The connections and friendships we grow in our lives play an important role in our mental health. How we interact within these relationships affects both parties emotionally, and spiritually. We’ve all been in relationships that mentally drain us leading us to wonder how we got there in the first place. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Some of us that have been at the receiving end of unhealthy relationships for so long, that we have no idea what the alternative looks like. The repercussions of unhealthy relationships chip away at our mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. These three small but powerful concepts act as a guide to what healthy relationships should consist of at a minimum.
GOD’S WILL ABOVE ALL ELSE
The prayer of God’s will in our life can be difficult to speak. The reason is twofold; the first being, the emotions tied to our dreams and desires can often trump the prayer of His will. The second is that we are scared to pray this prayer, mostly because of the unknown linked to it. What if His will is not the same as yours?
As we begin to place God first in our daily lives, this prayer becomes easier. In our relationships, we quickly learn that with God at the center of it, everything will fall into place. The story of Jonathan and David is perhaps one of the most touching guides to what our relationships should resemble. Jonathan the son of King Saul, might have imagined himself as heir to the throne one day. If this was the case, everything quickly changed when David showed up on the scene. David was anointed by God to be King. He also arrived full of “godfidence” ready to defeat Goliath.
Instead of being jealous, Jonathan was quick to comprehend what was happening. He developed a deep respect for David and God’s will in this situation. Undoubtedly Jonathan desired to follow God and His will above all else. 1 Samuel 18 verse 1 describes this relationship as two souls being knit together. Jonathan and David were bound on a deep spiritual level. The kind of friendship many of us pray for in this lifetime. The only reason I can think of this being possible at the onset of this relationship is because of Jonathan and David’s deep desire to follow God’s will.
The power of positioning God at the center of your life is fundamental to all healthy relationships. Praying God’s will automatically instills boundaries within those relationships. Furthermore, if you are serious about God residing at the center of your life, then anything that attempts to disturb that peace will instantly be shut down.
HONESTY, NOT JUST FOR KIDS
All good relationships are built on a solid foundation of honesty. We tell our children as they grow that it is sinful to lie. Somewhere along the way to adulthood, we tell ourselves that a little lie is fine to spare someone’s feelings. But where does it stop? Like a snowball that rolls downhill for miles. The lies become a bit bigger with each dishonest comment, answer, and story we tell others.
Certainly, there have been a handful of times that I have come face to face with the question – do I tell this person the truth? Naaman’s servants must have asked themselves that same question when they were in Samaria. Naaman was a great man, but he was plagued with leprosy. Elisha told him to wash himself seven times in the Jordan. But Naaman was furious, quite frankly almost offended, because his healing did not present itself the way he would have wished. He was ready to walk away and go home unhealed. Luckily for him, Naaman’s servants decided to be honest with him. In short, they told him that he was being ridiculous and should do as Elisha commands. If not for the honesty of his servants Naaman would have missed out on great healing!
Healthy mindsets and relationships come with being honest with yourself and others around you. As Naaman reflected on what had just taken place, surely he had to be honest with himself that day. Deep hurt and pain often births honest reflection and conversations that allow ourselves and our relationships to grow.
BOUNDARIES NOT RULES
Boundaries are not limits that we place onto others, but that which we place in our own lives. As we take a minute to reflect on boundaries, I hope to convey that they simply have nothing to do with the other party. We must understand that we are incapable of controlling the actions of others. Therefore it would seem to be impossible to set boundaries on their behalf.
Looking at how Jonathan the son of Saul handled his father’s anger towards David, we can see that he did this exact thing. He knew that there was no chance of changing King Saul’s mind about David, but what he could do was control how he interacted with his father. He places somewhat of a boundary between himself and his father as he attempts to save David from death. He continues to respect King Saul, but draws the line at the attempt to kill David.
Jonathan portrays how we can decide what we allow in our lives, and ultimately who we decide to follow. He would not get on board with killing an innocent man, that clearly God had anointed! The boundaries we place in our lives are the limits we give ourselves. These are the guidelines to not only maintain healthy relationships, but a tool that will sustain a healthy mind. In applying consistent boundaries they become the line in the sand that speaks for itself.
Which of these concepts do you need to work on implementing in your relationships? How can you begin to do that? Remember small steps are what propels big change!