Do you have enough relationships?
Most research suggests a person can manage five to seven relationships, and only one or two if you’re newly wed or have young children! Once you have a couple business associates, a few friends and some family, you’re full.
If you are relationally unsatisfied, it might be because you don’t have enough relationships or relational time, but it is more likely to be because your relationships lack depth and/or a compelling purpose. I saw a YouTube interview with “the first family of Hollywood,” the family of Will & Jada Pinkett Smith. And they get the power of purpose. They claim success in marriage (and family) by committing to purposes beyond the relationship itself. Not only they, but their whole family shares purposes and goals for life.
Relationships are often messy, unpredictable, even disappointing. And if you build a relationship purely to have the relationship…or to improve your happiness…or to feel loved and appreciated by someone else…or to get rather than to give…that relationship is probably doomed.
A sense of relational lacking is not usually an issue of quantity but of quality — of purpose and depth, and Jesus calls the Christian to the greatest of purposes: to God, to others, to the lost.
Christian relationships are to be patterned and inspired by Jesus’ humble God-centered, others-oriented, sacrificial life. And, surprise!, thats the most satisfying and fulfilling way to live.
It’s self-centeredness that is ultimately unsatisfying. It’s is in giving our life away, says Jesus, that we gain life.
The best approach to more fulfilling relationships is to follow Jesus by adding more depth and purpose not more or new relationships. Here’s how:
1. Turn to God rather than relationships to fill your soul. Pray through Scriptures daily and ask God to fill your head and heart with His love for you, His value of you, and to fill your loneliness and eliminate your fears.
2. Deepen the relationships you have. Apologize to or forgive somebody, rather than discarding or demanding something more of the relationship. Be honest, grace-rich and stay the course.
3. Add purpose to relationships. Decide what you’re going to do together for Jesus, and make a plan to stick to it. Most of us have enough relationships, we just need to make them less selfish, with more grace and greater purpose.
Tammy and I hope you’ll join us starting this Sunday for a three-week series on relationships, “Relationships on Purpose” (#vistarelationships) and we hope that God will encourage you and give you some tools to use in your relationships, whether they be marital, friendship, family, work-related, etc. Any relationship! Check out vistacommunitychurch.org/relationships for sermon audio and video from the past few years’ relationships series, and be sure to invite a friend.