Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Building the relationship that you’ve always wanted…

Relationships aren’t about power but that's exactly how we use them. With God, we want Him to bless us, heal us, do it our way and in our timing. And boy do we throw a huge tantrum when it doesn’t work like that. What happens in the relationships we have with our mates, children, friends and parents? Oh, it’s very much the same.

When I think about my motives and watch them, I see that I tend to operate along these lines. I have to continually check myself to know where my heart is.

Those attitudes, “control and selfishness” are a core problem within our relationships. While none of us wants to acknowledge that we really behave like that, we all do, and we come to realize the difficulty of change.  

So how do we change something that is so deep-rooted?

With an an open heart and a willing spirit, God promises us that "all things are possible through him who helps us". 

A great start would be to acknowledge that we would rather be heard than to take the time to listen. Listening is a beautiful quality and it’s why I’m going to point out that we have 2 ears and 1 mouth. It implies that we need to listen twice as much as we talk.

Recently my husband and I argued about a selfish attitude we saw in each other. During our discussion *cough* fight *Cough* we were bent on each other hearing the other out. 

It took little time to realize we were getting angrier and louder. If we allowed it to continue, we would soon have regressed to the cold shoulder and stewing unkind words in our minds leading to unresolved, unforgiving issues between us. Sound familiar?

The desire to be heard is so strong, it takes a great deal of staying power to stop arguing in the middle of flared emotions! It’s important that we stop to listen, that we validate the other. 

Selfishness prevents us from seeing truth in our situation, so if we can step outside of the selfish attitude, we usually find that the other has a valid point!

I began to see positive changes in my relationships after I asked God to help me see me with truth. I was aware there was a need for change and I wanted change but had no idea how to bring it about. My intial prayer was many years ago and back then I knew I wasn’t perfect, but had the false notion I was close enough to it. So God had his work cut out.

I'm not proud that I still have undesirable selfish moments, but... If you and I stay watchful of our thoughts, and stop selfishness in it's tracks, we should be able to carry out these next steps successfully.  

I practice listening in every relationship I have. I listen first then ask questions about them. I am not quick to share about me yet, that comes later. Remembering, as a servant, my needs are last.

In any conversation, I do not plan what I’m going to say while listening. I empty my mind and truly listen. In a fight, I validate their concerns. I might repeat their complaint back to them to make sure I understand. I discuss the matter at hand only and do not bring up past wrongs.

I don't yell back when they are yelling at me. We often don’t know what to do with ourselves when we aren’t defending “us”. It’s uncomfortable to just stand there, but it’s what I do. When they are done yelling, I ask if we can calmly discuss it.

Above all, I separate love from the things I am angry about, in another words, I never use love as a weapon. An example of doing so would be to say something like, “I don’t love you. I am angry at what you did”.

Instead, I reassure the one I’m talking to, that I love them in spite of the fact that I’m mad; that my love has not and will never change.

There is so much to say on this, but I hope this will give you a great start. Feel free to contact me if you have questions. I am happy to help in any way that I can.

God’s word brings life. So, I wanted to leave the best part for last.

Romans 12:1-2

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

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