Guide Designed for Relationship: Learning to Love God with All We Are

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This kind of communication is very challenging to do through Facebook or texting! Scuba-diving will usually occur in person, although there certainly are exceptions to this now that we can see each other over our phones and computers. This brings us to the next pillar. For whatever reason, our culture now places a high value on transparency. It has seemingly become cool to talk about our struggles. The airing of our dirty laundry is often mistaken for vulnerability. A window is transparent: We can see a tree outside, but guess what?


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Being vulnerable involves risk. When you are vulnerable with someone, you are allowing that person to experience you, to really know you. Being vulnerable is taking the risk to share something about yourself that is deeper than just how your day was! I had no idea what Shannon would do with this confession, but she moved toward me in such a gracious, non-judgmental and accepting way, I knew our friendship was solid.

That day, I took a risk that was met by empathy, unconditional love and acceptance. Over the years, this has been a two-way process. The third pillar is the freedom for you to be who you are and for your friend to be who she is rather than each of you being who you need each other to be. For example, my best friend Shannon and I have very different temperaments. I am a verbal processor and she is an internal processor, which means I need to talk to figure things out and she needs to think in silence to figure things out.

I have to be patient while she thinks and she has to be patient while I babble! We are learning to be patient with each other, to trust and delight in each other, and as we do this, we give each other the freedom to be who we are. Jesus told us to agape love the Lord with all our hearts, souls and minds.

Gary Chapman wrote about his concept of the five love languages, which has gained popularity over the years.

Our topic today: Is love harder for spiritual people?

Let me just say, unconditional love is impossible without the power of the Holy Spirit. When I was thinking of a concept that was the opposite of a pillar, I came up with a pitfall. Not only is it a clever use of alliteration, but when I think of the word pitfall, I envision an old movie where someone is being chased through a thick forest and suddenly, out of nowhere, they fall into a camouflaged pit and become captive to the chaser. In the same way that it seems many males have a sports gene, I think many females have a manipulation gene! Sadly, our first experience of this tends to come from our mothers.

Of course, not my experience. Often manipulation is most noticeable in the tone we use. Instead, you just pile them all up on her bed. We women are just naturals at saying things to get what we want. This is a very dangerous trait to have in a friendship — and you are the only one who can control it!

How to Live with Steady Peace of Mind in this Unstable World

First and foremost, you need to carefully watch your tone and choice of words. You can emotionally put your hand up and refuse to be hit by them! I used to teach that expectations were always wrong and would get you in trouble in your friendships. These all sound like nice words! It seems like there has to be a degree of expectation that is necessary for a good friendship. With that in mind, I obviously disagree with my former teaching that expectations are always wrong!

And this just reinforces the importance of the first pillar, communication. You have to talk these things out! Jealousy means fear of being replaced. In friendships, this will stifle and suffocate a relationship quicker than anything. It was a strange new feeling for me as I experienced that definition first-hand: I feared Marc was replacing me. She suggests doing the following to deal with jealousy that inevitably shows up in relationships: 1 Confess it as sin; 2 rejoice with the other person; 3 reject comparison; and 4 choose gratitude.

I had to choose by faith to rejoice with her. I had to reject those feelings — not allow them to consume me. I had to choose by faith to be grateful for what God was providing for her and for me. The fact that our relationship has remained so solid over the last eight years of her marriage is a testament to our commitment to maintaining our friendship in spite of barriers like distance and marriage. Closely related to the manipulation gene is the gossip gene.

We females tend to be really good at this very damaging activity! Nothing like adding some alcohol to bring some color to the story! Interestingly, the last pillar is exactly the opposite of this last pitfall. Am I believing and saying the best in everyone I talk about? Are you? Imagine what your friendships would be like if instead of gossiping, you held your tongue. The fact that the two greatest commands God has given us are about love speaks volumes about the significance of relationships!


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He truly made us for relationship — first of all for a deep devotion to Him and secondly for a strong commitment to others. Friendships are an invaluable way God allows us to see even the tiniest glimpse of how He loves us!

Why Do Spiritual People Have a Harder Time Finding Love? An Interview With Arielle Ford [E004]

Everyone has a mental picture of friendship. By following a few godly principles, we get to be a part of what He has intended for us all along: deeply committed relationships of unconditional love that mirror His love for us. Think of five of the closest relationships in your life right now. What did that feel like? What did you do about it? Is there anything you would do differently if you could have a do-over? Read Hebrews What observations can you make from these verses? How can you make this practical in your relationships? Take a look at the flowchart for the Relationship Cycle.

Focus on the left side and look up each of these verses, making observations in relation to the cycle:. Pillar No. Describe an example of the difference between transparency and vulnerability. What would make you feel freedom with a friend? Pitfall No. How about a way that you have manipulated someone recently? How would you communicate with a friend who had unrealistic or unspoken expectations for you? As this is one of the easiest pitfalls to succumb to, here are a few simple guidelines to steer you away from falling into the dark hole of gossip.

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