Are you thriving? Got relationships?
Who is your go-to person? Who is that person that you want next to you in your darkest, most gut-wrenching hour? Go ahead, please picture the face of someone before you proceed…
Why did you choose this person? Chances are your answer had something to do with: loyalty, dependability, solid Christian guidance and counsel, trustworthiness, honesty, faithfulness.
I would also posit that the person you chose is someone you have known for a while. We typically don’t learn that someone is loyal, dependable, wise, trustworthy, honest, or faithful until we have been through some of the hills and valleys and battles of life with him or her.
Sociologist Brene Brown’s research suggests that the only way to build connection with someone is to spend time together. And over time we become vulnerable, and through these vulnerable experiences we learn that we can trust this person. Then we have an authentic, solid connection.
Authentic relationships with solid connections cannot be rushed…they take time to build.
In our sometimes busy, hectic world this can be challenging. We feel guilty if we take time to play a board game with family or friends on a Sunday afternoon when there is laundry to be done and dinner to be cooked. Who has time for a slow, meandering walk with a loved one? Let’s walk briskly, get our steps for the day in and then move on to the next item on our list. Relationships take time.
We are a self-sufficient, independent society. We are supposed to be able to float our own boat; we shouldn’t have to need anyone. And yet, that is not how God designed us. In his Master plan we are all one body with many parts, and those many parts are inter-dependent. Like it or not, we need each other, we were designed that way.
In our flawed sin-filled world those relationships we crave will be imperfect. People will let us down and we will certainly disappoint others. That’s when we can be vulnerable. We can say, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” And similar to a broken bone that becomes stronger after it is healed, our relationships get stronger as they weather the storms and trials of life.
Some of the world’s happiest people devote significant time to relationships. The research on thriving repeatedly supports that people who are well and thriving have authentic relationships with others.
I often reflect on my time in poorly developed, third world countries. I am in absolute awe at the happiness and contentment of people who have so little. Most often these very happy people who have so few material possessions or comforts of life are overflowing in relationships. They have faith, family, and friends.
If relationships only grow and get stronger as we spend time with people and learn to trust them through our vulnerabilities, this same truth exists when we consider our relationship with our Heavenly Father. We can’t rush this relationship, either. It will fail to thrive and grow stronger if we don’t spend time on it. In this relationship we can be vulnerable, confess our sins, and trust that a loving God has already forgiven and forgotten. We need this assurance every day, not once a week, or twice a year.
Over the next month, I encourage you to find five minutes in your day when you can tune out the busyness of the world, snuggle up in your Heavenly Father’s lap with “The Good Book”, and just read. Read the message he wants to share with you and His world. I suspect you will find it difficult to stop after five minutes and you will long for more time to spend nurturing your most vital relationship.