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. "