Thursday, April 23, 2009

Relationships Are Not Linear

That is sort of a new epiphany for me. And maybe why I struggle so much with them. I expect them to follow this neat, clear path - and while I think there is some kind of logical progression that happens in them, I realize that they aren't predictable. And, I guess that is because the people in them are not - they are unique, different, autonomous in their own right.

And this ties into God because I don't think I've ever understood, really, the whole religion vs relationship. Again, intellectually - yes; experientially and emotionall - not so much.

In Nicaragua, I was really getting a sense of the whole relationship with God. That we can talk and share - and it is not so pressure-filled as I usually think. There is some flexibility - because it is not linear. It doesn't have a set path to follow; it just morphs and changes and evolves to just be what it is becoming.

But one distinction that just sort of hit me this morning as I was doing my workbook is that their are characteristics of functional relationships. It came up in the context of family, but I see that they are characteristics of all functional relationships. That helps, because I can sort of test the health of any relationship - and know how to try to get it back on track.

It's like this:

  • It's OK to feel (respect for someone as a person with a right to his/her own emotions)

  • It's OK to trust (consistency and dependability make this possible)

  • It's OK to talk (time taken to listen and value what they say)

  • You are special (worth is based on who they are)

  • You are loved even if you make a mistake. (worth is not based on performance)

So, that was helpful to me - because God is the ultimate functional Father. And while the traits mentioned are the cornerstone of my faith, I feel like this gives a little definition of what a relationship on those cornerstones should look like.

If this is true (and it is), then He:
  • loves me - I am special in His sight.
  • loves me no matter how great my mistakes

  • desires me to trust Him (because He is consistent and dependable)

  • desires me to share my feelings (validates my right to feel what I feel)

  • takes time to talk to me and listen to me (not just tell me what I'm doing wrong and what I need to do - cares about me as a person)

Revelation 3:20 - "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. "

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