Relationship challenges and tensions are the fuel for growth… OUR growth. If we determine to learn something in every relationship, it diffuses any struggle or battle because the struggles and tensions provide us with answers into ourselves. If we will let it be so, relationships are people-growers.
When faced with relationship difficulties, the problem in front of us is NOT the problem; rather, it is a signal that something is lacking in our life. Staying Christ-centered and standing on biblical truths is a means to hold on to our selves in the midst of turmoil. Christ was always trying to get people to return to their ‘true selves’, putting relationships at the heart of all he did. He dealt with people who took a wrong turn, made poor decisions: liars, cheats, drunks, prostitutes, and abusers. Yet he always stressed relationship no matter what defects were in their personalities.
The sins he saw were of immaturity, lack of personal development, laziness, greed, slothfulness, etc. He dealt with defects in people that kept them from functioning. The more defects, the less able to function in relationships, the less stability in relationships.
Jesus commanded us to love one another: By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another – John 13:35. When tension or trouble arises with someone it would be better to stop and ask ourselves, “What is going on withme?” “What is going on inside of me?” “Why is this bothering me so much?”
We must maintain a healthy relationship withourselves. This involves self-regulation and refusing to be knocked off balance.
Nathaniel Brandon, the self-esteem pioneer in psychology, found healthy people to have the following six qualities:
- They live a conscious life. They do not run from problems, they seek truth and wisdom.
- They take total responsibility for their lives. Their happiness, behavior and feelings are their responsibility.
- They accept themselves as they are. Knowing they are always growing they don’t beat themselves up.
- They are appropriately self-assertive. They operate on mutual respect when being self-assertive.
- They live life with a purpose. They believe there is a reason for their existence, therefore, their life has a direction and purpose.
- They live with integrity. Ethics and morality are vital to their sense of integrity.
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the people I cannot change,
The courage to change the one I can,
And the wisdom to know it’s me.
God’s peace and blessings to you from Dr. Baker