Relationships That Are Worth Having

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By Jim DeAngelo

A brief word on my experience and growth in sharing my front and back stage with others. The process for me was long and involved.

I wish my historical lack of sharing was because I found no one of sufficient character to fit this position in my life or that I had no close friends to encourage me. Neither of these were true. What has happened to me has occurred over a period of time. I had to see myself for who I was: a person with many flaws who could only grow in my walk and character through the work of the cross. This had to go beyond an intellectual exercise. I had to understand in my heart that who Christ said I was, is, in fact, who I am. That it was okay if others accepted me or not and I could lose the fear that if they knew me, they would then reject me. That I needed to show myself better than I really was.

I found that protecting myself was more important than the risk of rejection. What I didn’t understand was that to risk rejection was the first step to real relationships with those who would make a difference in my life. The kind I wanted to talk into my life and I into theirs. We all have blind spots. The areas I was afraid to share, I already knew that the Holy Spirit wanted to change, but I wasn’t sure how to let Him. The areas I didn’t know were even more important. I was protective of myself and, therefore, not honest with myself.

The best prayers I have ever prayed were to ask God to change me to be the best husband, father, grandfather, friend, and follower of Christ I could be. I asked God to show me how to change. Through these prayers, God opened my heart to the change process and the work of the cross. I found a new, changed heart and could share the real me with the appropriate individuals, and the transformation has accelerated. Without this sharing, my progress was much slower. I now find myself in relationships that shared with me and I with them, and I understand more and more what it means to have a closer walk with God.

Some of this learning has been a process. When I am afraid for any reason, I ask God for help to change me to meet this challenge. I never ask God to remove the source of the problem; we are to be overcomers, not avoiders. Removing pretense (fear of sharing my story) is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. This has removed the fear of rejection and allowed me to pray and share with integrity and with pure motives. It is no longer about me. My knowledge, trust, acceptance, and assurance in Christ have grown significantly (though I have a lot more learning yet to come). I have significant friends and individuals in my life who are enriching me in ways I could not even have imagined a few years ago.

Start the process today and pray for God’s help in your life to be who He designed you to be. Expect it, anticipate it, trust in God and His word about who you are. Find those who can share with you about our walk with Christ and our walk with each other.

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