I’m guessing you’ve had at least one time in your life when you felt your relationship with God was good. Maybe not. But for myself, I’ve had several seasons where lots of things shifted, like seasons of the year. Truly, all relationships keep changing. So, it’s reasonable to expect your relationship with God to shift. Is that normal? Good or bad? This content explores how to stay healthy when your relationship with God shifts in a complicated world.
What causes relationship shifts? What changes? Sometimes it’s impossible to answer those questions. Relationships are complicated. But they are critical to be a healthy person, and they are part of God’s original design. Consequently, it’s important to spend time and energy on your most important relationships.
Examples of Why Relationships Shift:
- Relationships shift because people shift. Every person undergoes change every day. That means all their connections with others will encounter the effects of those changes.
- Community interactions and career responsibilities change to meet the demands/needs of various groups/teams.
- Provisions shift continually. If you are a farmer or gardener, you know every year the harvest is somehow different from previous years.
- Availability shifts. Time and schedule demands affect each day. The unexpected often pays a visit.
- Health and well-being can shift. Conditions and diseases come and go – and they must be managed. This takes energy and time, so every connecting relationship experiences some effect of those shifts.
- If you work in a dentist or doctor office – or a business with clients, it goes without saying your day will have constant shifting with patients and with various clients. Every patient/client has unique needs. So, your plan for them will also shift.
- When you plan a trip, you need to be flexible. At every turn, you’ll find something has shifted from your first plans. This involves many others (transportation, housing, meals, activities, etc.). Trip planning means change and flexibility.
- The world is constantly shifting. Sometimes these are good shifts and other times they are terrible, even scary shifts. From politics to public health to international relationships to responses after natural disasters, etc.
- Truly, everything in life changes. And that’s mostly a good thing. But what you and I need – and what the world is looking for – is something dependable, credible, that never changes. We need something reliable to build our ever-changing lives on.
Further, since you are a person, and God is a person, your relationship will go through changes. So, when your relationship with God shifts, be alert, pensive, creative, and prayerful.
When Your Relationship With God Shifts
Although we’ve explored normal life shifting – and those shifts affect relationships – that’s not the focus of this content. I want to spend some time looking at legitimate things that affect progress, success, and stability of your relationship with God. And, of course, what we find will also affect all your relationships.
Let It Breathe
One helpful practice in all relationships is to “let it breathe.” So, this is true of your relationship with God. You will never know another person who is as flexible as God. In fact, flexibility is a good quality for you to pursue. People who practice being flexible, especially in relationships, often have stronger, healthier friendships and connections.
Life has rhythms. Ebb and flow. Continual change. But God’s principles stay the same even as life is constantly pulsating. So, by holding to His methods, you are stable – but you can also flow with life.
God “lets it breath” with you. However, do you “let it breath” with God? Or do you find yourself wanting to box God in? He doesn’t fit in a box. Plus, He doesn’t want you in a box, either. And finally, He doesn’t want you to box-up other people. His gift to all is – “let it breathe.”
Flex-and-bend is a bit like “let it breathe.” But the “add-on” piece is the ability to bend.
Being willing to flex-and-bend is a healthy strength. It opens more options and power needed to respond to a variety of life stimuli. However, this ability to bend results from a willingness to train in it. God provides the training. Life in our broken world provides the environment for the training.
Just like a young tree bends under the stress of extreme wind, pushing it out of normal form (upright) to an uncomfortable form (almost parallel to earth) – life threatens to break you sometimes. Those who learn to flex-and-bend are often healthier as individuals. And their relationships are healthier.
Bending with others’ lives shows a respect for their “differentness,” their needs, and unique life path. It also means you care more about their heart connected to yours (and vice-versa) than having everything neatly predictable. Further, it means you want what is best for them rather than what feels safe to you. You must flex-and-bend to have good relationships, and you want others to bend for you, too.
It’s very similar with God.
Something Important Doesn’t Change
There is one thing that never changes. As a result, you can rely on and build on this. What is this unchanging thing? It’s really a person. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” (Heb. 13:8) You’ve likely heard this before. But it’s a game-changer when applied to life.
Because Jesus is also the living Word of God, you can depend on Scripture (written Word) always giving solid advice. Mt. 24:35 says, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” (Also in Mk. 13:31 and Lk. 21:33.) When you need something dependable when your relationship shifts with God – go to Jesus and to His Word. When you take in the words of Scripture, you take in the life of Jesus. They are one and the same, and they keep you in a safe, healthy place with God.
Pick Your Relationships Prayerfully
One of the greatest blessings is to have good, dependable relationships. People you can trust and count on. People who have your back. The alternative is to have unhealthy, bad, few, or worst of all – no relationships.
God made you for relationships.
- The first one He wants you to have is with Him. He chose you!
- Next are those people who are dear to your heart – family, friends, children, perhaps a spouse.
- Work and community relationships are important, too.
- Even global relationships are important.
Ask God to help you choose and prioritize your relationships. He knows who is best to be in your life. You can experience peace, freedom, companionship, and growth from healthy relationships.
However – make God your First, Most, and Best relationship!
Let’s face it. People are one of the greatest blessings in life. Yet, they are also one of the greatest frustrations. It helps to see people through God’s eyes and principles. This affords you the skills to enjoy people more, call things what they are without judging people, and learn a lot from others.
Let your relationships with people shift, but keep working at healthy interactions.
Did you know you have an enemy who camps-out at the gate of your soul?
- He’s crafty.
- Smarter than you.
- You can’t see him.
- Your defenses are limited.
- He deceives and hates you.
- His goal? To pull you down. Ruin you. Finish you off!
- His strategy? Throw you into confusion. Lie to you. Keep you out of your Bible. Block you from praying.
What can you do? This is an important question because it affects how your relationship shifts with God.
What You Can Do
When the enemy pounds on your life, when people change and you have no control, and when your relationship with God shifts, you can put action steps into place.
Action Steps When Your Relationship With God Shifts
- First, remember, Jesus defeated your enemy, so live in this victory by faith. (Eph. 1:20-22)
- Refuse to fall back into your own devices and plans. (Prov. 3:5-6)
- Trust God! Don’t lean on yourself. He will put a path in front of you and safely escort you through. (Is. 52:12)
- Don’t listen to the enemy who wants you in bondage. You belong to Jesus Christ. (Is. 26:3)
- Stand firm – or you won’t stand at all. (Is. 7:9b)
- Stay hidden with Christ in God. (Col. 3:3) It’s like living in a protective force field. Like wearing body armor. (Jude 21) It’s your protection and provision.
- Be still. Listen to God’s still small voice – a gentle whisper. (1 Kings 19:12)
- Know He is God. (Ps. 46:10a) Know He loves you. (Jer. 31:3)
- Rest in God while turmoil swirls around you. (Ps. 23:5) He honors your faith. Wait and watch what He will do. (Ps. 37:7)
- Pick up your gifts of peace and freedom from Jesus. (Jn. 14:27 and Gal. 5:1)
- If you suffer, make sure it’s for good, not for doing wrong. (1 Pet. 2:20; 1 Pet. 3:17) God will redeem your sufferings.
- Gain control with God’s instructions and promises. (2 Pet. 1:4)
- In your heart, come near to Christ. He is super close to you. (Jas. 4:8)
- Ask God for wisdom and creativity to come up with fresh strategies. (Col. 1:9)
- Stay in God’s training. Learn His maneuvers. Get good at godliness. (1 Tim. 4:8)
Application Thoughts And Questions
The above action steps are your Application for this content.
Keep in mind: Everyone has a shift in their relationship with God – and with other people. When you follow the above action steps with God, it will have a positive impact on all your relationships.
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