Each of us has a story. And our stories define us irrespective of how far we’ve come in life. Whether or not you’re where you want to be, building relationships will make your story even better.
In the last few months, I’ve made new friends. I’ve reignited old friendships and sought ways to make my family happier.
Honestly, life happens to us and we often get so busy chasing things, careers, degrees, contracts and so on instead of keeping people. We want to acquire and attain and become. Yet, we forget that nobody lives forever.
Death has a funny way of messing up with our lives, our relationships, and our existence. I lost a dear aunt about a month ago and it felt like I had lost a piece of my heart.
It hurt too much to know that I won’t see her beautiful face again. That I won’t hear her sweet laughter anymore. That we’d have family events and she won’t be there to bring out the life in everyone and everything.
How does death steal into our lives this way?
For many people, death doesn’t have to be physical. We let our relationships die. We stop caring and let memories die. We cheat. We get bored. We kill time.
We choose material things over people. We hear but don’t listen. We occupy space but make no impact.
When did our lives get this distracted, off-track, here and there?
Even at workplaces, some people care nothing about building relationships with customers. Interestingly, the emphasis on professional relationship building skills is growing. Whether it’s profit-driven on the long run or for the greater good of everyone, the need to establish powerful relationships is growing.
So, answer me this one thing: are you too busy to build relationships?
You know that cliché – you don’t appreciate a thing until you’ve lost it. Unfortunately, many people have this regret soon (or later) in life. That “thing” could be a friend, spouse, extended relative, neighbor, acquaintance or stranger.
It’s sad how we allow time to fly so fast on eagle wings version 7.0 that we forget that today has an expiration date. We somehow believe that saying “I’m busy” allows us to have more time for more pressing things.
But we quickly forget that “busy” is something we can be for the rest of our lives. Since the origin of the universe, there’s always been work. Even God worked (created the world in six literal days) and rested from his work (well, not because he was tired). He understood the importance of bonding, connecting, resting. And in this understanding, the Sabbath was born.
You’re probably wondering where I’m going with all of it.
Here’s the deal:
Over and over again, we get so preoccupied with chasing a happier life that we forget where true happiness really lies.
As a child, I loved spending time with my siblings. My younger brother especially was my greatest delight. He was (and still is) a natural when it comes to making people laugh. I also loved how my sisters and brothers connected and lit up our home.
Growing up was good. But I loved my childhood more. Who doesn’t BTW?
What’s my point?
Relationship Tip 1 – Place that Call!
While it’s so easy to stay in our own worlds and mind our own businesses, life is better when we place that call. Reach out! Say hello! Tell that friend of family how much you’ve missed them.
If you can, plan that getaway and spend a few days reveling with food and drink, recalling sweet old memories and creating new ones.
But first, place that call.
Relationship Tip 2 – Be willing to Share!
It’s not enough to be a sister or a brother. It’s not enough to have a wife or a husband. It’s never enough to be just a friend. There’s more you can do.
And it doesn’t have to be money. Yes, money is a key player when it comes to building relationships. But time is also money. And you can share your time. Your thoughts! Your smile!
Don’t feel satisfied with just being someone with a title. If you’re a parent, you could share your day (or weekend) with your children. Work isn’t all that matters. Friends or colleagues at work aren’t all there is to your life. They can wait. Make each day count.
Share your life with those dearest to you. Sharing is caring, remember? Or how else do you show that you care if you can’t share?
And if all you’ve got is God, why not share him?
Relationship Tip 3 – Live in the Present
I’d forever be grateful to my mentor-turned-mother for gifting me with Lisa Nichols’ Abundance Now at the start of 2019.
Let’s be honest here. Many of us are dreamers. Maybe worse than Joseph! We live in the future (or the past) and wonder when the present is going to disappear. We’re often so crazy about what we DON’T HAVE that we ignore what we DO HAVE.
Early this morning, I performed my regular ritual of counting my blessings. And among the things I counted were food, clothing, our home, my charming husband, our caring family, my IELTS tutoring work and writing gig, my mustard-seed-sized faith, dear God, my so-messed-up-but-still-working phone (and tablet and laptop), my outfits, good health, and my priceless still-growing life.
That looks like a long list of great stuff. But ask me for what I don’t have and I’d probably give you an even longer list.
What’s my gist?
Counting my blessings involves appreciating what I have, including my relationships. Inasmuch as I love food, books, and dogs a whole lot, I’m super crazier about my love relationships.
Loving my hub has been a beautiful ride even though there are days when I can be really crazy in my head.
Loving my family has been divine even though there have been times (and there are still times) when I ask how we all came to belong to the same cord.
Loving my neighbors has been a blessing even though I often can’t figure them out.
Loving strangers has even been more intriguing even when I don’t agree with them.
What’s the essence of all this?
Live in the present, golden heart!
Build relationships with the people in your life. And do it right now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not when you’re “boxed up” or “loaded” or “have arrived.”
Count the people in your life as blessings with some sort of timelines. They’ll pass away sometime, someday. You or I don’t know when.
But they will.
And when they do, would you cry in regrets or shed tears in gratitude for the life and love you shared?
Dance if you want to! Shout and laugh and jump around! Listen to music and sing along. Travel the world if that’s what you want! And keep the love of Christ swelling in the heart of everyone you meet.
Ellen G White’s Thought on Building Relationships
In The Desire of Ages (2013 edition), page 137, E. G. White talks about how the people of Nazareth rejected Jesus, saying “Is not this the carpenter’s son?”
They found it really difficult to accept his teaching and align it with their idea of the messiah. They felt they knew how the puzzle should be unraveled.
Very easily, they allowed doubt and unbelief to cloud their reasoning and they fought real hard against accepting Christ’s mission statement to bring relief to the oppressed and bring liberty to the imprisoned.
It made no sense that a messiah would be humble and come from a meek background. They weren’t interested in building a relationship with him. And his purity made them even more impure, more undeserving of him. But would they budge? No!
Don’t we share a semblance with these ancient Thomases?
Bias, prejudice, and pride make us question, reject and take for granted the people in our lives. But in the end, only one thing would matter.
The ultimate questions:
Did you spend your life building relationships? Or did you get so busy building a castle filled with papers designed with all types of zero?
Did you tell and show your parents you loved them?
Did you kiss your kids good night as they got in bed?
Did you share your life sincerely with your spouse?
Did you hug your friends and show them how amazing they were?
Did you smile to that stranger on your walkway?
Did you mingle like Christ did and bring others to know God’s love?
What did you do to create for yourself a happier life? What did do you?