Life is not simple. A lot of things happen in life that we don’t like. We don’t have to like it. We don’t have to accept it. We don’t have to pretend. What we need to do for our selves is to be honest and real. Find someone safe to bounce things off of. Pray about what bothers us. When we blow it, go to God to deal with what we are feeling. Then, go to the person we are struggling with and ask them to forgive us. We may blow it right away again. I guess the saying is, “wash, rinse, repeat.” Why should we do this?
We were designed by God for relationship, even those of us who are not outgoing and would rather spend time alone. No one can be healthy in solitude if that is where we stay. Some alone time is healthy for everyone, even those who thrive when people are around. The key is balance, in relationship, with the personality God gave us. I like to spend time alone. But, if I spend all my time alone, I miss out on the maturing, growth and healing that come from relationship with others. If I spend too much time with others, I feel drained and exhausted. I have a friend who thrives when she is with people. That contact energizes her. Being alone for short periods of time is all she needs of aloneness. But we all need relationship.
Why did God create us with the need for relationship? It is in the challenges of relationship that we have the opportunity to grow and mature. We learn best when we are challenged. Our brains are activated or awakened by relational input. The challenges of living in relationship cause the rough edges to begin to rub off, smoothing and enriching our lives. When we give up on our friends, relatives, and others who bring pain into our lives, we short circuit the process that God is using to renew our minds and make us into the people He wants us to be, pure and holy before Him.
That does not mean that you have to take abuse.
Ultimately, God created us for relationship with Him. In the process of interacting with people, we can learn how to relate to God, and often, how not to relate to God. As we go to God and spend time with Him, He in turn, teaches us how to relate to people. We need both. Here on earth, we are in training. Some people call it boot camp because it is difficult. But our season on earth is a time where we can be conformed to the image of God. My dad was my hero. As a child I would follow him around and imitate him. I wanted to be like him. We had a father daughter relationship. I adored him. That is the relationship God wants with us. When I did wrong, my parents disciplined me. The scripture teaches us that those the Lord loves, he disciplines. He uses difficult things in our lives to teach us. If we respond to it with anger, the lesson is lost on us and we need that lesson again. God is faithful to keep bringing into our lives the things that will give us the opportunity to learn what we need to learn. Relationships are not easy. We are each different from each other. We think differently. We respond differently. So there are bound to be clashes. In the midst of those clashes, our response will either be godly or ungodly. We can be helpful or hurtful. It is our choice how we respond to God and others. But our responses sometimes cause conflict with others as well. Life with people is simply messy. There is no getting around that. We are all in process learning, growing, making mistakes, trying again. But God can use it all to make us better, stronger, more full of life, wiser, and more like Him.
The challenges we face are not something to avoid or run from. They are there to help us know where we need to grow in Christ, to be conformed to His image. When we are willing to face our pain and deal with the issues we are going through, God can redeem it and make us better, more peaceful children of God. Spend time developing your relationship with God. Learn everything you can about Him and about relationships. It will help you relate to the people He brings into your life in healthier ways.