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    Healthy Relationships: Refilling Your Bucket

    Sometimes unhealthy relationships need to be severed or severely restricted. While this can be perceived as another loss, it is also an opportunity. It is an opportunity to seek out a healthy, beneficial relationship to take its place. Don’t be in a hurry. Allow the relationship to reveal its true nature over time. Be open about the pain in your past and your desire for healing. New friendships are a wonderful time to start fresh, not only with a new person but also with yourself. Each new friendship allows you to rewrite the definition of what it is to be your friend.

    Recognize also that there are many types of relationships. There are acquaintances, friendships, romantic connections, and lovers. Depending upon where you are in your healing journey, some may not be wise or suitable. This doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of the others.

    But in all your relationships, God must be the guide.

    Ask yourself, “Is this a person God wants me to be in a relationship with? Do the goals of this relationship match God’s goals for me? If God was my earthly parent, is this someone I would take home for him to meet?” Our heavenly relationship must govern our earthly ones. They do not and cannot exist apart from each other. God cares about us, so it matters to him with whom we are spending time. It matters to him how we are treated and how we treat others. It’s put this way in 2 Corinthians 6:14: “Do not be mismatched with unbelievers. For what partnership is there between righteousness and lawlessness? Or what fellowship is there between light an darkness?”

    In your new relationships, choose people who practice doing right. Choose people who follow the light. If you’re not sure, watch their deeds. Who they are will become evident. If you’re still not sure, ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance. Ask him to reveal the person’s heart to you. Ask God to reveal your own heart.

    When we let go and let God guide our relationships, we demonstrate our love for and trust in him.

    Within the folds of a God-directed relationship, we are able to mend our broken hearts, exchange companionship for loneliness, and participate in the double blessing of helping others to heal and being healed ourselves. God sends us precious companions on our journey to healing. We were not meant to be alone. God can send each of us to encourage, rebuke, motivate, help, and love another person. Find this type of friend for yourself. Be this type of friend to others.

    SOURCE: Chapter 7: “Connections,” God Can Help You Heal by Gregory L. Jantz, PhD., founder of The Center for Counseling and Health Resources Inc.

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