I love a good burger or pepperoni pizza or double-stuffed Oreos. These are not necessarily healthy choices, but I love them. Every day when I open my pantry, I make a choice (healthy or unhealthy) about what I put in my mouth.
Healthy and unhealthy decisions also apply to our internal lives. We make choices every day in things like:
- will I…spend time with the Lord or sleep another 30 minutes?
- will I…choose bitterness or forgiveness?
- will I…decide to live in who God says I am or how I’ve evaluated my performance?
For a while now, we’ve been talking about what a healthy ministry wife looks like in these areas of health: spiritual, emotional, and personal. Let’s next dive into relational health. It’s one of the areas I have conversations with ministry wives about the most.
Relational health is the ability to start and sustain meaningful relationships, engage in appropriate social vulnerability, and practice skills that encourage ongoing, supportive relationships.
Wait, what? That’s a boatload…let’s pull them out one by one:
- start and sustain meaningful relationships
- engage in appropriate social vulnerability
- and practice skills that encourage ongoing supportive relationships
I so want to grow healthy in these areas, especially within the context of ministry.
But let’s face it: relationships are messy. It’s not easy. We are all broken. And all too often, fractures happen. Bitterness, jealousy, hurt feelings, misunderstandings, deep wounds, distance, lack of effort, and anger can simmer and fester causing a lot of residual damage.
How do we grow healthy relationships through these difficult issues? Is it even possible? That’s a big question with a lengthy answer. Yes. But if I could put it simply, here are 2 key ways to start: 1) with honesty and 2) with Jesus.
1) With honesty
Take an inventory of your current relationships by attaching a number value to the state of things (10- awesome, 5- so-so, 1- the worst):
You have to see your relationships for what they are. You don’t want to put a bandaid on a relational issue. It just won’t heal on its own. You need to be brave and see the infection for what it is to know how to deal with it. Bring those hidden things into view. Get honest about the reality of your relationships and deal with the issues exposed.
2) With Jesus
It’s usually pretty obvious that we need Jesus in our relationships. So many times, I’ve tried everything and just don’t know what to do. We must invite God into these spaces to give us wisdom and strength.
You may need to draw some healthy boundaries.
You may need to ask for forgiveness.
You may need to forgive.
You may need to have a hard conversation.
You may need to say “I love you.”
You may need to say “Thank you.”
You may need to send a text or make a phone call.
You may need to take a break.
You may need to go to counseling.
Be responsive to God moving in your heart. He can do miraculous work in you and your relationships. He can change hearts, people, and relationships. Nothing is beyond his reach or healing.
May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and everyone else, just as ours does for you. 1 Thessalonians 3:12, NIV
*Over the next month or so, we will be highlighting 4 relationships with honesty and with Jesus: marriage, children, friendships, and people.
Written by: Amy Petersen