Tuesday, July 26, 2005

And So My Education on Relationships Continues

Two people can accomplish more than twice as much as one; they get a better return for their labor. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But people who are alone when they fall are in real trouble. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, New Living Translation

I don't think I ever thought of myself as a loner, but I've never been much of a "people person". Because of that, I have not opened up to very many people. I know a number of people, but I rarely share my "real self" with others. The only time this really bothered me was when I got to missing my best friend Craig...one of the very few people I am totally real with. (Craig lives in Michigan, so we only see each other ever 3-4 years although we talk on the phone weekly).

I guess the change began couple years ago in a men's roundtable group I was in (we met together to discuss a book.) I had finally gotten to a point in my life where I did not feel inadequate around others...I had learned to accept and appreciate the way God had made me and the talents, gifts and abilities he had given me. And then, beginning at the roundtable, I began to appreciate the others God had put in my life. Instead of always being irritated because they did not do things right (read "my way"), I began to appreciate the differences. One guy in particular...he was the quintessential definition of a used car salesman personality. His lack of dependability rubbed me the wrong way (opposite of my personality), but then one night I realized, "Hey, if everybody was like me, our church would never grow. People would come, everybody would feel awkward around the new person, nobody would talk to him and he would not come back because we are an unfriendly church. But with Mr. Used Car Salesman personality type, guests have somebody greet them, welcome them, talk with them and show interest in them...we are all of the sudden a friendly church that people want to come back to. For the first time in my adult life, I truly appreciated the things that made people different from me. And so my education on relationships began.

And then in April of this year, I began studying small groups. The more I study, the more I am convinced that God designed us to have small group relationships in our lives. There are just too many things we miss out on without them. And so my education on relationships continued.

And then today, this verse from Ecclesiastes took on real meaning to me. I have a friend, he's been a good friend for a number of years, and today he told me he needed to talk with me. When we got together, he said, "I need you to hold me accountable in a certain area" and then he told me what it was. I don't if I was more surprised at the area he mentioned to me or if he was more surprised when I said, "Sure, if you hold me accountable in the same area." You see, over the past few weeks, God has been talking to me about a lack of faithfulness in a certain area of my life, and just Monday night I finally said, "OK God, you know why I am struggling with this, but I am going to give you control over this area in my life and do what I know I need to do." And then today, my friend comes to me with a very similar story. So now we are accountability partners in this area. I guess some people would say you need to talk to a person strong in the area you are struggling with, but this is not some sort of addiction. I think we both just need to know somebody will ask, "Did you...". I know I'm not this guy's only friend, so I pretty much took it as a "God thing" that he talked to me about this today. And so my education on relationship continues.


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