Uncovering the Riches of Relationships
Two people are better off than one,
for they can help each other succeed.
If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.
But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.
ECCLESIASTES 4:9-10 (NLT)
We don’t normally expect to find treasures in the darkness of adversity or riches in the valley of suffering but God gives us rich rewards even in these desolate places. One of the greatest riches God prepares for us in the valley is the discovery of the treasure of relationships. I will never forget the day I first caught a glimpse of this magnificent treasure. It changed my life.
I had become desperately depressed and I was seeing a counselor to help me climb out of the dark pit into which I had fallen. As we talked, the counselor casually asked me if I had any friends.
I immediately answered, “Of course! I have tons of friends!”
He then asked me how many of my friends needed me. I proudly responded, “All of them!”
Then he asked the question that would rock my world, “How many of your friends do you need?”
I pondered his question for what seemed like a long time because I could not believe my answer. I sheepishly admitted, “None of them.” This was a shocking revelation to both of us.
My counselor gently explained that God never intended relationships to be the way I described mine. God never intended relationships to be a one-way street. God made us to love and to be loved. No wonder I was dying on the inside! I had not allowed myself to need anyone.
Afterward our discussion troubled me. I began praying and asking God why I hadn’t allowed myself to need anyone. The answer came to me unexpectedly in the shower one day (I do a lot of talking to God when I am in the shower!). I realized that the one person I had needed the most had been my mother. When she died my pain was so great I decided I would never need anyone again the way that I had needed her. From that point on, I lived to love others but never allowed myself to receive the love from others.
No wonder I was lonely and depressed. I wasn’t bonded to anyone. My relationships needed work.
The realization that I needed healthy relationships in my life was truly a treasure. It caused me to assess all of my relationships. I determined which ones were healthy – which ones were unhealthy. I began making changes to improve the relationships that were unhealthy. I also began to seek out healthy peer relationships – two way street relationships – where I gave but I also received.
I also had realized that I had fallen alone and that was why I found myself in real trouble. I need others – what a revelation – what a treasure!
Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul. PROVERBS 27:9 (THE MESSAGE)
On the journey with you,