Besides my relationship with Christ, one of the most important things to me on this earth is my relationship with my family and friends.
Many of us subconsciously categorize our relationships. Some of my relationships are with Facebook friends. Some are with people I only see when I attend church or business functions. Some are with friends I have had since I was a kid and speak to only on occasion.
But what about those more intimate relationships? The ones with people we call “close friends.” Do we treat them like we do our Facebook friends—waiting for them to update us on their status?
Every relationship is important. The practice of having different kinds of relationships was modeled for us by Jesus.
While Jesus was on this earth, He made a point to surround himself with people from all walks of life. He did not just associate with the rich and famous or those who were good people. He associated with rich, poor, good and bad. He had many different kinds of relationships.
During the high point of His ministry, Jesus chose to surround Himself with twelve men who followed Him nearly everywhere He went. The twelve men that Jesus chose to spend His time with were selected with care.
Jesus was very intentional about His relationships; He most certainly did not take this lightly. Relationships were very important to Him, especially his relationship with his Heavenly Father. Jesus made a point to get away from these men by going up on the mountaintop for a time of prayer and re-energizing. When He was in the most distress, He brought his three closest friends to pray with Him.
It has been said that we typically spend the majority of our time with those who have similar incomes and similar interests as ours. Have you ever stopped to look at the people you call friends, or those with whom you are in a relationship of some sort, and ask yourself “why”? Do they bring value to you or take from you? Do they teach as well as learn from you? Do they drain you or give you energy?
Many of my clients come to me because they are stuck in their life and not sure how to move forward. One of the areas that we look into are the relationships that keep them stuck. Yes, sometimes the people they are in a relationship with are the very reason they stay stuck. There are a few reasons for this; first, they allow the negativity to continue to bring them down. Second, they often feel embarrassed by their success in life; the friends might not approve. And last, the people with whom they associate may also be stuck in life, making the statement “misery loves company” become real for them.
If in fact your relationships are one of the most important things in your life, then you ought find out if the ones you have are healthy.
There comes a time in our lives when we have to set some solid boundaries where our relationships are concerned. For a tree to grow in your backyard, it requires pruning and cutting the dead weight from the tree. The same is true in our relationships. It may be there are people in your life whom you consider friends, but all they do is drain you of your energy. The friends who drain you may need to be moved to a different category of friend or relationship.
Jesus chose his twelve disciples very carefully, and if it was important enough for him to surround himself with the right people, it’s equally important for us.