By Michelle Mckinney Hammond
Because you were created to connect to others your relationships can make or break you. â€œRightâ€ associations can empower you to make good choices that cause you to flourish; conversely, â€œwrongâ€ associations can send you down the wide garden path to destruction. Your relationships affect your balance, outlook, and attitude toward life; they also color your actions, which can work for or against you. Relation- ships are a pillar of support; you can\’t live without them.
There are three areas of relationship that solidify the foundation of your life and fortify you to stand no matter what elements or circumstances confront you: Your relationship with God, Your relationship with yourself, Your interpersonal relationships with your mate, family, friends, co-workers, and associates.
Only after having a relationship with God can you have the type of relationship with yourself to produce fruitful relationships with others. You cannot love what you don\’t know (whether that\’s God or yourself). Being able to truthfully assess yourself in light of what God has said about you helps you know your strengths and weaknesses and what you have to offer to the world at large. Knowing that you are a gift to the universe and the specifics of that capacity puts a smile on your face, a pep in your step and a generosity in your heart that cannot be worked up or purchased.
Jesus\’ commandment to â€œlove the Lord Your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strengthâ€ (Mark 12:30), is essen- tial; as well, His next commandmentâ€”â€œlove your neighbor as yourselfâ€ (Mark 12:31) is just as critical. It implies that you must first love you! Not in a self-involved, self consumed, narcissistic way, but in a way that exudes that you are accept- ing of who you are and the way God created you. You are alright with the world and at peace with yourself; you like the skin you are in and have a healthy understanding of your own personal value. I have a friend who once told me, â€œIf I met myself walk- ing down the street, I would want to be my friend.â€ I recall thinking at the time what an awesome concept that was to have such a healthy appreciation of yourself that you could say such a thing! (I was certainly not there at the time.)
Amazing and fruitful relationships with others begin with your relationship with yourself. If you know and love your- self you will have no problem loving others. Everyone wants to be around someone who encourages and celebrates them. If you don\’t know or love yourself, you will be much more prone to criticize others. Discomfort with yourself can be felt by others, and will only deepen your rejection complex, because others will likely shun you; they might not even know why. Most people just have the instinct to avoid those who are not happy campers.
Let\’s face it. Everyone struggles with issues in life and people are always looking for a happy distraction. Depending on where you are with yourself, you might be- come someone\’s pleasant diversion. Knowing yourself, being honest about what you need to fix, tighten up or overhaul as well as appreciating the attractive features of who you are prepares you to be a major contributor to others. Loving yourself but at the same time being totally â€œoverâ€ yourself releases you to reach out to others in healing ways that build them up until they are healthy enough to do the same thing for others.
Everyone you touch should be the better for it, including family members, co-workers, neighbors (do you even know them?), and those you encounter daily. A good example to emulate is Dorcas (or Tabitha), who was so loving and caring that when she died the women gathered to mourn her death and rehearse her good deeds. (Acts 9:36) They were so deeply stricken and grieved by her passing that that they sent for one of the apostles, and when he came he was moved to raise her back to life! Now that\’s what I\’m talking about! Dorcas affected people\’s lives so deeply and made such a great deposit that others couldn\’t bear to be without her. In a sense, what you do for others will bring you back to life.
Your family is the training ground for all your other relationships. Family is the base of the pillar; friends and co- workers form the extension. Your relationships with others will only be as good as those that establish and define you from the very beginning of your life. Your life partner is your crown. This relationship will only be as secure as your other relationships beneath it. Not only does your life partner â€œnameâ€ and â€œdefineâ€ you in a sense, this person has the power to strengthen or weaken you; build you up or tear you down; and propel you into your destiny or rob you of it. This is the person you sleep with and is joined to you supernaturally.
The intimacy between you and your partner creates a bond more powerful than any other relationship you will have on the face of the earth. The sexual union surpasses the bond of your parents who had a hand in creating, birthing and nurturing you, because you literally become one with another human being. This creates a soul tie that connects and binds. Should this covenant connection be severed, it is almost like an amputation. The pangs of your missing partner are felt long after their departure. This is called â€œphantom painâ€â€”similar to when a physical limb is removed. The commitment to â€œfor- ever and ever, amenâ€ is remembered by the soul long after it has been abandoned by the intellect. You are expected to leave mother and father and cleave to your mateâ€”becoming oneâ€”in a connection that was not meant to be severed. (Gen. 2:24) A covenant union is so intense that when built according to the Manufacturer\’s design it should empower both part- ners to be more effective and fruitful than ever before. Make rich relationships a priority, because they will ulti- mately affect the quality of your life and how it works over- all.
Remember, every success and failure you have in life will ultimately be traced back to a relationship, therefore, choose them carefully.
- Michelle Mckinney Hammond is a popular speaker, singer, and bestselling author. Her underlying message is â€œget yourself in spiritual order and your natural life will come together.â€ Visit her at MichelleHammond.com.