We were made for relationships, both vertical and horizontal. God placed a longing deep within our hearts that burns for more than this world can offer this side of heaven. A longing only he can satisfy.
But we were also created for relationships with other people. Marriage. Family. Neighbors. Friends. After all, “God sets the lonely in families.” (Psalm 68:6 NIV) Why? Because he knows we need people. To keep us from being self-centered by making us aware of the needs of those around us. To show us that we cannot make it through life alone.
So, we forge connections with others. Some are business-related while others center around common activities like sports, hunting, or volunteer work. Some connections involve formal meetings while others develop over cups of coffee or in the bleachers. Some last a season while others endure for a lifetime.
Try this for a moment. Make a mental list of all the people you are connected to. Immediate and extended family. School friends, teachers, or students. Work customers, bosses, or co-workers. Neighbors. Activities. Church. Alumni and volunteer groups. Social networks. I hope you have a long list developing. (If not, you might need to work on making friends.)
Now, ask yourself about the health of those connections. Are there enough of them to meet your emotional needs? Are they distant and aloof or are those connections clinging and suffocating? (Or are you the aloof or clingy half of the equation?) Is there a healthy balance of give and take in the relationship? Are you too dependent on some people or do you have a hard time asking for help? Do they encourage you to become a better person or are they dragging you down into unhealthy behaviors?
We all need connections … as long as they are healthy ones.
What about you? Do you have healthy connections with others? What can you do if you don’t? What can you do to strengthen relationships and keep them healthy?