified and have released to God. What I am learning to do is take my time, and really understand the person in front of me. If something doesn’t sit right with me, I go to work on my intentions understanding the person, and I pray about my understanding. Am I being judgmental or harsh? Is that generationa curse of trying to control everything trying to butt in or is this really a red flag that I have overcome and God is revealing to me in this new person (friend or new man). With sound judgement, I move accordingly. Proverbs 8:1 Relationships can be scary, but remember not to worry about anything but pray about everything that is on your mind (Philippians 4:6) Which brings me to my last tip:
Guard your heart. Proverbs 4:23 : Not obeying this scripture or taking the time to actively live out this this scripture is what gets me in the most trouble. I wear my heart on my sleeve, so instead of taking control of my thoughts, I allow my emotions to take hold of my inner thoughts and it is detrimental. I recently ended two relationships who I cared about deeply. Two friends, one we were exploring dating. Because I didn’t take the time to guard my heart, by grabbing control of bent up emotions, I allowed my mouth to write a check that I couldn’t cash. My intentions are always good but, because I didn’t proactively approach both situations with care, the relationships suffered as a loss.
Now I believe the ending of both were inevitable based on all the signs but, how it ended was up to me. I could’ve been obedient by writing out my feelings each time prompted and organizing my thoughts to strategize a care plan for both, but instead I allowed the thoughts of concern to fester in my mind.
“I don’t care what social media says about letting the relationships drop or fall off for whatever reason and being this hard independent person who doesn’t need anyone and not claiming to have friends, I mean that’s cool too if that’s you. To each its own. But if it meant something to you, you’ll feel it when it ends. And that’s okay. Just don’t lie to yourself. It does more harm than good.”
One relationship should’ve ended years ago but I wasn’t ready to let it go. So, I held on, bottling things in while I watched it dwindle away by the time I siad something, I was already out of it. Made peace with myself and understood we were just growing apart. But by the time I made them aware, they were completely blindsided. Because lack of communication and fear of confrontation because I held on to what was (the thorn in my flesh), my lack of faith in God, killed any understanding that person could’ve gained had I intentionally worked at the friendship and put my all into it. But it was in this ending that the mirror was turned on me and I saw myself for who I was what these thorns were doing to me and my relationships. Sometimes God will allow things to happen for the blessing in the lesson. Lesson learned.
In these two friendships, noticed same problem presented itself in different ways— I love how the holy spirit reveals “cycles” during a trial. I say all this to say that if we don’t get those thorns in check, we’ll never receive what God has for us. And sometimes he’ll check us in ways we would never expect. God is dope like that but I digress.
In his Damaged Goods Series, Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church said this:
There are 3 parts of us: Soul, Body, and Spirit
The realest version of you was made a spirit. Where the intent of the thing is not known, abuse is inevitable.
Even though the spirit was made first, the soul and body usually respond first. This is our flesh and emotions/feelings we have to grab a hold of and keep in check) and wait for the spirits response/holy spirit (the first creation of us hence Genesis 1:26 NLT “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us”. This was while God was still creating Earth in the first week, when he thought of Adam.
“We all have damaged goods, but God can’t heal what you act like doesn’t exist.”
– Pastor Michael Todd of Transformation Church
I really want to engae with you guys. What are some lessons that you have learned from your everyday relationships? If you resonated with this, please like, comment your thoughts, and share to 3 other people. Relationships are one of the most important blessings God has given us and we can’t do life without others! Take care.
Until next time,