The Importance of Growth in Relationships
Growth in relationships means that you will need to work past some hard issues. It’s a sign that you care about the relationship to work through these things. We need to keep this in mind because it would be easy to think we can’t have issues with God. He’s perfect. What problems could we possibly have?
Let me share a recent story with my wife, Allison. She is near perfect, so the point should translate well. 🙂
My Wife is Amazing
Allison and I work together on our vision to create a family and jobs for orphan girls in China. This has been a huge project from learning language, getting business permits, raising funds, building teams, and generating customers to fund the jobs we will give the girls. While we have had plenty of help from interns, friends, and volunteers, there is still a lot of work that we do together. Since Allison is a detailed planner, there is not much that she doesn’t think about and not many times in the day she is not thinking.
This is a great trait for creating a difficult start-up, but it is difficult to separate our personal relationship from the work. It is common for us to be in bed still discussing brochures or support raising activities.
A Wedge Developing Between Us
Recently I felt my interest in all of our projects waning. I was still working on the projects, but I was starting to care more about checking things off the list than doing those things well. As you can imagine with a new venture, there are plenty of tasks that need to be done, and I felt as each one ticked off that I was not appreciated for the work I was doing. As one was complete, we quickly would move to the next item.
In my head it was Allison who was at fault. The least she could do would be to just acknowledge the effort I was putting in. Maybe I should reduce my expectations and just realize this is the way she is.
I hope you are following this train of thought. I want you to catch how easy it is to get sidetracked and to start believing things about people and/or God.
How We Worked Things Out
Allison and I finally had a good talk over the weekend. It was not fun but was definitely needed. During this conversation I laid out my “rights” that were not getting met, and if you have ever had a tough conversation with your spouse, you can imagine how well that went over. However, one good thing came out: she explained how she didn’t know of these expectations I had on her. I was asking her to play a game but refusing to tell her the rules. It was unfair. She could never win that game, so I would always feel unappreciated.
As we talked I started to explore why I felt this way and why I wasn’t telling her these expectations. If I was to be completely honest, I didn’t feel that people in general valued what I do. Since I didn’t feel they would appreciate it on their own, I tried harder to get recognition. If that recognition didn’t get noticed, I would feed that feeling of not being valued. Towards my wife, I wouldn’t try to communicate this need because there was a fear that she would not respond, and the possibility of a negative response from her was more powerful and scary than thinking that was how she really felt. Let me say that differently, the confirmation of my fears was too much for me to handle, so I rather leave room for doubt. Talking it over with her may prove my fears wrong, but I was afraid it would prove them correct.
I Had a Negative Belief Guiding My Thoughts
Here’s the thing, I have one of the most supportive wives I know. She speaks well of me. She complements me to others. I have no doubts that she loves me. The problem was I had a negative belief that was filtering the messages in my head.
Jesus said that the truth would set us free. Therefore if we are in bondage than we are believing a lie. I was definitely held in bondage by this belief, and I wanted freedom. I took this to prayer and asked God what He thought about this belief that people didn’t value what I did. I felt He told me that I am valuable, and I should expect and receive every source of appreciation given to me. I need to choose to interpret everything as proof of that appreciation.
I felt God told me that I am valuable, and I should expect and receive every source of appreciation given to me. I need to choose to interpret everything as proof of that appreciation.
That last phrase was almost too much for me to comprehend, but God let me know that I had been interpreting everything as proof of a lack of appreciation, and not receiving affirmation because it wasn’t lining up to my negative belief. I needed a radical change in attitude.
We All Need to Renew Our Minds
I understand that someone reading this may feel I’m overly sensitive. I risk this negative feedback to help you. I know I am not the only one who has negative beliefs about myself, and these are hindering your relationship with others and with God. God doesn’t want you to have any negative beliefs about yourself.
The only thing negative you could view about yourself would be sin and that was all nailed to the cross. Not only did He remove the condemnation from sin, but He also removed the guilt. He wants us to see ourselves as wonderful, amazing people. That is how He created us. He likes us. He actually thinks we are people worthy of His time and attention. He enjoys us, and if the Creator of the universe who knows all things enjoys being around us, then it would take a real idiot not to want to spent time with us as well.
How to Overcome in Your Relationship with God
Here’s what I suggest we should all do: take an inventory of your life and list out any negative or limiting belief you may have about yourself. It may be about how others view you or how you view yourself. It could be things you think are more personality related. Ask God what they may be, then write as much down as you can. It could be that you’re lazy or shy, needy or selfish. Once you make that list take all of those negative items to the Lord and have Him tell you what you should believe. Let me give you a quick hint, if what He tells you makes you feel discouraged, it is not from God. His words always give life.
Don’t get overwhelmed by the negative beliefs you may have. God is revealing them to you, so that they can be removed. Jesus came to give us abundant life. Let’s throw off everything that hinders us to pursue that goal.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to send me a message through the comments or from the contact page.
Kevin Shorter is the founder of this prayer-coach site and have served for several years in ministry and churches teaching on a variety of Biblical topics. Go to the contact page to request him to speak at your conferences and seminars.