A relationship is a place in our heart that did not exist before the relationship began. Whenwe meet someone, a part of us opens up. We have some say in what we do with that opening. We may welcome a person, or we might reject him. We can dismiss a person and refuse to think about him or be around him if for some reason we do not want that relationship. To reject someone, however, does not mean that we have no relationship with the person. It simply means that we have a different one.
Even rejection occupies the heart, so rejection therefore does not simply end a relationship. Low-availability relationships (those least able to be replaced) are the least able to be ended by rejection. No matter how badly we think or feel about someone like a parent, for example, the person is still our parent. Even if our parents are not alive anymore, or we do not communicate with them, they occupy a place in our spirit because that relationship is more than either person in the relationship. We have been influenced by them whether we like it or not. Low availability works in spite of time, so even if we didnâ€™t get to know our mother or father, or our child, there is still a place made for them in our spirit. They forged it by their existence.
RELATIONSHIPS ARE IN THE BAG
I have an image I use to help me think of a relationship. Itâ€™s kind of abstract, but it resembles an airbag. Airbags are attached to cars, but their purpose is not for cars. They are made for the people in the cars. A car would be fine without airbags, but it is better with them. When the right conditions exist, that airbag fills up. Thatâ€™s when it is at its peak. It doesnâ€™t always stay there, but that is where it has its impact. Its sole purpose is for that moment. When the time is right, and the right conditions exist, a relationship thrives. Each relationship is attached to our spirit. So we might have a lot of airbags! Each one is triggered by certain circumstances and conditions. Sometimes we get to see those conditions happen. We look forward to seeing them deployed, but often this requires some pain and sacrifice. Maybe it requires that uncomfortable conditions are present. Even though high impact is good in the long run, it often comes unexpectedly. Impact is not too far from discomfort. Such are relationships.
Our spirit is the car, and our relationships are the airbags. Maybe we have some relationships that look deflated; maybe others are healthy and full. Still others might be neatly wound up in their canister, never having been put to the test. They all affect our spirit, because they are all attached to it.
The more we know the Lord as the Bible instructs us, the more we become like him. We become like the people we love most. So we grow to imitate the Lord by loving him and seeking him with our spirit, loving others with godly relationships, serving God with righteous actions, and learning his wisdom so we honor and please him with pure thoughts. Hearing his voice is a subtle process, which is a result of being like him. When our thinking falls in line with his character, our thoughts lead us to do his will. When we love him, we are keenly aware of his heartâ€™s desires. So he might or might not speak directly to us, but when we consider a given action, we are at a place where we run that choice through our â€śrelationship filter.â€ť This filter helps us consider what will likely please him.