Some Relationships are Worth Extra Effort~

 

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Do you hate conflict? I sure do!! I used to run from it for many years; never expressing myself, wanting to please and appease! But I have learned two things:

1.  It’s so important to address challenges/disagreements in relationships.

2.  It’s so important to be willing to be humble to “not be right” in order to maintain relationships that DO matter.

In my life I am clearly aware that I have friendships/relationships that I want to, well, last forever.  There are times, even in those key relationships, that there may be disagreements.  How do we navigate some of those challenges without losing the friendship? Well, I am still learning.

There are times when it’s important to set boundaries on toxic or untrustworthy relationships…but there are also times when we might want to walk away from a relationship where there has been a challenge and yet, we know in our hearts we want them in our life!

Questions we can ask ourselves in these instances are these:

1. Though there may be a conflict right now, would I be saddened to lose my relationship because of our present challenge?

2.  Could there be a bridge built in our relationship if I humble myself and try to understand the heart and season of my friend?

3. Can I extend grace and am I willing to move forward?

Relationships are so important, take care, wisdom, and a humble heart to navigate~~ but they are worth it!!!

Proverbs 17:17A friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity.

John 15:13“Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

We all want to be liked……….

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I DON’T LIKE YOU!!

Ugh, those are 4 words we hate to hear! We hate it when people don’t like us.  I believe we come by that naturally as we are wired up to want to be liked. The challenge is when we find ourselves compromising who we truly are trying to make others like us; admire us.

I read a wonderful statement this morning that got me thinking about this topic of “being liked”.  It expressed “Don’t stay so busy trying to be what you think others want you to be that you forget who you truly are!”  Joyce Meyer

How often do we turn ourselves inside-out to meet the approval of others only to find ourselves disappointed in ourselves? Been there? I have, and here are a few things I have been learning:

1. Not everyone will like me. Yet, truthfully, I don’t have a natural affinity for everyone either.  It’s ok.

2.  The strongest relationships are those where it’s okay to disagree; the shallowest relationships are the ones where we agree simply to stay in someones good graces.

3.  When I work hard to be the best “me” I can be, I am more confident and less affected by whether or not I am “liked”.

4.  When I am willing to be my true, authentic self I find that others who are authentic are drawn to me and our interactions are much more meaningful.

Perhaps asking yourself these questions can help you assess whether or not you are challenged in your need to be liked:

*Do you speak the truth (while still using care, wisdom, and respect) even if it’s unpopular to do so?

*Do you live a life consistent with your Core Values?

*Do you life a life of integrity to the best of your ability?

*Do you believe that your motives are good?

*Is it your goal to be a positive impact in the lives of those around you?

*Do you like who you are?

*Do you “disappear” when interacting with someone whose approval you long for?

Honestly access your answers to these questions.  Perhaps this year we can all learn to be more of our authentic selves in the home, workplace, churches, and communities.  In doing so, we may give others permission to do so as well!! 🙂

” It takes courage to grow up and turn out to be who you really are.”  E. E. Cummings

Being honest about Christmas~

It’s Christmastime with all the lights, gifts, celebrations, cards, and busy schedules.  All around us we are besieged by products adds, Christmas carols, and the reminder that “If we order today our gifts can STILL arrive by Christmas day!”  Hurry ~~ Hurry!

Let me be honest, I love the Christmas season as much as anybody, yet, as I pay attention to the people around me I am tenderized by the fact that there are many facing challenges and changes IN THE MIDST of this season. Not everyone is experiencing a Facebook Christmas full of photos of fun, food, and laughter.

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I am aware of folks facing incredible physical challenges, financial pressure, relational pain, loss, and loneliness. For them, the holidays present unique challenges. I see the commercials with the children missing their daddies serving in the military; it takes less than one second for my eyes to well up with tears. I watched a man suffering with Parkinson’s disease carefully taking steps down the aisle at the store slowly gathering up family gifts as his energy (not love) drained with every step; tears again.  I read a blog of a colleague whose son has just married and faced a painful surgery to remove an enormous tumor in his brain; my heart breaks for what this young couple is walking through.

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No, I don’t want to write a blog that brings you down! I don’t. Yet if we miss what is really true during this holiday season we will be unable to be ready to respond to the needs around us. I have simply chosen, in this season, to be very mindful of those who serve in customer care during the holidays; I’ve committed not to be too busy that I don’t forget to thank them by name, smile at them, and compliment them.  It has been remarkable how those soft touches have changed their countenance. This is a little thing!

We all face challenging situations; some seasons are harder than others yet these challenges can just seem more pronounced during a season. If you are in a season where you are experiencing health, peace, and joy then CELEBRATE IT! If you are facing a season that feels heavy and challenging, I encourage you to trust in the One who loves you more than you will ever know!  Deuteronomy 31:8 says ” It is the Lord who goes before you.  He will be with you, He will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not fear or be dismayed.”   I just LOVE that!   That is what Christmas is truly all about!

Even as I write I am keenly aware that many of you are in a tough season, some of you have just passed though challenges, and there will be others whose lives feel incredibly easy at this time.  I wish all of you true joy in whatever situation you find yourself this year.

Perhaps this season, and all year through, we could find the good tension between celebrating our own lives and remaining mindful of those whose lives are facing great challenge.  Let’s be human.

Merry meaningful Christmas to you, my friends.