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The Art Of Association

For many of us, building relationships have been important but a struggle. And in this day and age that we live, some of us find it harder than ever to find those perfect relationships that we desire. You know what I am talking about. You know the people we don’t have to perform for, people who are not needy and provide relationships that are beneficial for us.

We all desire relationships; that was what we were designed for. As the saying goes, no man is an island, however, some days we feel that we are. For many of us, and I don’t know about you but I have been here, we sometimes we desire relationships that we will often take anything just to have something. I mean, let’s face it, you have seen this same scenario or experienced it yourself.

Let’s say one of your boys (or girls) starts to date someone. For some reason you find yourself becoming judgmental, disliking and sort of standoffish of the person that they chose to be with. At first you think it’s jealously (yes, guys we do get jealous) because all of a sudden, they stop hanging out with you. However, you soon get over the bump and begin to see the situation for what it is. You try to give the person a chance. However, you still find that you cannot do it. You find the person irritating, and discouraging, not to mention you find these words coming out of your mouth, “I think that they can do better than that.” Alas, you cannot bring yourself to actually speak those words to your friend.

We have all seen it and we know it hurts, but we know that was probably not the wisest decision our friends have made. We often watch them continuously wrestle and fight in their relationships, the whole while thinking that we have the wrong attitude. Let’s understand though, that in this art of association we don’t always have to allow our friends to stay in stagnant and destructive relationships just because they are comfortable— and neither do we have to be in them ourselves.

So many times, we feel that we have to stay in friendships that are never encouraging, that weigh us down, and that continually drain us of our own emotional strength. We become bogged down, upset, and often unhappy in these relationships. And because we are Christians, we feel that we have to appease everyone in our lives. Let me speak to that plainly: We are commanded to love, but not to be the trash dump of the world.

It is true that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, however, that does not have implications of becoming a personal trash dump for people. When in these relationships that seem so unilateral and emotionally draining, we have to really make some serious choices. These choices have to involve some serious decision-making that will be beneficial for both parties. Yes, you can still be beneficial and let go of a relationship. Yes, you can still love them.

You see, relationships are meant to be encouraging, loving and full of fun and life. We are meant to cry together, laugh together, and to be there for another. We are not meant to be in relationships where we are constantly brought down, discouraged, ridiculed or told what we are not. That’s not healthy— physically, emotionally or spiritually. And guess what? It’s okay to say no to them.

Here are some tips to helping you find the right type of people to be around:

[IDENTITY]

Know your identity. Who you are is as important as to who is hanging around you. It is good to know what you want out of life, out of a career, and out of good strong relationships. Despite what people and the world tell you, your identity is important. Know first and foremost that you are a child of the King of Glory and since that is the case, you are royalty. And royalty deserves the best. So think this way.

[ASSOCIATION]

Know the type of people you want to be around. Know what people, places and things you want to associate yourself with. Find a group, fellowship or association that will build you up and encourage you. It’s okay to have people that share your mindset. If you are a working professional, it is good to be around people who share your same thoughts and outlook. For example, if you are in the hospitality industry and work for yourself, you don’t want to be around people who are IRS agents. Enough said; you get the point, although that was kind of a dull one.

See Also

[BE SELECTIVE]

Even Jesus was selective with whom He hung out with most of the time. Let’s notice this about His life: He had 120 that He hung out with, then the 70, then 12, and finally the three. It was John, whom seemed most intimate with Him, for it was he who was leaning on His breast at the last supper and it was to him that Jesus committed the care of His mother, Mary, during his crucifixion. So, be around people who have your best interests in mind and care about you. Love, contrary to what people think, is not a one-way street. You need to be encouraged and built up as well as well as do the same for others.

[GO DEEP]

With all of that said, find someone who will go deep with you. Superficiality is not good for anyone. Find someone who will listen, care for you, and when necessary give you some cold hard truth. It’s important and you will keep your sanity. And remember, you don’t have to put up with relationships that are not healthy. You can love them, but not be surrounded by them.

So believe in yourself and know what you want out of life. Find the right people to be with you in your journey, so that you can receive help in your journey as you continually give out help. Your relationships become one of reciprocity instead of necessity.

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