The Consistency of Our Relating Skills
The way people have seen us has shaped us, and colours how we see ourselves now. Relationships are central to who we are. Most of us have hardly had any training in how to relate effectively. Like every aspect of our lives, relationships need to be managed and worked on- placed as a priority in order to give life and transform.
With many of us, our working lives have taken the lion’s share of our time, and we’ve spent years in relationships that we haven’t chosen. God intended us to work so that we can love, and not so that we become alienated from those He’s put into our lives.
In our culture we’ve been taught to compete, compare and measure ourselves and to peg others in the same way with stereotypes and prejudice. Instead of our common human struggles being used to connect us, our differences have often been used to separate us. We all hunger for unconditional acceptance, for love that’s true as brothers and sisters on this planet.
All of us are being invited by God to discover, and become so much more than, the self that we think we are. The people in our lives are mirrors to ourselves. They show us parts of ourselves we didn’t know were there.
God wants us to move to a place of authenticity and fullness, to develop and grow in our relational skill. He wants us to learn to love all those who come across our path, in ways that we couldn’t before. Like a piano player who has to practice in order to produce beautiful sounds, we need practice to learn the skills of relating. Our relational level of capability is consistent throughout all our relationships. These skills show whenever we are faced with a challenge; to love the ‘enemy’, the invisible, the unlovely and the rejected. As we receive God’s full acceptance and come to love ourselves, we can forget ourselves and whether we’re getting enough love and be there for another’s well-being.
Our skills in relating to God are the same as those in our relationships with others and with the parts of ourselves. Like the prince who disguised himself as a peasant in order to win the heart of the woman he loved, so God conceals Himself in people we might not at first recognize as of value. It’s in these struggles on our growing edge that God speaks to us, and wants us to share with Him in prayer. He invites us to pioneer the uncomfortable, unknown, ‘wild’ parts of ourselves to reclaim those disconnected parts of our bigger self which still need transformation.
We’re here on this planet to find and give life and we need to give our best energy to this one thing – to love. Relationships are our legacy, the only thing we take with us to heaven.