Childhood Trauma leaves us, as far as relationships go, in a state of feeling uncomfortably comfortable with adult relationships containing trauma. Our lives need to be transformed so we live from our authentic selves and our power. Part of regaining our authentic selves and our power requires us to gain new knowledge and wisdom about healthy relationships. Recognising our beliefs, how to identify unsafe people and how to be individuals who choose healthy and choose healthy relationships takes time and practice.
The following article by Shane Willard will give you clear understandings of the knowledge and wisdom you need, the practical points to have in place and examples of what genuine, authentic relationships look like. If you’d like to watch Shane’s work you can find him on YouTube or you can purchase his work here. Shane has degrees in Psychology and Theology, and I find his work so helpful in recovery from Complex PTSD as he combines both the mind and the spirit in his work. As we know from Science, accessing the spiritual part of the brain is helpful in recovery.
Please feel welcome to print the following article, highlight it, journal and take the information you glean to your Therapist or Coach and work out experiential strategies for your next steps in recovery.
Meaningful Relationships – Shane Willard
- Could we even say where they were from or how we met?
- Is our social network friends, followers, or fans?
- How many would stand with me in a crisis?
- How many would authentically celebrate if I were promoted?
- How many would secretly celebrate if I failed?
- How is it that we are more connected than ever, but feel more isolated?
- Do we have everyone to text, but no one to talk to?
“My greatest fear used to be being alone. Now it is being connected to people who make me feel lonely.”
- How do I communicate with a friend, enemy, child, parent, or spouse?
- What is my role in comforting a friend in pain?
- What impact does bad company have on my life?
- What is my role in the redemptive process of another person?
- What is unity?
- Where does our call to love violate the redemptive process, or does love enhance the redemptive process?
- Can I have too many friends?
- What do I do when people repeat the same mistakes?
- 10. How do I handle problem people?
Relationships are beautiful, messy, complex blessings that give life more meaning.
1. A meaningful relationship starts with an attitude to meet the other person’s need instead of simply having our needs met. This story shows us that a commitment to being a friend is more important than having friends. Jonathan goes into the middle of nowhere to help David with absolutely nothing to gain from it. It is here we must remind ourselves that love is not the celebration of the Idol (an image we create that represents some object that will do something for us). Love is a celebration of the Icon (something that helps us see through to something deeper). If we see our friend, spouse, or co-worker as an Idol, we sabotage the love that makes it work with a self-serving fuel that clogs the motor. They are not Jesus. There is no vacancy in the trinity for them. When we intentionally surround ourselves with people who can meet our needs, it is just simply a modern day form of idolatry that will find itself as an empty cistern which can hold no water. Rather, there is a better way, to engage in relationships with what we can do for them in mind. How can we participate in the infinite possibilities God has for this person?
2. A meaningful relationship includes two people committed to being an encouragement to one another. Jonathan went to help strengthen David’s hand in God. A simple commitment to always be a positive voice in our friendships will go a long way in showing the world what God is like. The world system has plenty of negative messages built into it naturally. You are not smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, effective enough, or fit enough are messages that fill media and written material everywhere we look. What if friendship was the remedy to this? What if friendship was a counter narrative that forces the negative to lose its power? Are our friends stronger because of us?
3. A meaningful relationship will have a deep common interest. In this case, it was in the best interest of Israel. In this story, Jonathan is willing to put selfishness aside for the bigger story. Friendship requires that we never lose sight of the bigger story at the altar of one plotted point. When it comes to friendships, a few questions must be asked. What dominates our conversations? Is there a common cause? What is driving the energy into the friendship? Is that force permanent or temporary?
4. A meaningful relationship contains two people who help each other see their potential. Jonathan reminds David of his potential. Yes, he is sitting in a desert in the middle of nowhere, but Jonathan reminds him of his future. He decimates the idea that tomorrow is simply a repeat of yesterday. He just will not let David settle into the desert. Dostoevski said, “to love a person is to see them as God intended them to be.” In our commitment to be a friend, we must take seriously the challenge of unrealized potential. In the last 30 days, who have we assumed knew their potential and said nothing? Is there anyone who needs to be reminded of their potential by me today?
Whose needs are you committed to meeting? Who are you intentionally encouraging? Where are you affirming their deep passions? Who are you helping see their potential?