Love or Need Based Relationships?

Do you engage in love based or need based relationships? People in love engage in healthy mutually satisfying give and take relationships. They want the best for each other and bring out the best in each other. They know that love requires sacrifice from time to time and they know what it means to die to self. They don’t expect the other person to fulfill all their needs because they understand that no human being is even capable of doing that because only God can meet all our needs. Only His love truly satisfies. People in love are emotionally healthy individuals who find their value and worth in Christ alone not looking to others for self-worth and identity. True love brings forth life and grows deeper and stronger with time.

People in need operate out of a brokenness not wholeness. They attach themselves to unhealthy people who they think have the power to meet their desperate need for love, security, and significance. But because brokenness attracts brokenness they tend to draw emotionally unavailable people, who are often abusive, struggling with addictions or have an array of other issues, who do more taking than giving and are incapable of meeting even the basic of needs required for a healthy relationship. This causes a lot of pain and heartache and brings forth death and destruction resulting in extremely toxic and unhealthy relationships that only get worse with time. And yes! Even Christians can operate out of need instead of love. The church is full of hurting people involved in unhealthy relationships.

Are you in love or are you in need? If you are in the latter, understand that relationships will not work until you start operation out love. Sadly many Christians don’t truly understand what love is because they have never been modeled it, never have experienced it. They don’t know their value and worth as a precious child of God because their basic human need for love was not met growing up. So they take matters into their own hands and like the song says go searching for love in all the wrong places and settle for the counterfeit version that never satisfies.

Oswald Chambers wrote – “No love of the natural heart is safe unless the human heart has been satisfied by God first.” The love of God has the power to change us from the inside out. But there is a marked difference between knowing about the love of God and receiving it into our hearts. It is only when we truly encounter and accept the authentic, undefiled Agape love of our Savior that we are then able to “Love the Lord with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength and love others as ourselves.” (Mark 12:30). This is the key to engaging in healthy mutually satisfying relationships. It’s the biblical formula that has the power to heal and transform and empower us to engage in love based not need-based relationships.

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The Hardened Heart of Self-Protection

A deep wound, a broken heart, disappointments, bitterness, and unforgiveness can cause the heart to become hardened with time. It causes us to put up walls. Our defenses go up. We self-protect, and we don’t let anyone in including God.

Self-protection leaves us running on reserve and is the cause of intimacy issues and conflict in relationships. It seems that it’s easier to be hard than soft and vulnerable because we don’t want to get hurt. But you were not created to live that way. God made you to be tender and responsive.

It’s hard to shape stone.  As long as your heart remains hard, you will miss out on the abundant life Jesus came to give. So let the living God come into your heart, heal your wounds and tear down your self-protection and defenses.

The amplified version of Ezekiel 11:16 says “And I will give them one heart, a new heart, and I will put a new Spirit within them, and I will take the stony, unnatural hardened heart out and give them a heart of flesh, sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God.”

Give your hurts to the Lord. Let God shape you. When you do that…He will leave His fingerprints all over your heart.

 

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The Grace Sifter In Relationship Conflict

Every person has a learned pattern of behavior when dealing with conflict.  Some lash out; others become critical, defensive and sarcastic, while some retreat like a turtle and avoid conflict altogether.  None of these patterns work towards solution and even create more conflict adding layers of bitterness and resentments causing hearts to get hardened and broken intimacy in relationships.

What’s God’s solution when conflict in relationships arises? GRACE! You see people model what was modeled to them. If they attack, they were attacked. If they are critical, they were criticized.  If they avoid, stuffing and avoidance were the names of the game growing up. These patterns are brought into relationships and affect those we love. It’s important not to personalize the wrongful reactions of other people. It has more to do with their faulty filters and less to do with you. Grace understands this.  It can build a bridge to healthy relationships.

God’s word says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Instead of getting angry and replying in kind commit to sifting every conflict through a grace sifter.  Nothing gets through unless it contains grace.  Just like a flour sifter catches big lumps of flour that will ruin a recipe – nothing critical is allowed to sift through that will ruin our relationships. There is nothing wrong with the flour it’s just the wrong consistency. Likewise, conflict issues are legitimate and must be addressed and dealt with. But it’s our negative reaction to conflict that needs sifting through the filter of grace.

The next part of the recipe calls for seasoning with salt. Salt is a preservative. If your conversation is full of grace – allowing for faults and imperfections of others – it preserves relationships and brings peace to our lives. This is the perfect recipe for healthy God-centered relationships. Let’s get to cooking with grace.

“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”

Colossians 3:14

 

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Love or Need?

SadPeople in love engage in healthy mutually satisfying give and take relationships. They want the best for each other and bring out the best in each other. They know that love requires sacrifice from time to time and they know what it means to die to self. They don’t expect the other person to fulfill all their needs because they understand that no human being is even capable of doing that because only God can meet all our needs. Only His love truly satisfies. People in love are emotionally healthy individuals who find their value and worth in Christ alone not looking to others for self-worth and identity. True love brings forth life and grows deeper and stronger with time.

People in need operate out of brokenness, not wholeness. They attach themselves to unhealthy people who they think have the power to meet their desperate need for love, security and significance. But because brokenness attracts brokenness they tend to draw emotionally unavailable people, who are often abusive, struggling with addictions or have an array of other issues, who do more taking than giving and are incapable of meeting even the basic of needs required for a healthy relationship. This causes a lot of pain and heartache and brings forth death and destruction resulting in extremely toxic and unhealthy relationships that only get worse with time. And yes! Even Christians can operate out of need instead of love. The church is full of hurting people engaged in unhealthy relationships.

Are you in love or are you in need? If you are in the latter, understand that relationships will not work until you start operation out love. Sadly many believers do not fully understand what love is because they have never been modeled it, never have experienced it. They don’t know their value and worth as a precious child of God because their basic human need for love was not met growing up. So they take matters into their own hands and like the song says go searching for love in all the wrong places and settle for the counterfeit version that never satisfies.

Oswald Chambers wrote —-“No love of the natural heart is safe unless the human heart has been satisfied by God first.” The love of God has the power to change us from the inside out. But there is a marked difference between knowing about the love of God and receiving it into our hearts. It is only when we truly encounter and accept the authentic, undefiled Agape love of our Savior that we are then able to “Love the Lord with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength and love others as ourselves.” (Mark 12:30). “ We love Him because He first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) This is the key to engaging in healthy mutually satisfying relationships. It’s the biblical formula that has the power to heal, transform and empower us to engage in love based not need-based relationships.

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Sowing Seeds of Hope – Life Beyond Abuse

beyond abuse
The pain of unmet needs, thoughtless words, hurtful actions, to overt abuse can linger for a lifetime manifesting in various negative, behaviors such as addiction, unhealthy relationship, and abusive patterns. These low hanging toxic fruit from our tree of life pollute everything around us stunting emotional growth.

Behind the violation and the physical pain of the trauma of abuse, there is a message that was sent to the hearts of victims that have left deep open wounds which continue to fester. These messages speak lies to us and skew beliefs about ourselves and others. These lies lead our wounded hearts to adopt faulty reactions and faulty behaviors to hide our intense hurt and build walls that act as barriers to intimacy with God. Yet the Lord lovingly uses our current struggles, failures, and our problem relationships to reveal unresolved emotional pain as God calls each one of us to account. His desire is to break down those walls of self-protection and heal our hurting hearts in order to set us free. Take a moment to meditate on the following scripture and let it resonate deeply in your hearts.

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
Luke 4:18

If you have found yourself the prisoner of a painful past, there is hope for your hurting heart. God’s word says…

“In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18

No trial – no abuse is wasted. Your pain doesn’t have to be pointless; it can be full of purpose. Because you know the pain of abuse you have the ability to have compassion for others who have been wounded and abused. Thank God for what He is teaching you through the very difficult situation and the pain. Allow the Lord to take your pain and turn it into a precious ministry – a ministry of compassion to comfort and exhort others who are hurting.

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Insecurity & Relationships

insecurity and relationships
Love is the answer to all our insecurity and relational issues. When we accept God’s love, we can recognize our tremendous value and worth in Him and in turn recognize others’ value. But because of our past wounds and experiences, we are often unable to accept God’s love, and it leaves us struggling with insecurities. Insecurity is a big culprit in how we get along with others.

When we are insecure, we easily become threatened by others, and find it hard to honestly esteem others with the value and significance they deserve as God’s beloved children. Women especially suffer in record numbers with insecurities and low self-esteem. Even in the church, women silently suffer from feelings of being less than.

When you begin to grasp God’s great love for you, and that reality goes from your head to your heart, you will become convinced that you should honor others with that same amazing love.

If you are struggling with insecure thoughts and feelings of worthless, spend time soaking in God’s love for you. Scripture tells us that we love God because He first loved us (1 John 4:19). Despite the lies the enemy has made you believe about your value and worth that is hindering your ability to love and be loved — when you go to the source of love, He will remove every barrier hindering your ability to receive His love. Then you will be able to fulfill our Christian calling to “Love God with all your soul, heart and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself. “(Mathew 22:37) We cannot give what we don’t have.

As God washes you with His word, He will fill your with His thoughts and truths, and equip you for loving others because you will understand the very nature and depth of His love.

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When Rejection Is Deserved

deserved rejection

There are different causes for rejection. Some are beyond our control – abandonment, adoption, infidelity, divorce, favoritism, indifference just to name a few. However, we can experience rejection when we do things outside of God’s word that grieves His heart causing others to back away from us by setting a healthy distance between our wrong behaviors and actions that cause strife, division and defilement in our homes, relationships, work place and even our place of worship and our ministries.

An example would be adultery. This kind of relationship is strictly forbidden by God and ending the relationship is not only the right thing to do but it is what God requires. Refusing to end the relationship will not only cause separation from God but others as well. People desiring to walk righteously with Jesus will never condone sin. They will love you enough to speak truth to you. Perhaps you are engaging in sex outside the holy bounds of marriage, or engaging in “everything but” behavior convincing yourself it’s not sin – God sees it differently. His is a Holy righteous God and cannot condone sin because it separates us from Him and leaves us unprotected and under the grip of Satan, who comes to kill, steal and destroy. You may have even lost friends because of your bad choices and are feeling alone and rejected.

God sees your hurt and feels compassion for you, even if your feelings of rejection and painful circumstance are a result of wrong choices. Learning from your mistakes and allowing God to change your direction and your life is always possible. Our Savior is in the business of rescuing us from the clutches of sin and destruction and can turn our lives around. But we need to acknowledge our sinful behavior that led us to feeling rejected.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Many people have a history of turning to the sin of sexual immorality because they have a ravenous need to be loved and accepted. If this is you, please know that you will continue down a spiral of sin, shame and rejection until you deal with the root causing you to mistake sex for love. Jesus is waiting. He is not only the Balm of Gilead, the ointment that can heal the wounds of your heart, but the only One who can fill it completely with the only love that truly satisfies the craving of the human heart.

“For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.”
Psalm 107:9

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True Intimacy & Sex

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Being intimate involves the mixing of our life with another, a mingling of souls, a sharing of hearts. This is something that we all long for because that is how God made us. We were designed to connect. It requires openness, honesty and transparency – the ability to share our true selves and have security knowing that we are loved and accepted just the way we are despite our imperfections. This is true intimacy.

 
Sex can be the most intimate and beautiful expression of love within the boundaries of marriage but we are lying to ourselves when we think that sex is proof of love. How many men do you know that demand sex as proof of love and how many women give in to sex in hopes of getting love?
Real intimacy does not come by merely coming together in sex. Many couples go to bed at night sharing their bodies but feel lonely because they don’t share their hearts. You see sex is not the source of love, it’s merely an expression of it . And no matter how hard you try, if real emotional and spiritual intimacy does not take place before sex, it probably won’t after.

 
True intimacy begins with your relationship with God first. This relationship is the foundation for all healthy relationships. When you let the living God be the source of intimacy and love in your life, you won’t fall for the pitfalls of relationships devoid of emotional and spiritual intimacy that leave your heart longing and unsatisfied.

 

“For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” Psalm 107:9

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