Valuing Relationships; Loving Others Better

Have you been out for coffee or dinner lately and looked at the people sitting nearby? It never ceases to amaze me how many couples or friends sit together at a table, yet are each glued to their smartphones; texting or surfing the internet. There is no conversation taking place and very little eye contact or interaction.

We can be together with people but not really be “with” them. Not present. Not available.

Life’s busyness often leaves us so exhausted that we don’t have energy to put into the relationships with those we love. We don’t see the longing, or hear the sadness, we fail to notice their needs, and can’t find time to really listen. Our conversations become superficial, and everyone goes away empty.

Developing depth, intimacy, and authenticity in relationships takes intentionality. And that is precisely is another one of my goals for 2020.

The first and most obvious thing we must recognize is that we only have time or capacity for so many close relationships in our lives. We have to decide which ones we want to invest in and then consider how we will do it.

It is important to me to be intentional about being authentic and grow in intimacy with my husband, family, and closest friends. In order to do that there are four key areas I want to look at and develop ways to improve in. In reality, I want to learn to practice ways of loving them better.

I want to grow in loving others better by

1- Being honest, truthful and transparent, saying what I mean and meaning what I say.

In recent posts I have shared how fear makes me run in relationships. The need to people-please keeps me from saying what I want. I end up fearing that what I say will cause rejection, or leave me feeling abandoned and misunderstood. So I say what I think they want me to say. This means I need to learn to stop hiding me, who I am, what I want, what I like or dislike, or what I need. It means learning to say “no” sometimes. It means saying, “I need…” a break, time to rest, to journal, or time to be alone. It means facing my fears and being real.

2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”

Ephesians 4:15but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is thg he head, even Christ.”

2- Being available/ taking time for being together.

I also have mentioned how I get over-focused on my to-do list. And in doing so I miss out on opportunities. People have learned from my previous responses that I am often too busy to be available. I always have an agenda, and I am often not very flexible. This leaves me feeling alone, and I end up feeling lost and disconnected. I want to set aside my to-do list more and more often and say “yes” to opportunities to be together with others. I want to make myself available when I am called on, and say “yes” when I am needed.

Galatians 6:2 “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Hebrews 13:16 “And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices Gid is pleased.”

3 Being present, fully there, in-the-moment.

My preoccupation with getting things done also keeps me from being present. My mind races through what needs to be done, my eye on the clock even when I am physically with someone. I want to learn to really relax and be there, and enjoy the “being with” the people I am with. Being present and really listening are ways to show we really care, that what the other person is saying really matters to us. That they matter to us and that being with them is important.

Philippians 2:4 “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

Proverbs 3:27 “Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, When it is within your power to do it.”

4. Being a safe place for them and their feelings.

I want to grow in being a safe place for others and their feelings. In order to do this I need to grow in being loving and gracious, rather than being critical and judgmental. I want to learn to do more listening and less thinking ahead, trying to figure out a way to solve or fix things. Along with this, I desire to grow in being more patient and prayerful, so my responses are Spirit-led.

Ephesians 4:1-2 “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for another in love,”

Proverbs 12:18b…the tongue of the wise brings healing.

James 1:19b “…But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger.”

Proverbs 17:27 “He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is as man of understanding.”

These will be my relational areas of focus for the new year. They are important changes that I want to develop. They are areas I need to continually keep in prayer. The Lord refreshes my soul with His loving-presence, with His grace, and with the peace and joy He fills my heart with. I want to refresh the souls of those I love as well.

When you consider your relationships, are there changes you want to make, goals you want to set? Are there ways that you can love others better?

Growing in valuing relationships more and loving others better is an important area for me to work on in 2020. I will be sharing a few more focus areas in my upcoming posts in November and December. I hope you will join me here.

*Photo from Unsplash by Aaron Burden

20 thoughts on “Valuing Relationships; Loving Others Better

  1. This is such a growth point for me. I’ve been home with my four sons, and so one would think that I’ve been very much WITH them, but the truth is that I’ve had to watch myself for distractions all along, and it’s entirely possible to be in the same room with our loved ones and yet miles away.

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  2. Wow! This is an outstanding and helpful relationship post. Thank you for sharing, and I love how you saturate your post with Scripture. Truly beautiful.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words! I love God’s Word. And knowing that the Holy Spirit speaks to us through it, what better way to learn to apply His Truth to our lives.! I am so glad you stopped by! Sweet blessings to you!

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  3. These are important things to remember. I find it so easy to have critical thoughts when I see a family all looking at their smartphones until my notification goes off and I think I should respond to some text right away. We definitely all have to work at this starting with me.

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  4. I love your points here, especially #3: being present, fully there, and in-the-moment. It’s so important!

    I recently when off-the-grid for two weeks without my laptop or cellphone so that I could be just that with my family. It was wonderful!!! I read another post, just this week, about living in-the-moment and being more aware of the people God allows to cross your path. It was a great reminder, now that I’m back with my technology. Great post! Thanks for the reminders!

    Thanks for linking up at InstaEncouragements!

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    1. Thank you! What a great accomplishment, going off-the-grid for two weeks. I think that would be hard! A beautiful way of showing love to your family! Thanks for sharing! I am so glad you stopped by! I would love to read the other post you read about living in-the-moment, if you remember where you saw it, please share! Thank you so much!

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  5. I so enjoy your posts, so open and honest. I love your relational goals, and as I was reading your words, it made me think of how much I need to work on some of those goals, as well. Thank you for the push.

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    1. Thank you so much! I am so glad you stopped by. The more I learn about the Lord’s love (something He has been teaching me a lot about lately), the more I realize how I live selfishly, fearfully, and often not fully present. The Lord’s love is so giving. His love is a brave love that He shows unabashedly. And He is fully with me all of the time, listening, and engaged. I want to live and love like that! I am glad you found some encouragement here! Sweet blessings to you!

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  6. Being present is such an important part of connecting and loving people well. It’s easy to be present in body, but purposing to be present in spirit is key!

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    1. Yes, “being present in spirit is key” and it is something I’ll be working on. Thanks so much for stopping by. It actually took me till yesterday to get the problem with my comment space fixed. I am so grateful that you pointed it out. I learned something new in the process 😊! Thank you again❣

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  7. I want the same things. Thank you for this good reminder, Cheryl. I also shake my head in sadness when I see people, especially young couples out at a restaurant paying attention to their smartphones. Enjoy each other’s company, I want to shout!

    The 2 Timothy verse is one of my favorites. It applies to so many situations.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by. I know, I think too often we really miss what is important because of the busyness of life. I am realizing these are changes I really long for, and it seems that unless I am intentional about them I will continue to be left with my longings. Finally, I am going to take the time to work on changing things and show those I love that they really matter to me! It is sad to go through life and miss the gifts of relationships the Lord has given us. Sweet blessings to you!

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