Here’s a chapter from my book Heart on My Fingers: Tips for love, lust, and other stuff. The official release date is 4.26.19 but you can preorder it today!
One of the simplest ways for me to put this is this – unhealthy, toxic, and idolatrous relationships can hinder or help you; just as much as healthy relationships can help or hinder you. It all depends on your perspective and your actions.
What makes me say that? I’ve been in more unhealthy relationships than I have healthy relationships. I could have either allowed those relationships to hinder me and keep me all down and out. Depressed and insecure. Bitter and mad at men and the world. Continuing a cycle of bad decisions and relationships. Or, I could have allowed them to help me and make me better. Show me what I want and don’t want. Show me who I am and what I need to work on. Create a platform for me to help others because of everything that I’ve gone through. I chose to allow those unhealthy relationships to help me.
A healthy relationship can help you or hinder you as well. You may be thinking… how can a healthy relationship hinder you? Well to be completely honest… if my relationships were all healthy and cupcakes and roses I would have had absolutely no desire to write this book. To write poetry. To study the word of God. To understand myself as a woman. Sometimes love can sustain us so fully that it makes us stagnant in other areas of our lives; but pain teaches us lessons and motivates us to do things we wouldn’t focus on if we were happy and at peace.
Since I’ve broken down to you what toxic and idolatrous relationships are about let me give you a quick lesson on healthy relationships.
There are three basic truths that were established in the first three chapters of Genesis regarding relationships.
We are made to have relationships. First with God and then with others. Genesis 2:18
You have a choice in your relationships. You might not be able to choose your family but you can choose your friends and romantic partners. You might not be able to choose what people say and do to you but you can choose how you respond. Genesis 3
You must take responsibility for yourself. Genesis 2 and 3
Three keys to healthy relationships:
Take responsibility for your heart and emotions and control of your life.
Remove unrealistic expectations.
Communicate your love languages, weaknesses, fears, wants, needs and etc.
Relationship: The state of being connected. A bond. A union. An association.
Who are you bonding yourself to???
We were created to have a relationship with God and with others. When God created Eve she was created to be Adam’s companion, helper, and savior from loneliness.
What I love about the creation of Eve is that it was done WHEN GOD saw that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. It was after Adam had spent some alone time with God, developed a personal relationship with Him, done some work, and gotten established on his own. And WHEN GOD created Eve he took some of Adam to form Eve and then returned that portion of himself to Adam to complement and complete him.
Adam was inactive in the process of Eve. He didn’t search for her, nor did Eve run before God and seek Adam out. Adam was asleep and when God was finished with Eve He presented her to Adam. And Adam had the wisdom to know she was his from God.
Genesis 3 shows us that we are wired for deep unconditional love and fulfilling relationships, but when Adam and Eve sinned, their relationship with God was broken and that strain has caused broken relationships between us and God today. And our relationships with other humans. Now, we have a mix of good and evil.
Sin. Shame. Blame. Brokenness. Selfishness. Pride. Power trips.
It is impossible for us to have a relationship with God living in habitual sin, but because of Jesus we are given the opportunity to be saved from our sin and be reconciled to God; and we are able to have a personal, intimate and healthy relationship with Him and others.
We as humans have a tendency to be selfish when it comes to love and relationships. We are more concerned with what we get than what we are giving. We want people to validate us and make us happy when only God can. We expect people to fix us… and our problems. We expect relationships to give us value and the perfect love. We place these HEAVY and UNREALISTIC expectations on people to satisfy our needs for love and relation when those desires are to be filled by God. God is love in us.
When God fills us with His love it overflows out of us and onto others, and this selfless exchange of giving and receiving God’s love is what creates life giving, healthy, godly relationships.
The best relationships have God at its center and foundation, and the closer you get to God the closer you will get to your spouse.
It’s natural to desire a perfect love, but we will never receive a perfect love from imperfect people.
Get your fill from God. Accept His love and love Him. Let Him pour His love into your heart, then you won’t go to humans thirsty for love. That thirst is what leads to sin, disappointment, and toxic idolatrous relationships. We go to someone with high expectations and unmet needs and expect them to work a miracle in our lives.
It’s not so common to deny self. To put others first. To desire to give rather than receive. To care for the needs of others rather than ourselves. That is exactly what Christ calls us to do. That is necessary for healthy godly relationships. Instead of being self-motivated put others first. Instead of being self-centered be Christ-centered. God shows us goodness and mercy daily and that is the foundation of Jesus’s golden rule. It’s not about getting even. It’s not about us tending to our needs and desires. It’s about following Jesus’s commands and trusting God to give us the desires of our hearts as we live and love obediently.
Because we have been forgiven it is our duty to forgive others.
Another way to have peaceful healthy relationships is to forgive and not hold on to grudges. We are to be compassionate, gracious, humble, and slow to anger and judge. The less we harbor ill feelings and emotions the more room we’ll have for peace and love.
We are commanded to love others because of the love Christ has poured in us. Godly love is not based on feelings and desires but on the enabling of the Holy Spirit as a part of the fruit of the Spirit. Godly love in relationships is about loving when we’ve been done wrong. Loving when it hurts. Loving when you’re angry. Loving when they don’t deserve it. That type of love is what glorifies God.
When we have a right relationship with God we are graced with the opportunity and duty to have right relationships with others. (2 Corinthians 5:16-20) Yes… we are to have our OWN PERSONAL relationship with God. It shouldn’t be based on religion you grew up hearing about. It should be based on your own personal experience with God. Not your Pastor’s, your family’s, or even your spouses.
Right living and healthy relationships are cultivated when you have this right relationship with God and have accepted His grace and began to believe in and live for Jesus. (Romans 14:22-23 MSG)
Broken relationships can hinder our relationship with God. If ever you have a problem with someone quickly resolve the issue. Just as God has forgiven and forgotten our sins and transgressions so should we forgive those who sin against us. Not only does sin break our fellowship with God but it also blocks our vision of Him. And His will for us. It’s like a brick wall that we expect Him to just look over for us. If we want to have total fellowship with God we have to allow Jesus to remove all sin from our lives. We have to strive to live holy and peaceful lives.
 Be soft on the person, but hard on the problem.