Have you ever tried, tried, and tried in a relationship and feel like you take 2 steps forward & ten backwards? This can be a relationship with a family member, friend, or even a coworker. I frequently tell my son that at the end of the day, you can only control how you act & react to people & situations. You cannot change other people. That last part is still a struggle for me. I guess in reality, this is easier said than done. I’ve focused on some people being hard to love but in reality, I guess maybe I’m the hard one. I have picture perfect ideas of how people and things should be or maybe I’ve watched one too many Hallmark movies. The truth is, sometimes loving others can be hard. We all dance this delicate dance of raising and lowering our guard.
Sometimes I think we try too hard to force a fit with someone because let’s face it, we all want to be liked and loved. As we continue through life, I think friends change based on circumstances & convenience. We all gravitate towards what’s convenient. I pray for God to help me improve my best and to also realize that my best is all I can give as long as I am fully giving it. If you struggle with some relationships in your life, there are a few things that can help.
- Look to the bible for advice & comfort. Philippians 4:6-7 tells us “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- Turn it over to God. Sometimes we don’t know why things do not go as we plan or why people don’t act like we want, but what we can do is make sure we are giving our best. Once we are giving our best, then all we can do is turn it over to God by constantly telling him our need and asking that his will be done. Ah yes, another hard pill to swallow- let GOD’s will be done which may or may not line up with our will. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- Treat others as you would have them treat you. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” – Ephesians 4:32 Again, realizing we can only change our selves, maybe if we exude compassion, empathy, and positiveness, perhaps we will get more of it in return? “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”- Matthew 7:12
- Do things for the right reasons. We all like recognition but sometimes we get too caught up in the human recognition instead of a higher recognition. “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”- Colossians 3:17 When we do things for the right reasons and do not worry about the Earthly recognition, I think we have much more contentment and pure joy.
- Exude forgiveness, love & thankfulness. Sometimes not forgiving affects us more than we realize, and the one who is hurt the most is ourselves. By focusing on loving and being thankful, you are reprogramming your mind in a sense to look for and appreciate the good. There is good even on bad days, we just have to be open to finding it. When we reprogram our mind, we make ourselves a much more pleasant person to be around. “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
A friend recently told me that when she stopped focusing on what was wrong with others and instead on how she could change her self, situations and relationships greatly improved. What she thought was another person’s problem was in fact resolved by working on her “best”. I pray that God will continue to help me improve my best so that I can truly be what God and others need and want me to be.