Relationships are hard. There is no doubt about that. It doesn’t matter what kind – romantic or platonic – or with who – family, co-workers, a significant other – relationships take work. But just because they take work doesn’t mean we should avoid or give up on them. In fact, we should do the exact opposite.
The enemy is notorious for feeding us lies as a way to make us weak and vulnerable to his tricks and temptations.
We must be able to identify these lies about relationships and fight against them with the truth. These are some of the truths I’ve discovered about myself in regards to relationships:
LIE – I am terrible at relationships.
TRUTH – I am not terrible at relationships. Yes, I have experienced unhealthy relationships and friendships that don’t last, but that does not mean I am terrible at them. God has created me with a very big heart and the ability to love people at their very worst. This is a gift. However, when not handled well, this gift has caused me a lot of pain when I don’t set boundaries for myself and allow others to take advantage of my love. The truth is God has placed a great desire for love and connection in my heart, as well as the ability to extend grace in the midst of ugly situations. When used for his glory, this is a very good and powerful thing.
LIE – If I’m not in control of other people, I will get hurt.
TRUTH – Yes, people can and will hurt me, but striving to control other people will only cause me anxiety and bring conflict into the relationship. I struggle with the need to be in control of every aspect of my relationships, including the other people in them. This is a defense mechanism I use to try to avoid being abandoned or hurt. I acquired this tool due to my past experiences, but I am learning it is not something I have to continue to use. I can learn the benefits of trusting others, and this will allow me to have successful relationships. Even more, I can trust God will protect me in every relationship, and he will place the right people in my life – those who are worthy of my trust.
LIE – I don’t need other people. I’m fine by myself.
TRUTH – I was created for relationship and connection with others. We all are. God wants us to have successful, encouraging, positive, loving relationships with others. It is no surprise to me then that so many of us struggle in this area, including myself, because the enemy wants the opposite for us. He wants us to have dysfunctional relationships, filled with fear and strife. He wants us to be hurt in relationships so we are no longer vulnerable with others. He wants us to be filled with hate and judgement so we decide to no longer accept and love others. He wants us to be selfish instead of selfless. He wants us to give up on connection and relationship with others and conform to a life of isolation. The reason? There is power in relationships.
The enemy wants to take that power; he wants to weaken us by causing separation and isolation.
We must not let him win.
LIE – If there is contention in a relationship, I should just give up on it.
TRUTH – Often times the enemy will come into a relationship and try to “stir the pot” so to speak. When a positive friendship or relationship begins to turn sour, I know the contention is from the enemy. When I doubt my ability to be in a healthy romantic relationship, I am confident the doubt is coming from a lie the enemy wants me to believe about myself. When I struggle with forgiveness, I know it is because the enemy is flooding my thoughts with every reason I deserve to stay hurt and angry. God has called us to love, to forgive, to encourage, and to support each other and selflessly care for everyone. Anything that comes against what the Lord has called us to do comes from the enemy himself. The truth is, the enemy comes to steal and destroy and encourage us to give up on loving others well. But we are called to love – in the good, the bad, and the ugly times, so we must not give up on each other so easily.
The enemy will throw many LIES our way in an attempt to cause us to give up on connectedness and vulnerability with others because he knows there is great power in love.
The TRUTH is I am not terrible at relationships, and I am worthy of love. So are you. And so are all the people you are called to shower with grace, understanding, forgiveness, care, and love.