In the Four Basic Relationships of Life – Part I we touched on our relationships with God and with others. Today we finish up with the final two relationships of life. Although “finish” is not really the correct term as this is barely skimming the surface of it all!
Our Relationship with Ourselves
In Genesis 3:7-11 we see shame and fear enter Adam and Eve’s psyche. Their perfect relationship with God and each other was suddenly tainted by sin and the knowledge of their own nakedness. Not just physical nakedness but a spiritual and emotional nakedness. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again but fear, shame and insecurity are never too far from each other.
The way I relate to myself will influence how I relate to others. Am I aware that fear, shame and insecurity cause me to withdraw, overcompensate, settle for less, or perhaps even hate myself? Do I know myself well enough to know when it’s time to rest, time to cry, time to work, time to think?
Beyond learning to relate to ourselves emotionally, mentally and spiritually we must keep in mind the relationship with our physical body. When we are healthy we can better serve others and enjoy life. We will likely have limitations along the way but it is our responsibility, and joy, to do our best with what we have. Will I abuse my body by improperly using food or chemical substances? Will I neglect my body by choosing laziness over activity? Will I abuse my body by pushing it farther than might be wise for me? Will I bully myself with internal dialogue about how unhappy I am with my body, personality, talents, etc?
Our Relationship with Creation and Things
We also see in Genesis that God creates animals, vegetation, land and sea. He gives Adam the task of naming each living thing and being a caretaker for the garden and its inhabitants. This caretaking becomes more difficult after sin enters the world but our responsibility doesn’t change. When is the last time you enjoyed nature and marveled at what God has made?
Another relationship we must consider is our relationship with “stuff”, including money. How I relate to money and material possessions is a great indicator of my emotional and spiritual life. These questions are valid no matter how rich or poor we might be. Do I view money and possessions as validation and seek approval or comfort through them? Do I view them as tools to be enjoyed and used for the good of others? Do I view wealth as being wrong or do I view it as a blessing and responsibility to be used wisely for current and future generations? Will I become a slave to money and possessions by attaching my identity to them?
God’s creation, whether animals, plant life or material possessions was entrusted to us for our enjoyment and for the fulfillment gained from managing it well. It is sometimes overwhelming when I consider the Lord’s kindness and generosity in allowing us to enjoy this world despite the pain and evil in it.
Maybe none of this is new to you, maybe it is, or maybe it’s confusing. Wherever you find yourself in each of these relationships, if you want to have coffee and talk about it hit me up!
In recent years there’s been so much talk about living intentionally. When I consider these four basic relationships it reminds me that we need to live consciously. To me that is what intentionally means. Rather than setting these relationships on auto-pilot I need to be aware of them and make conscious decisions relating to them. What is one thing you can do today to create awareness and growth in your four relationships?