Every person is in relation to other human beings. How people treated us taught us how to relate. We tend to take relationships for granted and to presume that they will always be there until we get hurt. In our busy lifestyles we can forget that in order for relationships to thrive they need to be nurtured.
As with the food we eat, we can get by on very basic nutrition. We’re not meant to simply survive on junk food. We all know what a specially-prepared meal does for us. It’s a delight for our senses, giving us joy and feeding us at more levels than simply physically.
Similarly, in order to be nourished by relationships, we need ongoing, intentional investment in them. All of us have experienced people trampling on our vulnerable spaces. In these areas our relational growth has slowed down or not developed. We may have mental parameters for interactions, a distaste for certain people, feeling we don’t need them. For example, we may say, “I don’t do intimacy. That’s just how I am.” instead of asking, “Why don’t I like intimacy?” and intentionally finding our healing at that hurting place.
It’s in our healed painful areas that we become specialists and can be used by God to help others to heal there too. So these parts of us, instead of being a place of stagnation, become an area of growth, our gift to the world.
We are made to be community creatures. Daily we need to intentionally choose to go beyond our immediate comfort zones and to risk being more real with every person we meet. Our relationships won’t just automatically grow if we do nothing to nurture them. As with our food, our investment of thought, time and effort in others will produce rich, life-giving connections which delight and energise us!