May 12, 2019
Spinning the Wheels of Relationships

by Judy Mzungu

Love. Acceptance. Belonging. That’s what we inherently long for. Because that’s how we were created – to be social beings; meant to co-exist with others.

And yes, there are moments when we find it. When we are celebrated. When what we bring to the table is valued. When we seem to have solutions to the problems around us.

Jesus, too, experienced highs. The Bible says in Luke 4:14-15

“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in the synagogues, and everyone praised him.”

If Jesus’ whole identity was based on his ‘celebrity’ status, He would have been deluded, maybe set-up camp in Galilee, enjoyed the attention – and probably not fulfilled His Purpose. But He knew better. He did not limit His assignment to this moment of instant gratification. Jesus continued with His journey.

Upon leaving Galilee, Jesus proceeded to his hometown, Nazareth and was rejected by His own – even driven out of the town. You see, rejection, can either numb you or propel you to your place of Purpose. Rejection, really, is a part of life. Like Jesus, we must be able to graciously accept that we may not have been destined to dwell among those who rejected us. The grace to accept rejection, heal, and move forward to more promising ground, undefiled by our bad experiences, is a priceless asset in the dynamics of living. Jesus Christ left, and continued teaching, undeterred by the rejection he had just faced.

Then again, rejection might actually be necessary. If only to focus us on what is important. You see, Jesus encounter, coming near the beginning of his ministry, must have shaped his perspective and understanding – as far as his expectations were concerned. This experience must have served to center Him on His purpose – and quenched the desire of the flesh – for acknowledgement, accolades, even appreciation. Jesus learnt to give of Himself – and went on to minister to great multitudes; all the while, I believe, finding satisfaction in changing lives – and not having the luxury of forming relationships. He had learnt to survive in the Crowd.

The place of the Crowd is where most of us dwell. Where relationships are superficial – based on work, ministry, or even the families we find ourselves in. These relationships are based on what we have to offer; and end as soon as our taps run dry, and we have nothing to give, the ‘connection’ is lost. Like Jesus, we must learn to give ourselves, expecting nothing in return; and understanding that the season is bound to change; and soon it will be time to move on.

It’s interesting to note that even though Jesus somehow still had Trust for humanity, His heart was guarded. Despite His not-so-good experience, He would allow people to come close to Him; and trust them enough to reveal the secrets of the Kingdom to them.

The Bible says in Mark 4:33-34

“With many similar parables Jesus spoke the word to them, as much as they would understand. He did not say anything without using a parable. But when he was alone with his disciples, He explained everything.”

In as much as Jesus had learned to survive in the Crowd, and give what He had to give them; He also understood the importance of having a select few He could sincerely pour Himself out to. People He could trust to walk with Him through His journey, and help Him to fulfill His mandate.

Sometimes we get stuck at the place of our past betrayal or the superficial relationships around us; and are hindered in forming genuine relationships with new people who might afford us the necessary help and support we need to take us to the next phase in our journey of Destiny.

A relationship with our Destiny Helpers is a place of exchange – a place of openness and trust; where we willingly give our best, and trust that somehow all will be well. This gives room for the forming of new bonds that, given a chance, might be what will transform our lives.

We must, however, be able to distinguish the place of the different people in our lives – and place them appropriately. We must have proper perspective on our expectations from people, establishing the relationships that matter and investing in them, having an inner circle that is tried and true, and still being able to serve the crowd – while remaining conscious about when to walk away. As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ chose a further three among the twelve.

In Luke 9:28, the Bible says,

“About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up unto a mountain to pray.”

He exemplified Levels of Relationship. Jesus had an Inner Circle of Three, the Select Twelve, and then the Crowd.

Most of the relational issues we encounter are really because we have placed people in places where they don’t belong. Our expectations are crushed – and inevitably, we get hurt. Part of the healing process is in accepting our error of judgment, relegating these individuals to their rightful place in our lives, and guarding our hearts so we are not weighed down by offense. And while we are at it, we pray for grace to forgive those who betrayed our trust; and then summon the courage to be open to Trust again.

The truth is, as we grow, our circle with inevitably thin. Life takes us through experiences that change our perspectives and values – and somehow, the Select Twelve get further short-listed. When that time comes, we must be willing to let go, spin the wheel, and allow in new people who will usher us into the next level of our lives.

As with everything else, relationships are dynamic. We must keep evolving. Only then will we allow ourselves the full experience of the diversity that Life offers.

To do that though, we must exercise Wisdom – and allow ourselves to keep the ‘flow’, and purpose to make the best of every encounter He sends our way. Bon Voyage


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